Thursday, June 26, 2014

TV Review: Sliders Seasons 1-5 on Netflix

If there was ever a need for a blog post demonstrating an appalling waste of the precious gift of life- here it is!

What? You've never heard of Sliders? The brilliantly conceived Tracy Tormé SF series of 1995 that collapsed like a disused wormhole into the David Peckinpah crap-fest of 1999? Well, you don't have to watch it! Not like I had to.


Just like settling back into a nice, harmless Netflix obsession, when you step into a wormhole in search of scientific discovery, you take a mighty big risk. Wanna be guillotined on live TV by Donny Most? 'Cause that's one of hundreds of terrible icky ends you might come to... and no one from your home world will ever find out!

SPOILERS! First of all- don't watch it. Like the poorly-explained mental mystics who appear all too often in this series... Heed My Warning! If you must... stop after Season 1. Seriously. It doesn't get better. Cheesier, cheaper, more heartbreaking. Never better. If you JUST CAN'T STOP... please save your sanity with the hilarious reviews on Earth Prime

Season 1- Has excellent ideas, comedy, jeopardy, adventure... and gets you very attached to a haphazard little family who are all about to die horribly, without purpose, and usually offscreen. 

Season 2- Shark. Jumped. Network interference making a hash of continuty and reason. 
Season 3- Utter madnessSeason 3 actually cost a human life (stunt performer Ken Steadman) for a tepid stew of '90's film pastiche. 
Season 4- Starts to show purpose and promise again... pisses it all away in the last three episodes. 
Season 5- When the original cast is all replaced- that's when the magic happens!

My mistake was treating it as alternate history SF when suddenly telepathy, dragons, and sorcery crop up. And just as I'm thinking "Fantasy's good too..." very quickly explosions replace any coherent thought at all! Just as I'm thinking "Well, I like explosions..." they can't really afford that! So it's down to horror. Horror of war, horror of alien nazis, horror of being lost and losing your mind. The pompous voice of Professor Max (John Rhys-Awesome) Arturo silenced by Roger Daltry. Wade (Sabrina The Teenage Lloyd) Welles sentenced by sadistic (I guess you'd call them) "writers" to an ape-man "breeding camp" (the only fate worse than season 3 itself). Quinn (Adorable Kid from "My Secret Identity") Mallory is somehow sort-of-but-not-really fused with another actor or something mumble mumble and ends his life literally just trailing off like this sentence. Last and Least poor Colin (My Brother was in "The Invisible Kid"!) Mallory- Nobody Knows! Best case scenario: amiable Amish guy was "spread like a very fine jam across an infinite number of universes". 

And just as you're thinking "At least I kind of like horror..." there's the indignity. It's just not working at all. What a lot of these parallel worlds have in common is soul-crushing boredom. In the last episode I'm staring at a handful of people I never liked (Boobs McGee, Shrugging "Science" Girl, and Hazy Von Hair Gel) while watching Rembrandt ("Better Than The Material") Brown slide into an unresolved cliffhanger to be mourned forever. A catastrophic level of sloppy, disjointed, implausible storytelling with no sense of follow through. But Quinn took his shirt off a lot!

Guest appearances from Mark Allen Shepherd, Conner Trineer, Tommy Chong, Jerry Doyle, and Peter Jurasik cannot save it. A couple of gems like "Worldkiller", "New Gods For Old" and MAAAYBE "Requiem" are all I can recommend after Arturo's death (which was where I was once forced to stop watching by circumstance and must now admit I was better off.)

Maybe it's a waste of the potential, but if I had sliding technology my fantasy would be to see a world where "Sliders" was actually well executed!

Now, if you'll excuse me- Netflix is infinitely deep & I must start shotgunning Hercules and Xena.