Gillian of the Spirits

Seasons 1 & 2
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC

Seasons 1 & 2
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
(Sliders Story No. 12, starring Jerry O'Connell)
  • written by Tony Blake and Paul Jackson
  • directed by Paris Barclay
  • music by Anthony Marinelli
  • produced by Tim Iacofano (and Jon Povill, Tony Blake and Paul Jackson)
  • Production # K0810
Story: When a lightning bolt affects Quinn's slide, he is horrified to discover that Wade, Arturo, and Rembrandt are unaware of his presence, and that he is passing through objects and people without being able to interact. Arturo is also faced with repairing a burnt-out timer on a world stuck with a level of technology on par with the 1950's. Quinn's only hope of communicating with his friends seems to be a young woman named Gillian who is embarrassed by her history of hearing strange voices.

In-Depth Analysis Review

by Martin Izsak

WARNING: This review contains "SPOILERS", and is intended for those who have already seen the program. To avoid the spoilers, read the Buyers' Guide version instead.

"Sliders" cruises into one of its most fun and enjoyable episodes here, with a script that logically pulls the viewer along from one good scene to another, each full of strength and great ideas.

The opening sequence is very well done, giving us all the shots we would want to establish the wormhole, the sliding process, and what goes slightly awry this time around. Good job. Our second scene nicely builds up a bit of a mystery surrounding Quinn, culminating in the first of many cool pass-through effects that become a signature of this episode.

Gillian herself is an endearing character, enjoying a story arc that draws upon the sort of archetypal "fitting in" challenges that young people often face. In many ways, her role could have become competitive with Wade for Quinn's attention, but instead they have a co-operative interaction that is miles more watchable than later episodes featuring Wade and Maggie. It is interesting (and accurate) to see how Gillian brings so many of her problems onto herself by reacting so fearfully and pushing against Quinn's early appearances. A more accepting, all-knowing attitude would undoubtedly draw less gossip from the crowd.

The episode is also peppered with a few recurring Sliders regulars, most obvious of which would be Gomez Calhoun operating this world's hotel, and helping sell this world's differences with a few well-timed comic doubletakes. William Sasso delivers another great performance once again.

Perhaps more significant is an appearance by an alternate version of Quinn's Dad, played by actor Tom Butler, who had previously only turned up as a surprise twist at the end of the pilot with little more than one line. Butler gives a fine performance in this story, as his character gets a wide range to explore. Nice.

Also recognizable to X-Files fans will be actress Nicole Parker, who is on hand to stir up some extra trouble for Gillian. Parker often played half of the Stoner & Chick duo in several humorously bent episodes of the third season of The X-Files ("War of the Coprophages" and "Quagmire"). Parker goes for more straight drama here, although clichéd, but it works perfectly. One has to wonder though, how there possibly could have been enough light in her purse for Quinn to see anything in there.

The weakest portion of the episode is probably the raid performed by Arturo and Rembrandt on the technology storehouse. It seems there were a lot of variations of action possible to fill this beat out, and the location probably would have worked better for some than for others. What we get doesn't seem to be the most logical or exciting. Something that allowed our sliders' knowledge of higher technologies to play a stronger role in their victory probably would have worked a bit better.

Quinn and Gillian get a very beautiful heart-felt scene together in the diner, while the jukebox strums out a 1950's style romantic tune with a popular chord pattern, not too dissimilar to "Unchained Melody", although it in fact has much more in common with the instrumental hit "Sleepwalk" by Santo & Johnny.

Well, if you haven't seen the parallels between this episode and the runaway hit-film "Ghost" by now, the nearly identical imagery and sentiments of the climactic sequence will be the dead give-away. The funky spacey multi-coloured designs on the basement walls may have seemed a bit over-the-top previously, but they earn their keep in adding to the look of these final sequences without requiring masses of post-production effects. Wade and Quinn do look much like Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore here, but thankfully Gillian sticks with her own look and doesn't try to mimic Whoopi Goldberg. In my opinion, the goodbyes in this episode of Sliders are a million times better motivated, perfectly utilizing the mechanics of their on-going series. In "Ghost", it seemed completely arbitrary.

Considering what this episode is about, and what is at stake, we get about as good as we can hope for in terms of heroics from Quinn. The professor can only complete his repairs with help from Quinn through Gillian. Quinn's appearance at the end and his disarming words are what ultimately triumph with his alternate father. All good. But most of this is merely in aid of getting himself and his friends through the wormhole again and on to the next episode. Has he made much of a positive impact here? Perhaps we shouldn't be too hard on him. His father, Gillian, and her mother are all in new places with regard to their belief systems, thanks to their interactions with the Sliders and with Quinn in particular. In this one, he doesn't do too badly for making a positive impact on the world he has visited.

And so, season two wraps up one of its best episodes. Well done all. And yes, there are more episodes of great interest coming up.....

This story has become available on DVD. Click on the Amazon symbol for the location nearest you for pricing and availability:

Seasons 1 & 2
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
in Canada
Seasons 1 & 2
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
for the U.K.
Season 2 DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC - new for 2012
for the North American market:
Canada 1
Canada 2

Comments on this article are welcome. You may contact the author from this page:

Contact page


Read the In-depth Analysis Review for the next story: "Time Again and World"

Home Page Site Map Star Trek Doctor Who Sliders Episode Guide Catalogue