Complete Series: Coming to DVD 12/2/14

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For the first time ever “Sliders” The Complete Series is coming to DVD on December 2, 2014. As announced by the website: TVShowsOnDVD the DVDs contain the “exact same on-disc content of the previous releases.” It is likely then that the episodes will be out of order yet again on the DVDs which reflected heavily in the disappointment for fans of the first two seasons DVD set. The few pros to this set are a new box artwork, slim cases for each season, and possibly single sided discs for the entire third season. It should be noted the 2005 release of the third season contained double sided DVDs. However it seems very likely the third season will be single sided this time around. Considering the new Complete Series Set will contain (22 discs) vs the original releases (19 discs) or the the re-released packaging of the first two seasons and following seasons (20 discs).

In 2012 Universal Studios released the fifth season, the only season of “Sliders” packaged in a slim case at the time. Later during 2012, seasons one and two were re-released and re-packaged in slim cases as well, a leap above the 2004 release which was packaged in a foam like case: Season 1 DVD (2004). The lack of additional extras and likely incorrect episode order on this Complete Series Set will be a disappointment. If you don’t have every season of “Sliders” on DVD or are looking to get yourself a set this appears to be the best one yet. Lets hope this set sells well. Never say never, a Blu-Ray set with loaded extras could be in our future. You can suggest that and more at the NBC Store Product Development page.

This will be a Region 1 DVD release containing 22 discs released on 12/2/14.

Here are the details:
– 22 Disc Set
– 87 Episodes (Complete Series)
– Single Sided DVDs
– Runtime 3954 minutes
– English Dolby Digital 2.0
– English Subtitles
– Full Frame 1.33:1
– SRP $179.98
– Pre-Order @ Amazon.

“Journey to parallel Earths with the iconic sci-fi adventure series that have thrilled fans for five gripping seasons. Jerry O’Connell, John Rhys-Davies, Sabrina Lloyd, Cleavant Derricks are “Sliders” – an unlikely group of travelers who encounter alternate versions of everything and everyone they once knew and loved as they attempt to make the one slide that will take them home. Packed with every incredible episode, this complete series is sure to take viewers on the ultimate trip beyond the boundaries of imagination.”

Location, Location, Location

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The location of where any tv series is filmed gives the series a particular aesthetic. In essence, locations are characters all themselves. This in particular is yet another reason why Sliders is so unique. It even changed the story of Sliders itself.

crush_wrap1Keep in mind San Francisco is the main setting yet things must vary since sliding to alternate worlds is like rolling the dice. The Pilot episode did see some shots throughout San Francisco particularly with Rembrandt. Sliders though, chose Vancouver, BC Canada as it’s main filming areas throughout seasons one and two. It gave a darker more serious undertone to each episode. For example, how could the majority of “Into the Mystic” hold up in a studio versus the great outdoors. It couldn’t compare.

The main drawback is the weather in Vancouver which is often much more cold and rainy compared to San Francisco. It even played a factor in the story of “As Time Goes By”. Professor Arturo explains, “Mark Twain once remarked the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Even one the main characters of the episode gets in on the fun, “kind of nippy out here, eh? Reminds me of Vancouver.” If you look hard enough you can even see it snowing in that episode. Remember the story’s location is San Francisco, but with the wonders of alternate worlds one can suspend belief.

desert_wrap2With season three moving it’s filming crew to places like Los Angeles and Pasadena California the series needed a cover story and “Double Cross” delivered. In the episode, nemesis Logan St. Claire switched the timer’s geographic spectrum stabalizer to a 400 mile radius, as Quinn explains it they could “land in L.A., San Francisco or anywhere in between.” The onset of Los Angeles brought in a new life to the series. The surroundings were brighter, refreshing and more upbeat. Beach, mountains, and desert gave it a new tone versus the darker more serious setting of Vancouver. One of the casualties of moving to L.A. were the reoccurring actors from Vancouver, like Pavel and Hurley. Although the Universal backlot was beginning to be used in season three it wasn’t as evident as it was in the following seasons.

As production costs were cut the atmosphere was steadily declining as the seasons went by. Seasons four and five saw the Universal Studios backlot as it’s main medium for each episode’s environment. It gave those seasons a campy aesthetic apart from the open landscapes we previously saw. It does, however have it’s advantages. It can be positive to reuse a set primarily for alternate worlds by changing it up and linking it to each story. Yet it is degrading all in the same instance by it being recycled multiple times. After all who can forget the cave set used time after time in season three. The failure to alter that set in any way was quite a loss, it was just a plain same old cave.

backlot_wrap3If Sliders was to return to TV or as a movie, what location should it be shot? LA? Vancouver? Pasadena? Perhaps Seattle? Or why not the real San Francisco? What usually stands in the way for any location is as always, time and money. The varying locations in which Sliders was shot did aid to the alternate world theory. However having multiple episodes grouped together rather than random locations throughout the seasons made it apparent expenses were being cut. It almost feels like Sliders has three to four series wrapped all into one. The first two seasons of Vancouver, season three’s LA, and the backlots of seasons four and five. It’s interesting how the closer the series got to the “home” of the entertainment industry it’s filming expanse steadily declined.

