Heavy Metal

Season 5
DVD Box Set
Region 1 NTSC

Season 5
DVD Box Set
Region 2 PAL
(Sliders Story No. 82, starring Robert Floyd)
  • written by Chris Black
  • directed by Guy Magar
  • music by Danny Lux
  • produced by Paul Cajero
  • Production # E0814
Story: Finding themselves at sea, the Sliders are rescued by a cargo ship that is taking them to Hawaii... Can they dare attempt to open the vortex outside their 400 mile sliding radius? Will they be able to defeat the attacking pirates and find a way back towards the mainland? Will the pirate leader cause Maggie to lose her sense of judgment? And what is the secret of the metal here that could change this world's economy overnight?

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.

Okay, this is not a great episode by any stretch of the imagination, but it remains entertaining due to many nifty little tidbits sprinkled throughout, not least of which is the sense that the stories are now starting to build towards something big for the season finale.

The most interesting aspect of this story is probably its discussion about geography and its relation to the sliding radius. We rarely get into this subject on this show, even though it seems like it should be essential information.... Season two's "As Time Goes By", season three's "Slither" and season five's "Strangers and Comrades" are the only other stories that have brought challenges to the radius, and none are as direct and well-utilized as what we get here. Of course, the story that redefined the radius for the modern stories was the classic season three opener "Double Cross", and it seems here that Rembrandt barely caught the gist of the theory discussed then and doesn't remember it very well. Where is old Quinn when we need him? Plus, how much of that theory no longer applies after the switch from Quinn's original timer to the one adopted in "Slide Like an Egyptian"?

The geographical radius questions are enhanced production-wise by a lengthy and satisfying shoot on an actual cargo-vessel, which is frankly quite cool. When later sections discuss trips in pirate boats that we never see, the audience still easily buys it thanks to residual memory of the opening sequences.

The story is fairly well balanced between all four Sliders acting as a team as it starts out, but Maggie very gradually and organically emerges to become the central protagonist here. Hmmm, has Chris Black ever written a Sliders script solo that didn't center on Maggie?

The emerging plot has some interesting philosophical territory to it, namely whether or not to trust someone who seems to be the bad guy, or perhaps more interestingly whether our regular characters should place self-interest in their own long-term goals ahead of helping others who are in more immediate need.

But when it all boils down to the locals and their situation, it just isn't very inspiring. I'm not into the pirate-people, I don't really want to spend time in their town on the backlot or the cheap and cheesy sets we see them in, their causes and emotional struggles aren't really a draw for my investment. Specifically, the conflict between the pirate and Marshall Teague's one-note antagonist character is quite dull, and seeing Maggie fall for the pirate dude feels icky. An interesting question here might be whether or not this means she's given up on re-splitting Mallory and getting her old Quinn back - and the story ignores the opportunity to discuss it. It all becomes a bit ho-hum in the end. I much prefer Teague's performance in season four's "Way Out West", which added many good laughs to his menace.

I do like this episode's departure scene though, and this episode totally gets away with not showing the vortex at any point... something that might have made the departures of "Easy Slider" a bit less dull.

Keith Damron's Year 5 blog entry for this episode has an absolutely fascinating second paragraph, detailing how he and Chris Black and Bill Dial would discuss how decisions spawn countless new alternate universes that the Sliders could explore, and exactly how all that worked. That's the kind of discussion that deserves to end up on screen in the show, yet it's been a long time since anything so fascinating has. Too bad most episodes waste their time with filler and fail to actually have significant impact on our regulars' journey.

Well, the best bits of this episode may just be the geographical bits, and the lingering question of whether or not the timer is breaking down or being interfered with, which leads brilliantly into the next story......

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: "To Catch A Slider"

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