Virtual Slide

Season 4
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC

Season 4
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
(Sliders Story No. 50, starring Jerry O'Connell)
  • written by Keith Damron
  • directed by Richard Compton
  • music by Danny Lux
  • produced by Edward Ledding, Jerry O'Connell, & Marc Scott Zicree
  • Production # K2807
Story: The Sliders discover a world whose population has become addicted to powerful virtual reality devices controlled by corporate greed. Maggie appears to be the most resistant to the addiction, and uses all her abilities to keep Quinn and Rembrandt out of a fantasy and focused on repairing the timer.

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.

Improving by leaps and bounds, "Sliders" produces another winning story. This one kicks off a bit of a new obsession with virtual reality for the show, which at the time was one of those buzzword concepts that appeared everywhere. Although the episode's biggest revelation is hardly still surprising, it's all the smaller twists along the way that keep the story fun and enjoyable, and keep us on side with the characters all the way through. The feature film "Inception" can eat its heart out; "Virtual Slide" is much more fun.

Early on, before we really know what this story is about, it appears to dip into the running arc of prolonged Human vs. Kromagg struggles. Three out of four stories this season doing the Kromagg thing would not be a wise idea. But this is merely the episode's most logical starting point, considering what these three characters are currently all about, and the Kromagg challenge is quickly put to the side in favour of a wider variety of ideas. All good.

Before too long, the regulars are in a lab messing with sliding devices. This is the kind of thing that belonged in "Genesis" (the season opener), and was sorely lacking. Better late than never, although portrayed as it is in this story, it's hardly going to be as intriguing or deliver worthy surprises. On top of this we have some fun with virtual reality devices, nicely making the episode's title appropriate enough that the title won't be what gives away the big reveal - although that still isn't enough to really keep it a secret.

Best of all, the relationships between the three characters finally enjoy the bond that they have with each other and celebrate it. This is the first time that this is REALLY right this season, as opposed to sort-of right in a combat kind of way.

Rembrandt is having fun once again, and the audience can sit back and have fun with him. Awesome. Is that Cleavant Derricks playing his own mother here? Haha, nice one, and in the right story too. We never had seen his mother on the show before, so the producers kind of get away with that.

I also like the clever, multi-layered way that the episode toys with Maggie and Quinn's romantic possibilities. Now actually is the right time for this. "The Exodus" was not.

John D'Aquino is good here as the main guest star of the episode, being just cheesy enough and sympathetic enough to work well. His female corporate costar is a little one-dimensional, but it still works, and we're having fun with the episode.

The story's "big" reveal isn't as dramatic as I thought it would try to be, but maybe that's just as well since you can predict it a mile off. They just get it over with and make you wonder how many more tricks may or may not be coming along. I think it actually works better that way, although it is unusual. Perhaps we've been primed to anticipate more and more twists as we approach the final moments, and the biggest twist of all is how straight-forward the last 10 or fifteen minutes actually are. Some viewers may be disappointed. I think it's all okay.

The story's final moves aren't great, and neither is the final challenge, at least in terms of being "memorable", but perhaps memorable isn't all that ideal here as it might spoil repeat viewing. And the ride has been so good all along, we can't get too beat up about it. At least the Sliders controversially improve this world, and have some new character development amongst themselves to think about. Quinn and Maggie are both still doing quite well on the hero-meter.

In the end, this is the best story of the season so far - which I'm glad to be able to say consistently as I go through these - each episode is better than the previous one. I'd even say this episode has gone beyond "average" level and cracked into the "excellent" category. Good one! Keep it coming....

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

Season 4 DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
in Canada
Season 4 DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
for the U.K.

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

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