El Sid

Seasons 1 & 2
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC

Seasons 1 & 2
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
(Sliders Story No. 14, starring Jerry O'Connell)
  • written by producer Jon Povill
  • directed by Paris Barclay
  • music by Stephen Graziano
  • produced by Tim Iacofano (and Jon Povill, Tony Blake and Paul Jackson)
  • Production # K0802
Story: Interfering in a brutal personal dispute, the Sliders end up accidentally bringing two unwanted characters with them into the next strange world, which has some particularly bizarre and strict new rules. Will Quinn and his friends be able to get the ornery Sid to behave himself until the next slide?

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.

With this episode, the second season of Sliders suffers through one of its worst turkeys. Even then, season two standards are pretty good, and the story isn't all bad, particularly nearer the beginning.

The story opens on an unpleasant world that fails to inspire with its dilapidated design and one-dimensional character stereotypes. Indeed, the usual impact a character like Sid might make by angrily throwing a door off its hinges is seriously undermined in a building that is already so destroyed that there are practically no walls left around the door to begin with, and rubble is piled several feet deep where the door lands. However, Quinn's heroic impulse comes to the fore almost immediately, a much welcome development. One of the biggest disappointments of the episode though becomes the fact that Quinn's heroics only ever get people into more trouble. He is way too ineffective throughout this story, although Wade does get to make some really nice speeches about his intentions and her confidence in him at several points.

The hook leading into the title sequence works wonderfully for triggering the imagination and creating anticipation for interesting areas that the story may be about to explore. Nice.

The backdrop for the story's next new world is a fantastic architectural piece of eye-candy, and at many times the camera can't help but to take some time to show it off. Quite rightly too. Ultimately the contrast between this world and the last one are quite a successful juxtaposition. The opening exploration scenes of this part of the show are amongst its best. Enjoy it while you can. The premise for the world and its rules are mildly interesting, and the story saves one of the world's major differences for a surprise twist. All good. Perhaps it's best not to dig too deeply into the ideas though, because it seems to house motivational holes that will hamper believability.

In the relative harmony of the new main world for the story, time is taken to explore the major guest characters and their differences with the sliding regulars. While this is normally a good idea, the two sliding guests don't prove to be any deeper or more interesting than stereotypes for participants in a violently bad relationship, which produces predictably ugly scenes for the viewer to sit through. Yawn and snore.

L.J. seems to be a more interesting character, and certainly holds his own during early portions of the story. He becomes far more disappointing near the end though, jumping into the same one-dimensional rut as most of the other characters.

As the story progresses, it creates less and less anticipation that it is going anywhere interesting. The amazing architecture is abandoned, as the story buries itself in some uninspiring dark underground corners, and drags itself through one tired standoff at gunpoint after another, most of which do not end in believable fashion.

It is left unsaid how our four Sliders come up with their plan of action for their final move - which of course has no real goal other than escaping into the next episode. Neither do they indicate whether or not they intend to take either of their two new companions with them, or how they intend to solve their differences with them in a more permanent fashion. It is all left to play out as a surprise to the audience, and as Arturo admits, doesn't go according to plan anyway. Quinn has a role to play, but not a pivotal one, and if I had to guess, I'd say the plan was cooked up primarily between Arturo and Michelle.

What plays out is really disappointing - with Michelle's building case of passive-aggressive syndrome reaching the most predictable and disappointing outcome possible. Not really worth putting on screen. Worse, the plot has to clumsily have her pull her gun on Sid twice, with an inexplicable off-screen defusing of tension in between which really takes the believability out of the show. It seems Michelle's final actions would have been better suited to her first confrontation with Sid rather than the second. Of course, her actions would not be suitable for the other four sliders, so she ends up with more responsibility for concluding the plot than they do.

Even then, this story fails to come to any kind of real emotional resolution, settling for just another jump through the wormhole again. Curiously, the visual beam effects for the timer are back, and the wormhole is done full justice again. No complaints there. But fading out to black as the cave crumbles has to be one of the most unsatisfying endings on any episode of Sliders.

Most interestingly, the Sliders appear to have added Michelle to their ranks, building anticipation that she will have another scene of saying good-bye to them on the next world at the end of this episode, or better yet, at least one more adventure with them in the next episode, where her character could complete a short arc. Perhaps all that was slated for a production with the following number K0803.... only there is no completed episode of Sliders with that code, and Michelle is curiously never seen or heard from or spoken about again. Thus the easiest and most fascinating development that could spring from this story is non-existent and not dealt with. A grand disappointment.

Ultimately this becomes one of the least impressive instalments of Sliders' second season, and an easy contender for the year's Wooden Turkey Award.

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

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Read the In-depth Analysis Review for the next story: "Greatfellas"

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