The Java Jive

Season 5
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC

Season 5
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
(Sliders Story No. 76, starring Robert Floyd)
  • written by Janét Saunders & Jennifer McGinnis
  • directed by Jeff Woolnough
  • music by Danny Lux
  • produced by Paul Cajero
  • Production # E0807
Story: Looking for jobs, the Sliders decide to help out a night club owner/singer who has recently lost her boyfriend and half of her staff, and Rembrandt is once more in his element playing piano and singing on stage. Exactly who is his shadowy double on this world? Why is a local mob of gangsters terrorizing the club? And what is the illegal connection to supplies of coffee on this 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.

Haha, it's about time Remmy got the main focus of a story, now that he's got top billing in the opening credits. And with his musical background, he's right at home fitting into this story. There's a nice 1930's detective mystery feel running through this one, and it's got a fairly good, solid plot. Unfortunately, the plot feels a bit too slow in places, mostly where the writers take time to enjoy their characters, but also when everything stops for a song. Not bad for what it is, but not really my cup of tea. On first viewing I was very frustrated to watch the Sliders idle their time away in this kind of story, instead of dealing with any of their pressing long-term goals.

Plot-wise, I thought we were doing really well when Remmy entered investigator mode, which led to him impersonating his double for a bit on the fly. Nice. Very sad to see that collapse into the prisoner dynamic. But no, this episode does not make the same mistake as the previous two. Remmy's got Mallory with him for company, and their bout of prisoner routines is a relatively small portion of this story. Ideally, it could have been smaller still, while more interesting aspects were beefed up. Oh well.

When is this?

The style of this world is a strange mix of periods, blending its heavy draw from 1930's gangster movies with references to Seinfeld and a 1970's car. I think we can get away with the lead villain having a 1930's car if you show that it's a one-of-a-kind collectible by having him drive it in amongst modern traffic. As it stands, that car is the only one we see for a LONG stretch of the episode, making me wonder instead if it was trying to represent what everyone was driving. Thank goodness the 1970's car shows up to give us some contrast. For my money, the biggest laugh of the episode has Remmy and Mallory bouncing around in the car in pseudo "Austin Powers: Goldmember" style. Not sure exactly what that was about, but it sure looked funny.

I'm really not fond of the dance number. The dancers' costumes make their figures look shapeless and take all femininity out of their hairstyles. As most of the number is presented in longshot to cover all eight of them, one wonders if one isn't looking at the Monty Python men all dressed up in drag as they are known to do, only this time it's without all the jokes. Sorry, those costumes do not work for this scene.

Stylistically, there are some interesting points to this episode, but there's really no significant social commentary here in this one to help the content stand out. It's particularly bizarre that once more this "world's" differences are confined to the U.S., and Canada is once more assumed to not be partaking of this world's uniqueness, or so the dialogue alone would have the viewer infer. Despite the plot being more refreshing, it doesn't feel like it was more worthy a story in the end.

But I will say, I found myself investing in this story much more strongly than I did for the season three episode "Murder Most Foul", which also attempted period mystery and had a greater number of sci-fi elements in it, yet was fairly clumsy at making sense out of the characters' goals.

But though Rembrandt does fairly well in this story, I don't think it's really one of his strongest. He has had better in earlier seasons of the show.

This is a decent episode, but turns out a bit bland in the end. Refreshingly, we're about to get another really good story coming up next....

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

Season 5 DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
in Canada A
in Canada B
Season 5 DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
for the English/German European market:
from Holland via the U.K.

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Read the In-depth Analysis Review for the next story: "The Return of Maggie Beckett"

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