SLIDERS - Season Four

Get your copy of this DVD box set from the links below:
Region 1, NTSC, U.S.
Region 1, NTSC, Canada
Region 2, PAL, U.K.

DVD Set includes:

  • 22 episodes @ 45 minutes each

Buyers' Guide Season Review

by Martin Izsak

(A series of more in-depth analyses, containing "SPOILERS" and intended for those who have already seen the episodes, begin with "Genesis" (story no. 47).)

Get set for some major changes, as "Sliders" goes for a darker and more serious tone, some much more substantial long-term arcs against their most deadly repeat foes, and some very thought-provoking science fiction scenarios.

For the fourth season, "Sliders" went to a new broadcaster, and I think we should give some kudos to the Sci-Fi channel for not messing with the episode order the way Fox did with previous seasons. Season Four's stories were allowed to remain in the sequence envisioned by the writers, who use the opportunity to good effect. Here, the stories mean more and can easily command longer audience attention spans this way. Nice!

Plus, after waiting probably a bit too long, "Sliders" finally takes the plunge to complete some of its long-term arcs this season and branch out in decent new directions. For that alone, they deserve a big round of applause. Additionally, the new directions brought some much needed life and additional intrigue to most of the fourth season as a whole, and the show seemed to be back on form for the most part.

In fact, if you know what's going to drive the rest of season four, and how different that is to where "Sliders" was at the end of season three, you can easily come to the season opener "Genesis" expecting a big episode with a lot of critical twists in it. "Genesis" delivers a lot of shocks to the audience, not least of which is the questionable dark tone that continues through many of the season's continuity episodes, and fans will no doubt be split on whether each of the various elements introduced here was a good idea or not. Ultimately, though there is significant merit in much of the new stuff, it is clumsily presented to the viewer in a fairly offensive hard lump here in "Genesis", and I think it's just too easy for the audience to not be buying it, or at least, to not be buying all of it.

But bear with the new season, as it continues to improve by great strides and soon bears fruit to make the changes worthwhile.

Early highlights of the season include the back-to-back episodes "World Killer" and "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?", which really demonstrate the imagination, good writing, and long-term care that elevated the fourth season of "Sliders" back to being one of the very best science-fiction shows on television.

It's no secret that the Kromaggs are back this season in full force, operating as worthy long-term adversaries for our regular protagonists. Though a lot of what we see of them this season works really well, the big trap they seem prone to fall into is losing their alien quality and becoming anthropomorphized as World War Two style one-dimensional villains. Even then, there proves to be some merit in the idea as later episodes comes into play. Some of the better Kromagg episodes to look forward to include "Slidecage" and "Mother and Child".

Season Four is also big on virtual reality scenarios. Many of these work well and are a lot of fun, but it does crop up a bit too often. By the time "Data World" gives you yet another dose of it, and a less-than-brilliant one at that, you'll be wishing they'd move on to something else.

Many of the darkest episodes are crammed together in the middle of the season, while greater variety and lighter tones become more plentiful near the end of the run. Fans may be split on which style they prefer. I particularly enjoyed the all-out comedy of "Lipschitz Live" and the lighter side of "The Alternateville Horror". We also get to see the most serious and dramatic romance for Rembrandt yet in the mid-season episode "Asylum". Some worthy ideas regarding bubble universes and the medical harvesting of clones provide fascinating sci-fi premises nearer the end of the run. All in all, there is a lot to enjoy here.

Is this a better season than the last one? In many ways, yes. It is certainly smarter, and generally does more justice to science fiction ideas and character continuity. I'd say it doesn't quite top seasons one or two, but it does complement them well by finally taking care of some longer-term arcs and loose ends from earlier on. In the end, season four is a must for fans wanting to follow the show's continuing mythology.

The entire fourth season of Sliders has become available in a DVD box set.
Click on the Amazon symbol for the location nearest you for pricing and availability:

Season 4 DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
in Canada
Season 4 DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
for the U.K.

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Read the Buyers' Guide Review for the next DVD box set: "Sliders - Season 5"

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