State of the A.R.T.

Season 3
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC

Season 3
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
(Sliders Story No. 33, starring Jerry O'Connell)
  • story by Schuyler Kent
  • teleplay by Nan Hagan
  • directed by John Kretchmer
  • music by Stephen Graziano
  • produced by Mychelle Deschamps & Richard Compton
  • Production # K1813
Story: The Sliders' caution and sense of curiosity is heightened on a world with a vanished population, a pink sky, and human-looking androids that hunt each other down. Can they trust either side in this conflict, even if it is to reunite themselves for the slide? And how many secrets are being kept by "father" - the creator of Aldohn Robotic Technologies where android production seems to have begun?

DVD Extras include:

  • Season 3 Gag Reel (5 minutes)

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 to the season instead.

Now this is a very nice idea for an episode, and fairly well executed. It's got both a post-apocalyptic vibe to the world, and a good sense of futuristic eye-candy with architecture, lasers, and android robotics. Cool! The downside is that the writing, though solid, just isn't terribly original with any of these ideas today.

Three main deficiencies come to mind. Firstly, concepts of artificial intelligence going survival-berserk are so cliché, and dare I say based on writers not grasping how hormone dependent that kind of thing is, you'd think the android builders in any such story would be successfully avoiding that by now with their version of Isaac Asimov's laws of robotics or something.

Second, sci-fi has also done the "people turned into robots by the mad scientist" thing often, and there are a lot of parallels here to "The Black Hole" and "Doctor Who: Four to Doomsday". Though this story does it well, I think the chief conflict with the mad scientist was better in those other two stories.

Thirdly, what's really going to eat into the rankings of "State of the A.R.T." is the lull created by the capture and escape plot device that dominates the entire episode. Attempts are made at character scenes, some of which work really nicely, but specifically because I think we end up with just a few too many of them and they cover equally unrelated ground, they easily begin to feel like their primary purpose is to pad the story out and fill time. More time could've been spent on exploration near the beginning of the story. The Sliders need to ask their first locals what happened to the human population way sooner, and Deric needs to ask the Sliders where they came from before he can reassure them with the "There's no way you could have known" line. Plus, getting locked in the same room for a second time does not bode well, particularly after the first escape attempt took so much story time.

That said, this story doesn't really slip all that far down the rankings. Out of the eleven stories aired so far this season, I'd rank this one 4th, which doesn't seem so shabby. And it shouldn't. Despite the third quarter lull from feelings that it's repeating other sci-fi including itself, the story begins well, has greater intrigue and drive near the beginning than most other "Sliders" episodes manage, and it has some surprisingly interesting end maneuvers as well.

We also have a great cast, spearheaded by Robert Englund. I suppose he's most famous for the "Nightmare on Elm Street" movie series, which I haven't seen. Me, I know him fondly for his recurring role on the series "V", which was all about resisting invasion by reptilian aliens who make themselves look human. He is enjoyable in this role, and brings some much needed charm to it. Star Trek fans may also notice the twins Jerry Rector and Jeff Rector, who did much to make the Next Generation episode "Allegiance" work as well as it did.

When all is said and done, this is a pretty satisfying third season episode. Nice.

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

Season 3 DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
in Canada
Season 3 DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
for the U.K.

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Read the In-depth Analysis Review for the next story: "Season's Greedings"

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