In fact, the Earth we see in this episode is one of the closest we've ever seen to our own. The only real difference seems to be in the names of television networks and their corporate owners, and perhaps the idea of television becoming even more of an addiction in this society than it is in ours, although here the idea is still subtle enough to seem real.
Most refreshingly, there are no capture and escape routines, and no brutal regimes to battle. Yippee! The field of possibilities is wide open here, allowing comedy to reign supreme. And I cherish the number of times this episode had me laughing my head off. Good stuff! Jerry O'Connell's directing proves versatile in that all three of his "Sliders" episodes so far have aimed for a different tone, and of those this is my favourite so far - and probably the most polished of all.
I don't know why the concept of doubles has become so rare on this show. This is the eighth story to feature Colin, yet it is the first time Charlie O'Connell has the chance to play his own double - and he does jolly well with him, making him noticeably different and entertaining. And between playing his regular character and the double, this does turn out to be more Colin's story than anyone else's, and easily the best story he's had since his introduction. Nice.
Quinn still has a lot of good stuff to do as well, spearheading the exploration of this world's minor differences to our own, plugging himself into the spotlight of the Lipschitz talk show, and generally getting to interact with a lot of interesting guest stars.
The guest castmembers themselves are part of the draw here. Charlie Brill, who had been a key player in the Star Trek comedy classic "The Trouble With Tribbles", is probably much more recognizable after being able to reprise the role more recently on Deep Space Nine. He is excellently cast here as fast-talking host Barry Lipschitz, and probably more captivating than most of the TV hosts out there.
Another favourite is Tim Thomerson, who can have me rolling around on the floor laughing with just a look, playing a corporate owner and stepfather to Colin's double. Nice.
The script also seemed keen to script a role for Gomez Calhoun, despite the fact that he usually works at the Dominion Hotel in San Francisco, and not the Chandler Hotel in Los Angeles. Apparently, Vancouverite William Sasso was sadly not available to play the part, making the character name rather meaningless. Not to worry though, for actor Israel Juarbe does a fine job in the role, and triggers a lot of the best laughs.
We are also introduced here to Hal the bartender, who will later recur in the season five opener. Hal gets a lot of lines containing both humour and cultural significance, and he is played very well by the actor, making him another one of the standout characters of the story.
Of course, if the plot and drama was of the depressing type, we'd be within our rights to wonder why we were still enduring random slides with a timer locked into "Gilligan's Island Syndrome" long after such things had become unnecessary. But in a comedy context, and with none of the characters bothering to bring up the subject, it's much easier to get away with such things, and "Lipschitz Live" totally does. In that respect, Rickman's activities in "Dinoslide" probably set a precedent. If you miss a slide window, you're stuck on that world for 29.7 years waiting for another one. BUT, if you slide away on time and then come back, you get a whole 'nother early window. Neat, eh? Perhaps that's why Quinn and company just keep on sliding, until they can figure out what coordinates to program. Better to go on randomly than risk not going on at all.
Well, the wrap up is suitably satisfying, with each regular character resolving whatever bit of plot he or she was involved in, and for once the Sliders can actually be proud of the lasting influence they have had on this world as they leave. Good job!
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