Sliders: The ’90s sci-fi TV show where alternate earths were just a wormhole away

Sliders TV show

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‘Sliders’ is the story of four adventurers who discover a passageway between dimensions that transports them to parallel worlds.
Years: 1995-2000
# of seasons: 5
# episodes: 88


John Rhys-Davies as Maximillian Arturo
Jerry O’Connell as Quinn Mallory
Cleavant Derricks as Rembrandt “Crying Man” Brown
Sabrina Lloyd as Wade Welles

Sliders: Adventurers find a passageway to alternate earths

FOX TV press release – March 1995

John Rhys-Davies, Jerry O’Connell, Sabrina Lloyd and Tony Award-winner Cleavant Derricks star in ‘Sliders’ — a new adventure series premiering Wednesday, March 22 [1995] on FOX.

‘Sliders’ is the ongoing story of four adventurers who discover a passageway between dimensions that transports them to parallel universes. Whenever they land, it is always earth and always the present day, but it is never home.

Sliders TV show cast

They are on a cosmic roller coaster ride, where they see firsthand what our world would be like if history had been different or if they, themselves, had made different choices in their personal lives.

Led by Quinn Mallory (O’Connell), a handsome physics grad student who accidentally creates the gateway while working on an experiment in his basement, the interdimensional travelers include Wade Wells (Lloyd), a beautiful computer tech; and brilliant, but arrogant physics professor Maximillian Arturo (Rhys-Davies).

Slide into a seat for a fun ride to new worlds

Excerpted from an article by Hal Boedeker – Austin American Statesman (Texas) March 22, 1995

Elvis lives. John Kennedy is president. Vinyl records have pushed CDs off the market.

It’s an upside-down world, all right, and whiz-kid scientist Quinn Mallory (Jerry O’Connell) has transported himself there via a homemade gizmo in his San Francisco basement.

In this parallel universe, red stoplights mean go, and US citizens are moving illegally into Mexico. This will be the first of many alternate Earths that Quinn leaps into in Fox’s hugely entertaining “Sliders,” debuting tonight with a two-hour pilot.

“Sliders” made me feel like a kid again, a pretty neat trick for a time-traveling series. Take the leap yourself, and you’ll see what I mean.

Sliders - 1995

The premise will thrill anyone who enjoyed “Quantum Leap” or the “Back to the Future” movies. “Sliders” exploits “what-might-have-been” for some way-out adventures.

This ‘slider’ from a different dimension explains that jumping into the alternative universes, through a wormhole filled with psychedelic colors, is a lot like playing a roulette wheel. Each slot represents another dimension, and there could be hundreds of places to land.

SEE YOUNG JERRY O’CONNELL: Stand by Me: Look back at the classic movie from 1986

Sliders cast

Sliders slid until there was almost nothing left

The 1990s Sliders TV series started out strong… but by the end of the fifth and final season, was a shadow of its former self.

The biggest issue: cast members leaving. There are only so many character changes that can work, and Sliders pushed the envelope to the extreme. Note: Spoilers ahead

The first of the original four cast members to leave was Wade Welles (Sabrina Lloyd), who suffered a horrible fate: she was sent to a breeding camp for the Kromaggs (a monster-like humanoid species that thrived on some alternate worlds).

Then Professor Maximillian P. Arturo died… or did he? There were questions about his identity, thanks to an evil-twin-style double showing up for a short time.

Other unusual cast changes included the addition of Quinn Mallory’s newly-discovered brother Colin (played by Jerry O’Connell’s real-life brother Charlie), who had been found on an earth with late Victorian-era technology. 

Weirdest of all was the change in season 5, when series star Jerry O’Connell departed. Since Quinn Mallory was the series’ linchpin, they didn’t want to do without him… so they introduced his “fraternal alternate.”

This alternate was constructed as some sort of science experiment, but his creation really was for one just thing: to explain why another actor (Robert Floyd) took over as the show’s play the central character. 

ALSO SEE: Star Trek: The Next Generation had a bold new mission from 1987-1994

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