Net Worth

Season 4
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC

Season 4
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
(Sliders Story No. 61, starring Jerry O'Connell)
  • written by Steven Stoliar
  • directed by Paul Lynch
  • music by Danny Lux
  • produced by Edward Ledding, Jerry O'Connell, & Marc Scott Zicree
  • Production # K2806
Story: Sliding to a new world, Quinn and Rembrandt find themselves on the inside of a glassed-in futuristic building, while Maggie and Colin find themselves on the outside, and finding a door that they can use to reunite themselves becomes more difficult than it should. What kind of imbalance has separated the on-line and off-line factions of this society so dramatically? Can the people on either side learn to live together and love each other once more?

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" stays free of its biggest WWII brutality crutch of the season here, only to lean on its second biggest crutch of the season: virtual reality. The story also freely admits how much it pinches from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, which gives the narrative a good archetypal backbone and inspires several characters. The merger of those two ideas is actually fruitful enough to produce a fun and worthwhile episode, as it finds many avenues for social commentary, not least of which are the self-deceiving aspects of online dating which was just about to blossom in popularity as this show aired.

Thankfully, time has brought much philosophical improvement to the core premise of Shakespeare's play. The Shakespeare version of Romeo and Juliet allows its plot twists to rest on deception, which brings about a tragic end result. Now in this modern version, deception is clearly being painted as one of the core problems, and the plot must twist and turn on the fact that honesty is taking over to rule the day, with a much, much better end result. It's a nice contrast between the two versions of the story, with the modern interpretation aligning itself more closely with good fourth density principles. Shakespeare, eat your heart out.

Sadly the believability of the episode is hampered by the extreme polarization of two halves of society. Reality will always trump virtual space - if only the writer could have predicted all the dot com crashes about to occur in the years after this show was made. At the time computer nerds were hailed for dominating the corporate stock market, perhaps since people didn't notice the number of internet entrepreneurial failures compared with the number of those who had achieved big success.

More fundamentally, the episode is just not fleshed out with enough characters to make each side credible. We definitely need more inside onliners! Spaced out ones. Joanne's parents. Corporate giants. We especially need to see the financial controls that onliners have over offliners, or credibility is out the window.

Outdoor offliners fare a bit better but still aren't enough. We see a gang of thieves and Rick's mom. Again, the financial relationship between the two sides needs more, otherwise the offliners could so easily control all while the onliners don't even know it. Remember, the map is not the territory. Offliners at least deal with the territory hands-on, while the onliners ONLY have the map. Sadly, as pointed out in the philosophical featurette on many packages of "The Matrix", the map has primacy for our society, to the point where this can be forgotten in our fiction writing as happened here.

I didn't like the scene in the Chandler hotel when the gangsters walk in on our six protagonists - exactly why do the villains have the upper hand so quickly and decisively? Yeah, they're armed, but so is Maggie, and our gang is every bit as charismatic as the gang's leader. Plus, our people outnumber the gangsters do they not? A little more jostling for dominance is in order. Besides, our team's surrender doesn't do them any good anyway, now does it? Not to worry, it's only a very obviously fake Hollywood roof that collapses on them, as the lightweight polystyrene rubble amply demonstrates on camera.

Dialogue is a bit cheeseball in this one at times, from the geek speak in earlier portions (which actually is okay on the page, but never quite works as easily or as well on camera without more careful and judicious use) to the corny references stirring old porridge near the end.

Ah, but the episode has some of the best archetypal threads running through it. Both the protagonists and the audience easily invest in Rick and Joanne's relationship, and the difficulties of meeting online before meeting face-to-face, and the story gives us a fun sci-fi ride. Though this isn't quite a great story, it's a fun and enjoyable one.

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: "Slide by Wire"

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