Season's Greedings

Season 3
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC

Season 3
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
(Sliders Story No. 34, starring Jerry O'Connell)
  • written by Eleah Horwitz
  • directed by Richard Compton
  • music by Danny Lux
  • produced by Mychelle Deschamps & Richard Compton
  • Production # K1806
Story: The Sliders look for jobs at a gigantic mall in the clouds, slowly uncovering the insidious debt-slavery scheme it operates under. Meanwhile, Wade encounters doubles of her sister and father, also working at the mall. How deeply are they involved with the unscrupulous marketing activities? Why do they have no idea who she is? How much will she be willing to tell them in order to spend Christmas with family again? And what is the real reason Arturo insists on helping so many of the children on this world?

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.

Oh yes! "Sliders" produced one of its very best gems here with "Season's Greedings", going back to the heart of its premise of examining society through comparisons with interesting alternate versions, and in this case, it's hard to see how THIS particular examination could have been done as well at any other time of the year. Though I'm vocally not fond of Christmas shows in other sci-fi series, this one is a HUGE exception. This is how a Christmas show should be done.

"Look, will you wake up?! The system is so set up that you cannot possibly pay back the debt."

My favourite part of this episode is probably all of the commentary on financial systems, particularly how debt is exploited, and how marketing ties into the addiction - and these dynamics are probably at their busiest and most insidious at Christmas. There's a ton of good information here, and it's not all fiction from a parallel universe either. Arturo hits an archetypal nail on the head with his line about a system designed to produce slavery and foreclose on real property and other assets, while creating a fictional sense of fairness through currencies and other measurements to get people to go along with it. Though the example presented in the episode may not be complex enough to believably fool a society long term (and maybe you just can't cover all that in a 45-minute episode while balancing everything else a good episode should have), it presents a very good surface model of some very real underlying problems in society. See our article on "Monetary Reform" to get a bigger idea of how similar ideas are playing out on the largest scale on OUR Earth.

Another favourite element here is the fact that our regular characters get a lot of good material in this one. Wade is most notably well served, in what is probably her best episode yet. After two and a half years, we FINALLY get to meet her family and see them get major roles in a story! One wonders why it took so long. Chase Masterson, perhaps best known to sci-fi fans as Leeta the often recurring employee of Quark's bar on Deep Space Nine, is superbly cast as Wade's sister Kelly, bearing a good resemblance to Sabrina Lloyd and falling into a believable sibling rapport with her. Wade's father is definitely taller and skinnier than the extra who briefly appeared in "Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome" (story no. 18), but of course he is much more definitive here. This is a most welcome exploration of Wade and family, and it is done particularly well here.

Arturo is also VERY well served in this story, as we get to see such an incredibly good and wise side of him as he deals with children while dressed up as Santa Claus. We also learn so many gems of his character's backstory from WWII England, including details from his family that we've never had before. This is very good stuff. John Rhys-Davies really delivers a superb performance in this episode, and is incredibly and powerfully moving. He deserves an Emmy award here for sure.

Rembrandt has a very critical little side-plot to himself here, demonstrating how easily debt can creep up on someone. It's very nicely done, and dovetails into the main plot in ways that truly enhance the larger picture being painted. Awesome! Quinn plays an important supporting role in most of these three other character stories, which is a great balance since he was so central to the other two top stories of the season so far.

There's a bit of great eye-candy in this story as the mall is revealed, which is a moment not to be missed. The wormhole also receives ample justice, but other than that, it's the story that grabs most, which is as it should be.

Danny Lux's score is also quite excellent and enjoyable. There are a lot of lively cues for the action and suspense scenes, plus some really emotional pieces for the quieter, more sentimental scenes. There seems to be just enough melody to hit the right tone, while letting the music melt into the background and keep the situation with the characters first and foremost in viewers' minds. The Star Trek spin-offs of this era could well take lessons from the way "Sliders" was being scored - this is the way to do it.

"Wade, we are getting home."
"When? The next slide? What, the slide after that? Next year? Tell me when."

This exchange was one of the most memorable of the episode and has stuck with me ever since. It is in fact extremely dangerous, to highlight in such a poignant way one of the major growing problems of the show at this time. "Sliders" was still locked in "Gilligan's Island Syndrome", doomed to never be able to return home, lest the show be finished and every member of the production suddenly be out of work. Sure, there had been some awesome groundwork laid for expanding the long-term arcs of the show beyond that of returning home, with the Kromaggs of "Invasion" (story no. 22) and Logan St. Clair of "Double Cross" (story no. 23), but these characters were still one-offs at this time, and already another half a season had gone by in which nothing had been done with them. Series development felt stagnant, and episodes were becoming more and more hit and miss as to their level of engagement and worthiness to take up their audience's time.

And now I have to admit something. Soon after this, I believe after the episode "Slide Like An Egyptian", when re-runs I had seen before became more numerous than new episodes, I gave up on watching the show on its initial run. Partly I was questioning whether TV in general was worth tuning in for, but specifically for "Sliders", I was bored and disappointed at the lack of development and progress. Wade's line summed it up so perfectly, but most dangerously without a solution anywhere in sight for the audience.

If only I had known that such MAJOR developments were only a few episodes away, things might have been very different. I did eventually tune back in during the middle of season four to see that the stories were excellent, and that I had missed some REALLY big series-changing events. Suddenly, my interest in the rest of season three was peaked once more, and though some episodes are quite rightly frowned upon by fans, I have to applaud the series' makers for finally creating an arc that developed the show and kept me tuning in episode after episode. Did it actually work better for me because by the time I saw it, I generally knew it was headed towards something that would work out well? Maybe. So I will tell you that good things are in store. BIG things are in store. Controversial things are in store.

Don't make the mistake I did. Keep at season three. The main event is not far now, and afterwards, you will be drawn through the conclusion into a most impressive fourth season....

Back to more immediate concerns, I just love "Season's Greedings". It's smart, it looks good, and it's incredibly moving. A top notch example of "Sliders" at its best!

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.

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: "Murder Most Foul"

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