No matter what the show, the location creates a unique atmosphere in the minds of all who watch them. After all what would the original Batman or Star Trek be without their campiness or the X-Files’ mysterious atmosphere from Vancouver. Sliders took a different approach with varying locations, which in some aspects led to its decline particularly with the Universal backlot.

Nevertheless, it’s variety that can make or break a scifi show. Beach sounds nice. Sun, surf, margaritas! See you at the beach …it means good luck.

Top 5: So Bad, They’re Good Episodes

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Sometimes things are so poorly constructed it’s seen as art. I’ll countdown the best of the worst, so bad they’re good “Sliders” episodes.

Honorable Mention: S3 | “Sole Survivors”
Throw in night scenes, some freaks in makeup and you got yourself the making of a campy horror episode. Short story short, Quinn gets bitten by a zombie and turns into one. It seems the government banned caffeine and the obese population turned into zombies by ingesting diet pills. There’s some side adventures with Maggie name calling Arturo “some old guy”. The most intriguing things are like how a manhole leads to a cave, a Jeep breaking down, and making coffee. If that’s not interesting enough you can see Quinn ask Maggie to kill him. In the end a lone doctor and blonde woman save the world. “A lot of things just come down to loyalty. Don’t they?” – Quinn Mallory. Yeah I guess so, even this TV show.

5. S3 | “The Fire Within”
This Sliders episode reaches a new level by sliding into hell… literally. Or so Rembrandt believes. They accidentally bring a “living flame” to the next world. While a flame that loves to burn anything would be bad enough, they place it smack dab in the middle of an oil refinery. You can’t get more explosive than that. While Quinn, Arturo and Remmy play with fire Wade does something meaningful with her life, like helping the poor. Goofy googles Quinn finally makes contact with the flame, discovering it can talk and even take the form of a human shape. Who can’t laugh at how unrealistic it is, plus the infamous “go away we’re spraying for coach roaches!” scene. If that isn’t enough to excite you, you’re in store for a firefighting 101 lesson.

4. S3 | “Dinoslide”
Rickman is running around sucking as much brain as he can while the Sliders try to track him down. Maggie and Wade have a cat fight, while deadly dinosaurs roam offscreen. The scenery in this episode is nice, except for the poor quality dino CGI. It turns out this is the New World where Rembrandt saved Malcolm and others from Pulsar World. We’re led to believe weasel is just like chicken legs, and fungus is a good coffee substitute. In order to save the new colony on this world the Sliders must eat worms, explode a T-Rex’s head, and suggest a boy taken hostage is an “acceptable casualty”. The icing on this fruitcake is the final heartwarming scene where Rembrandt and Malcolm reminisce of old times.

3. S4 “The Chasm”
Everyone’s just so happy …except Maggie as usual. Quinn’s done with sliding, he has decided he’s home, and it seems Rembrandt is going to jump in a hole. Things get even more bizarre when Quinn suggests (with a smile on his face) he is giving Maggie his depression. Rembrandt hallucinates with twitches, runs off like a scared kid, and eventually goes on a life story novella about how his life is filled with fear. Some frantic preacher keeps suggesting to Rembrandt he must commit suicide to make everyone else happy too. But at the same time I just got this feeling everythings gonna be all right. It’s like we’re riding the world’s most amazing roller-coaster. But even if you think this ride is bad, don’t worry… “it’ll pass”. It’s not like I care.

2. S3 | “Paradise Lost”
This episode tries to make you think you are 8 years old by using the boogeyman tactic. Only problem is there is no boogeyman, just a giant underground worm. The town feeds off it’s excrement or something of the kind in a bizarre feeding ritual, which gives a youth sustaining nutrient. The Sliders are considered outsiders in this small town, and are destined to be used as the worm’s dinner. Everyone is hush hush except the old creepy lady who keeps telling the Sliders to get outta town, warning them of the illustrious “cove”. Quinn is the bad-to-the-bone hero, fist fighting off every enemy, all the while Arturo goes missing. It turns out he was fed to “the Beast”. Quinn explains the creature to where any layman can easily understand too, “it could be some kind of freak nemertean.” The worm is found in the familiar season three cave set, and Arturo is found alive in a cocoon. Repeat after me, “it’s spawning”. Let’s not forget this wouldn’t be a good episode without a good slow-mo fire and explosion.

1. S3 | “Electric Twister Acid Test”
Twisters are everywhere and a maniac is on the loose while Jerry O’Connell styles his toned physique. If only that was all. But this episode manages to throw in even more gems like Corey Feldman wielding a pitch fork and drinking slime. The timer’s technology is bringing in the twisters and it’s time to crackdown on the unruly (the Sliders). Normal people, aka Corey Feldmans are considered “Outcasts” and use tunnels to get around while Wade is used in a torture Dunk Tank game. But who can forget the legendary cave set used ad infinitum in this season. What’s cool about this episode is that Jerry O’Connell and Corey Feldman reunite and pay homage to their 1986 movie, “Stand by Me” in their “skin it” scene. “This town is gonna need all the help it can get.” – Quinn Mallory. Yeah, no kidding.

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