Paradise Lost

Season 3
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC

Season 3
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
(Sliders Story No. 37, starring Jerry O'Connell)
  • written by Steven Stoliar
  • directed by Jim Johnston
  • music by Stephen Graziano
  • produced by Mychelle Deschamps & Richard Compton
  • Production # K1818
Story: The Sliders land in a quiet little sea-side town named "Paradise", which seems politely reluctant to welcome outsiders. What is the nature of the creature that burrows under the ground on the beach and pulls people down with it? And what is the even bigger secret that no one in the town will speak of?

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.

This episode definitely looks as though its premise was seeded by the movie "Tremors". However, this remains one of the more successful movie transplant exercises conducted on Sliders, and part of the success is due to creating new, strong, people-oriented mysteries to go alongside the creature action, obtaining a similar vibe to many episodes of "The X-Files". If there is a drawback, it looks as though it was a bit too loosely directed, as they go for perhaps a few too many weird effects shots, and things don't always match up when various shots come together for a sequence.

The Sliders clearly enter investigation mode early on, making it seem weird that before they even arrived, the audience was given a lot of the very answers that our heroes seek, meaning essentially that they have to play catch up. But before this drags on too long, one quickly realizes that there are more questions to be answered than just the ones we have answers to, and it's easy to get on side with our regular quartet once more.

Granted this isn't the most original or rich avenue for exploration we could get on this show, but for what it is, it is fairly well written and solidly plotted. It does hit just the right tone, and it inspires audience investment in the protagonists' actions far better than stories like "Murder Most Foul", "Rules of the Game", or "The Dream Masters". Though we still get echoes of capture and escape routines here, these are quite short, and our characters thankfully have space to keep moving through this adventure and surprise us with some of the areas that they end up going to. All good.

The premise itself really echoes the life-transference ideas of vampire legends, yet it channels itself through this mutated worm-creature and what I assume must be its milk... or silk... or something. Similarities to the giant worms and the spice of Frank Herbert's "Dune" series are also suggested here. It could be anything. The more the episode leaves the precise details to the audience the more it remains on safer ground - theoretically at least. Its persistence in returning to the idea of radiation in the uranium mine as a catalyst for the creation of this thing makes its existence a little too random to be believable. Less would have been more here.

I'm not sure the director found time to think through as much of what he went out to shoot as he should have though. Quinn looks all set to change the main guest star's tire, but all he does is loosen/tighten a few nuts before declaring that he's all done. I'm sure the script intended that he should be actually changing it, especially with his comment about the spare which Quinn never actually lays eyes on, and the director was in too much of a hurry to shoot the dialogue in ways that could suggest the entire event could have taken place.

Things also get a little weird in the shootout at the end. How much ammunition do Rembrandt and his opponent have to throw at each other? Do either of them care about scoring hits, or do they just love the noise and posturing? Then Rembrandt is supposed to cover Wade and Quinn, but he does all his shooting while they're standing still, and stays hidden when they run, letting the opponent fire at them as much as he wants. It's all too obvious that next to no thought is being put into proper blocking of our protagonists' actions all too often.

There is also confusion with Quinn and the Sheriff having a bit too similar a look, if not sharing the same stunt man. Many times I'm fooled as to who I'm looking at, when this is not the intention from the story.

Finally there are the effects, which were cool for the time, but stick out now as being a bit too artificial. I'm not sure they were ever truly convincing, but at least they are still kind of cool.

Ultimately, though I like this story as written, and the director generally found the right tone for the episode, I think it received one of the sloppiest technical directing jobs in the entire third season. It just feels too darned rushed.

When all is said and done though, the ending works, and gives the regulars a lot that they can accomplish. This is something that has been problematic in so many other "Sliders" episodes. As in the best of mythological adventure stories, the protagonists only just get to the villains' lair at the end, where they have a final confrontation, and this one does give a lot of bang for its buck in terms of atmosphere and concluding events. Good.

Bizarrely, it looks as though this episode was a testing ground for changes to the main cast, and one that they ultimately decided against using. The final dialogue in particular appears to be too much of a throwback to those ideas they didn't follow through on, and one has to wonder why they didn't change more of it. Why would our female guest star even have considered joining our friends on a never-ending mystery tour of parallel universes? It doesn't fit the rest of THIS script, just merely teases the audience to know more of what an older version might have been.

Well, at least today's premise leaves us with character mysteries we can completely invest in. Even if the visuals don't always work, the story does, and we get a nicely decent episode with good levels of jeopardy and intrigue. I like this one.

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: "The Last of Eden"

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