Slide by Wire

Season 4
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC

Season 4
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
(Sliders Story No. 62, starring Jerry O'Connell)
  • written by Chris Black
  • directed by Robert A. Hudecek
  • music by Danny Lux
  • produced by Edward Ledding, Jerry O'Connell, & Marc Scott Zicree
  • Production # K2820
Story: On a military base where pilots fly advanced jets via remote control virtual reality, Maggie encounters a double of her dead husband Steven Jenkins. But what strange disaster on the next world has caused its citizen to outlaw all forms of electronic technology?

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.

This "Sliders" episode kicks off with some great twists and surprises leading to a number of great story ideas and premises, and quickly becomes one of the most exciting and promising episodes of the season. But it isn't quite able to sustain the excellence though, as the writer seems to run out of steam halfway through, and isn't able to deliver conclusions to his two main plotlines that are very worthy of viewer attention.

Well, it's about time that the "Sliders" staple of doubles came up and allowed our regulars to sink their teeth into it as actors. This time we focus on Maggie's double, and the doubles of other people in her former life. It's surprising that it took a whole year since her introduction for the writers to come up with such a solid story concerning one of her doubles; previously she only made brief cameos of doubles of herself in "The Exodus" (story no. 39) and "The Alternateville Horror" (story no. 54).

Nicely, we also get to see a double of her husband Steven Jenkins as well; sadly the producers have had to recast the role, which doesn't quite work 100% with the recognition Maggie seems to want to show him. Well, at least enough time has gone by since "The Exodus" that many members of the audience may not notice.

The opening sections of the story pile on all the interesting elements, and raise excellent questions for the rest of the narrative to answer, not least of which is the simple staple that TV shows like "Lost" seemed to thrive on, namely, just what exactly is going on and who is really who? It's done fairly well here for the most part. The opening teaser sequence feels a tad off at first, as we can't quite root for the Maggie we see as much as we normally do, but before the titles cut in, we find out why and get a fascinating reason to stay tuned in.

The episode continues to work well while building towards its most key scenes, namely the exposition revealing the backstory for both alternate Maggie and her world in one plotline, and the emotional scenes between Steven and our Maggie in another plotline. After this, though there has been decent conflict set-up in both plotlines for our heroes to work through, the scenes we get are not very well written or executed to deliver logic or charisma or any other kind of true satisfaction. An otherwise fascinating episode ends rather lamely here.

Kari Wuhrer performs both of her roles well here, with the episode clearly supported on her capable shoulders. Quinn is also quite strong in his role, clearly in command of the quartet and showing leadership qualities that would have done him credit in seasons one and two. He's learned. Rembrandt has some good moments as well, but this really isn't his story. Colin gets so forgotten in this adventure that it almost feels as if he isn't even there. He's lucky if he has half-a-dozen lines in this one.

Today's big guest star is Meg Foster, who makes a nice strong adversary for Wuhrer to play off of. Her performance is good, taking the sometimes hokey dialogue and the disturbing world political situation and making it believable. It's just too bad we didn't get a better final confrontation or resolution to the conflicts surrounding her.

The Sliders easily enjoy their ability to return to a previous world here, something that is present in the background but not really discussed in the foreground. I do like that they can do that, but I think it should deserve a bit more discussion, since it is something they don't really do all that much.

And something I could have had more of would be exploration of the disaster that occurred on the anti-tech world. It seemed there was opportunity to do much more there, and such opportunities got wasted. It's a little too much "Return of the Archons" for me, and not enough "Tempo of Destruction".

Well, this is still an enjoyable episode with a very exciting first half and a good moving center to it. I'm glad it added what it did to the canon.

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: "Data World"

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