DVD Extras include:
Immediately noticeable are the changes of hairstyle on most of the main cast, betraying the fact that this episode was shot in a new year, and in the middle of the schedule. Quinn's hair is about the only one that is an improvement, as he loses the over-styled pretty-boy cut in favour of a more rugged look. Good. Arturo's hair is the worst disaster, going longer and looking decidedly more unkempt, and losing the respectable quality that his trim season one appearance had commanded. (The makers of the new season's title sequence couldn't seem to tell the difference between Arturo and the Sorcerer it seems).
Season Two also seems to be quite budget conscious in terms of providing effects shots of our standard sliding wormhole, no longer showing a beam coming out of the timer (which was a little weird while it lasted to be honest), and perhaps making the limited number of new wormhole shots more obvious than necessary by waiting until the last of the four sliders jumps into or out of the hole before showing an effect, if at all. Weird. If you're going to cut corners, it is less obvious and more satisfying to show the wormhole early on, like when the first person jumps in or out, and if you really study season one, that's often what they do.
Thankfully, season two ushered in many good changes. Season One's awful excuse for theme music is replaced by a more toneful collaboration between the new year's alternating musicians Anthony Marinelli and Stephen Graziano. It's a significant improvement, yet still curiously does not appear to have any kind of catchy melody or emotional chord movement. It announces a slightly cool excitement, but feels as if it isn't quite sure why.
The episode's title appears on screen for the first time as well. Excellent move; every show on television should do this. Too bad they didn't realise it in time for season one, but better late than never. Thankfully, this practice remained for all subsequent episodes of Sliders.
A few recurring minor characters like John Novak's lawyer Ross J. Kelly and Alex Bruhanksi's cab driver Pavel Kurlienko give us some enjoyable familiar faces to enhance this world's differences from the Sliders' original one. It does appear to be rainy season in Vancouver when this was shot, and a particularly cold and windy one at that. Season Three will be quite a contrast....
Jerry O'Connell puts a lot of good, powerful moments into Quinn during this episode, moments where he steps forth with boldness and determination and keeps the other Sliders focused on a goal, moments unfortunately not highlighted by the script. The script all too easily puts Quinn into the position of a "McGuffin", the object of other people's goals, particularly the goals of the other Sliders. Most of what they do in the first half of the story is all to help Quinn recover, while he spends his time being out of commission. Later, when the Sliders get a more traditional mission to fulfill, Quinn is out of it once more, requiring rescue. Most of the action resolving any part of the plot goes to Rembrandt and Arturo, with Wade making an alternate attempt at one point. And the concluding climactic action goes to.... an alternate Quinn. Our Quinn is still awaiting his true heroic emergence.
The final section is a nice piece anyway, successfully setting up the main premise for the series for anyone who might have missed the first season. Always good to do that in a season opener. Respect. Even though this seems to be one of those conclusions that isn't easy to memorize and get bored of, the iconic set design and lighting has a way of burning itself onto the subconscious. You'll remember it, perhaps without knowing which episode you saw it in.
Anthony Marinelli's music tastefully fits the dark and spooky mood of the story while remaining VERY low key throughout, not really daring to define a theme or riff anywhere.... until we reach the final scenes. Suddenly a fun and interesting piece bubbles up, very cool, enjoyable, modern light listening music, followed by some nice melancholy piano bits to finish the episode off. Good job.
The final scene raises a question that Sliders fans are probably still debating: Did the Sliders briefly reach home? There is much to suggest that they did, and that was probably the intention from the script. I'm prepared to say they reached a very close copy, but not their original Earth, because Quinn's mother definitely seems to have a completely new genetic structure. Actress Deanne Henry takes over the role of Mrs. Mallory for the season, doing a good job with the few scenes that she gets, but not really fooling the audience that Quinn's mother is the same. Oh well.
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