An Open Letter to Universal Studios:
It’s been years since the finale of the scifi series Sliders. But a new beginning could close the book to a job unfinished. Those first two seasons had the perfect blend of adventure, fiction and comedy. It was the 90s, it was a time where things were indeed more simple and less complicated. There’s no question that it was the golden era for science fiction on television.
Any and every 90s show seems to be getting the nod for a reboot. Whether it be Full House, or the X-Files there’s something missing and it’s Sliders. There’s one supreme advantage that Sliders has over these other shows. It’s the literal unlimited possibilities writers could create for parallel worlds. And I’m afraid that your studio, Universal Studios, fails to see this as an advantage. Jerry O’Connell once said that’s why he loves Sliders so much because “its not like other televisions shows where you’re stuck in a emergency room every episode or you’re stuck in police precinct. It’s a different show every week.” The possibilities are indeed endless with different dimensions.
The man to get the job done for a miniseries would be Sliders co-creator Tracy Tormé who has won the hearts and minds of a cult scifi generation. When Slidecage interviewed Jerry O’Connell and talked about a possible reprise he mentioned that Tormé is the boss. And rightly so. He would be the one who has seen what has worked and what hasn’t in his time working on Sliders. His experience with writing and negotiating in a day and age where the parallel universe concept is becoming more widely known is key to success.
If you’re truly connected to a story and characters of a science fiction medium you want to know the whole story, not a new one. What would “Back to the Future” be without Michael J. Fox? Or “Indiana Jones” without Harrison Ford? There are many fans here and abroad waiting, hoping, believing that a return will happen. That’s not to say a series reinvention is out of the question, but capping off a cliffhanger story is more important. Obviously it wouldn’t be an easy feat to explain a resolution to the chaos that ensued over two and a half seasons. Trying to tell a new story to new viewers and old diehard fans would require a delicate and precise balancing act.
A theatrical movie would be out of the question. The average movie length is two hours which would likely not give enough time to wrap up the past and give us more action beyond that. A continuation with a new season six could end up in disaster with cast changes or even cancellation without a resolution yet again. It would seem the only viable option is a miniseries that could not only give enough screen time but allow a set finale that would leave everyone happy. Finally at that point, a reinvention or next generation would seem appropriate.
Sliders went through a lot in five seasons. Actors left the show, plots drastically changed at times, and the series ended on a cliffhanger. Nevertheless Sliders still had very high ratings and kept continuity in it’s fifth and final season. Many would call the Sliders story a train wreck that could never be put back together. If Universal Studios leaves it a mess, its essentially a cheap shot to it’s fans. Let me explain. Co-Creator Tracy Tormé saw the need for viewers to be “in the know” about cliffhangers from one season to the next. The season one finale told the story about Quinn getting shot and the FOX Network felt no explantation was needed to show Quinn on his feet in the season two premiere episode. Essentially as Tormé puts it FOX wanted to “alienate the audience” and tell them you don’t matter, nor does the story. We do matter and we’re here to tell you that.
Most of us would be delighted to see the original fantastic four return. Jerry O’Connell would definitely be interested with Tormé at the helm and I can’t help but feel Cleavant Derricks would be on board, especially after outlasting every other original cast member through its five year run. Obviously John Rhys-Davies and Sabrina Lloyd may be in question. Rhys-Davies had a difficult departure from the series to say the least, and Lloyd is overseas. Deep down Quinn, Rembrandt, Wade and the Professor are the bread and butter. And everyone knows it.
Sliders doesn’t need to grow mature. Growing up in the 90s, Sliders was a relatively moral television series. Whether it be the violence of “The Walking Dead” or the sexual obsession in “Game of Thrones”, television shows today are pushing violent and sexual boundaries to the extreme. Sliders is something that was fun, comedic and adventurous in a wholesome way. If you have a good story there’s really no need for sexualizing and creating graphic violent scenes. Networks have really taken what was sparsely seen in the 90s and used it exponentially today for ratings. It’d be great to see the kids growing up today to experience such a show as we did in the 90s. Adventurous. Fun. Clean. Yet smart.
Time is of essence. The prolific actor John Rhys-Davies is getting up in age along with the Tony Award winner Cleavant Derricks. Why wouldn’t you take the opportunity to bring back a show with John Rhys-Davies? The man has been a staple in blockbuster movie franchises such as “Indiana Jones”, “Lord of the Rings” and even “007”. It would only take time to tie up a loose end that co-creator Tracy Tormé was never able to finish and thats the wrong Arturo who slid with the Sliders after the episode “Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome”.
The existence of countless Sliders fan websites, fan fiction, it’s success on Netflix and presence in pop culture is still strong. Reviving the show to it’s roots with the original actors would be a television success with Tracy Tormé. It only takes a bit of research to discover how embedded Sliders is in the hearts and minds of TV fanatics. We haven’t forgotten. Take a look. ‘Haven’t you seen? Heard? Haven’t you looked around? Hasn’t any of this affected you at all? The universe has no conscience. So we have to.’ Don’t blow it.
Sign the petition to #BringBackSliders: Bring Back Sliders | Change.org