Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

Season 4
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC

Season 4
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
(Sliders Story No. 52, starring Jerry O'Connell)
  • story by Chris Black & David Peckinpah
  • teleplay by Bill Dial & Marc Scott Zicree
  • directed by David Peckinpah
  • music by Danny Lux
  • produced by Edward Ledding, Jerry O'Connell, & Marc Scott Zicree
  • Production # K2811
Story: Quinn slides to his brother Colin's world, finding a pre-electrical farm community. With only two hours left until the next sliding window, how will he be able to find his brother, gain his trust, convince him to abandon his former life, and bring him up to speed on the perils of sliding to so many more modern worlds? Is Colin really a genius, or is he too innocent and naive to handle the financial oddities and criminal intrigue of the next bizarre 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.

"Sliders" delivers another good episode here, although it is a bit startling in its unusually quiet style. But that's a good thing. We've got a brand new regular character coming on board the show here, one who is successfully different from anything we've had before, and this episode does a good job of focusing squarely on him and achieving a tone to complement his style.

The story brooks no delay in moving through the obvious beats that you would expect before charging full speed ahead into new material. We no sooner set-up the idea that the Sliders have come to this world on purpose (I just love that they can do that) to look for Colin, and he makes his grand entrance. Excellent. The entire drama can focus on his assimilation into the group, which is a lot more interesting than a search.

Quinn does seem oddly pushy today - and perhaps that's mostly a result of the time pressure that might best have been relaxed a little more. We get a bit of a repeat of the mythology from "Genesis" which isn't really any better or worse here except for the context that it comes in. It is less suspect here, at least of being a Kromagg deception, and it is slotted into a better episode. Good.

Best of all, this episode really embraces the staple "Sliders" concept of doubles, and it kind of sneaks up on you, since we've become accustomed to not see much of it either in season three as a whole, or in the season four episodes leading up to this one. We get very briefly introduced to some of the people in Colin's life thinking that it's part of the adventure we will have on his world, only to jump quickly to a new world. Then suddenly they show up in the next world, having completely different backgrounds and lifestyles, and no one has yet thought to tell Colin about the concept. You can just feel the episode going up a few notches in tension and quality of drama as Colin gets suckered into his first encounter with a double. Fun!

I also like the way this episode toys with the kind of ideas that made the show great during its first two years, yet breaks with formulaic plots at the same time in ways that make you sit up and take notice. Having taken Colin to his first new world, there is a sense here that the Sliders are going to treat this place as they would most of the worlds they go to which are NOT dramatic enough to wind up as television episodes.... in other words they're going to lay low and chill at the Chandler Hotel and do a little shopping. They get to take a few beats and show Colin what a quiet slide is like. Nice.

Of course, when a cool idea for this world comes out, and we start learning about bone graft accounts, and DNA accounts, and cryogenics, it looks like they'll be thrown into the overused capture and escape routines for breaking some taboo. Not so today, which is magnificently refreshing. They can actually talk their way out of this one in a friendly manner. Yes, thank goodness. There is variety in the multiverse after all!

The really good stuff is that we're all primed to see Quinn, Remmy, and Maggie rescue Colin from the mess he's gotten himself into.... only to find that he has not been as naive as they thought, and has been proactive in resolving his own troubles and making the new world a better place. Colin gets some very good marks on the hero meter, and did it very appropriately in his first story. Very right too, because this IS his story. If only Quinn had been this good as quickly when he first started out on the show. Nice.

And so, Colin is now a bona fide Slider. His innocent, technologically backward background is a bit at odds with his inventive genius, and should provide some interesting angles on him going forward. He also looks like he can bring the other three characters back into better balance with the lighter, fun side of life, as they had become a little too serious and morbid and all-about-the-mission. The show looks like it's growing into a better place.

This has been a rare, transformational period of successfully completing a few long-term arcs on "Sliders" between "The Exodus" and here, all helping to make the fourth season appear so far to be the smartest yet. There are still more long-term goals in play that will be addressed as we continue, but we will question whether such goals were the best ones to set, as progress and success become hard to come by. At least there is more information on the way to help answer some of the series' more troubling questions, and yet more questions to be posed....

The Kromagg-repelling weapon specifically is still an accomplishable goal for the protagonists as well, one that should continue to work well to propel the characters along their journey. Of course, in order to achieve it, they'll need yet another reason to continue their slides afterward, and there really is none better than the insatiable drive of curiosity to see what other kinds of worlds are out there - and preferably to do it with regular returns to a home base rather than the "Gilligan's Island Syndrome" timer.

Well, this is definitely one of season four's pivotal episodes, while being pleasantly atypical. Though it won't beat "World Killer" in the rankings, I think it does stay ahead of "Virtual Slide" and the rest of the initial season four episodes. Season four is looking good....

Best Story from "The Exodus" to here:

    The Excellent:
  1. World Killer
  2. The Exodus
  3. Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
  4. Dinoslide
  5. The Other Slide of Darkness
  6. Virtual Slide

    The Decent:
  7. Common Ground
  8. Slither
  9. Prophets and Loss
  10. Genesis
  11. This Slide of Paradise
  12. Stoker

    The Severely Challenged:
  13. Sole Survivors
  14. The Breeder

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: "Just Say Yes"

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