Sole Survivors

Season 3
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC

Season 3
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
(Sliders Story No. 40, starring Jerry O'Connell)
  • written by Steven Kriozere
  • directed by David Peckinpah
  • music by Stephen Graziano
  • produced by Mychelle Deschamps & Richard Compton
  • Production # K1819
Story: The Sliders' journey pauses on a crumbling world populated with flesh eating zombies, where the few humans left try to keep their lights on all night long to keep the zombies at bay. What has happened here to create such disaster? The Sliders' attempts to stay alive become even more complicated when Quinn begins to turn into one of the zombies....

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.

If "The Exodus" proved that Sliders was a show willing to develop over time, this very next episode proved how willing the show was to completely trip up, lose all the momentum it had just given itself, and happily tread water once more. Yawn and snore!

The extremely powerful drive going into this story is to see the Sliders tackle their new conflict with Rickman - finally something to draw them forward into their adventures instead of the running away from conflict that dominated their earlier stories. "Sole Survivors" most disappointingly ignores this for the entire 45-minute TV hour, all except for a single line about Rickman near the beginning that looks like it was hastily dubbed on as a post-production fix.

An examination of the production codes suggests that before the arc of finding Rickman can truly continue, we are first going to wade into a kind of "dumping ground" for episodes that were shot prior to "The Exodus" that did not feature Professor Arturo, or as in this case scripted before "The Exodus" in the "Gilligan's Island syndrome" movie rip-off mode, episodes that didn't actually know about the Rickman drive. Again, it all points to bizarre goings on in the writing of the third season as a whole. Oh well. We'll just have to sit tight for a few episodes and wait for the good stories of the Rickman arc to kick in later, which they will.

"I feel like I'm trapped in a bad Roger Corman movie."

While I'm not going to knock Roger Corman, since the only movie he was involved in that I've seen is "Battle Beyond the Stars" and I enjoy its cast, its model and effects work, and its awesome breakout James Horner score, I will say that this episode of Sliders suffers from the sinking feeling that we're going to be stuck with a depressing repetitive A-plot that only delivers visuals of zombie-wannabes in city junkyards at night - probably the most infamous bad "B"-movie scenario that this season of Sliders became so criticized for copying. Additionally, these zombies look and behave too similarly to the acrobats of "The Last of Eden", and there's really no call for that kind of a repeat so soon.

These zombies aren't much of a draw for me. I'm not big on the general concept in sci-fi or horror, and this particular example isn't all that well done anyway. I will say the fact that this antagonistic force grows its numbers as it attacks is a good point, but one that seems at odds with the backstory explanation for its coming into being. Also, the part about these creatures hating light seems to be drawn more from vampire-legend than anything else. This is all a bit of a pity, as the weight-loss-inspired medical explanation that we have could have created something much more interesting than these zombies, had the writer truly gone for it and thought it out.

On the plus side, and there is one, the daylight exterior scenes provide a refreshing contrast, and the plot, for what it is, doesn't work too badly. There are legitimately interesting things to explore here today. They just aren't things that we were excited about tuning in for.

"Sole Survivors" probably has a much bigger claim to being the story that first follows "The Exodus" from showcasing how our regulars are coping with the losses suffered in that adventure. Though this aspect gets the screen time it deserves, it isn't particularly well done here. Wade and Maggie's observations of each other have nothing to do with the dialogue those observations supposedly came from - dialogue that simply deserves to be crossed out in the script for wasting screen time on pure irritability - and the writer has basically given the same to both women, so if there is an observation to be drawn, it says more about the writer than either of the women.

What we actually should've gotten is some reason to anticipate that the Sliders are going to cure this whole world, along with a stronger sense of purpose as they go about it. That I could get behind.

The story's structure is not bad. One can easily anticipate early on that Quinn will be reduced to either McGuffin or spy-like inside villain status for most of the episode, but in fact he gets plenty to do at the beginning and end of the story to balance this and winds up staying on top of his proactivity much better than in many season one or two stories.... not that this adventure in any way matches the draw of those stories. The main conflicts are brought to resolution fairly logically and believably, but seem to lack a certain drama. It's a pity that the final challenge is then so tacked on at the last minute; it feels like it just springs out of nowhere to add the drama that was missing. Whatever. It does just manage to work. By the time the wrap up comes along, we get the good feeling that our Sliders have once more made an awesome difference to yet another world.

Well, this isn't too bad an adventure in the end, but it provides very little reason for anyone to look forward to it in the season three run, much less reason to look forward to the ending while you're in it, plus there's the whole business of throwing away and ignoring the Rickman drive that audiences are tuning in for, so it loses major points for lack of anticipation. This one will take one of the lower ranks in the season.

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 Other Slide of Darkness"

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