'Sliders' Slips Fun Into Time-Travel Formula
March 22, 1995
USA Today
By Matt Roush

To slide; perchance, to go "Whee!" A jaunty fantasy that's fit for family consumption, Sliders promises a fun ride, so long as nobody expects the destination to be very profound.

Don't confuse Sliders' frantic antics with everyday time travel. And don't be fuddled by the physics-class jabber of a "multidimensional space-time continuum." All you need to know is that beefy brainiac Jerry O'Connell has created a gateway in his San Francisco basement to an infinite number of parallel Earths.

Slide through his kaleidoscopic wormhole, and you never know where you'll pop out. Things might look and sound the same, but something's always entertainingly askew. Red lights mean "go." Immigrants flood into Mexico. Elvis lives. The Cold War went the other way. In short: "Same planet, different dimension."

In the familiar genre tradition of Quantum Leap and Star Trek: Voyager, all the heroes want is to get back home, to the real Earth. If Fox lets them, that could take years - years of topsy-turvy misadventures executed with a puckish lack of pretension. That contrasts with the self-important weekly headache of VR 5.

In tonight's two-hour pilot, much of the story is a rescue plot set in a Soviet-run USA, where The People's Court is overseen by "Commissar" Wapner and PBS fund-raising can get sinister: "Pledge, or else. We know who you are."

Cute, until the action intensifies into clumsy carnage. O'Connell, unrecognizable from the pint-size pudge of Stand by Me, is among Fox's more affable heartthrobs, matched nicely by Sabrina Lloyd as his best pal, who harbors a crush.

Less agreeable are the stock supporting characters, broadly played: John Rhys-Davies as a pompous prof and Cleavant Derricks as an R&B singer who lives up to his "Crying Man" nickname. They will either tickle or irritate you.

As for Sliders: If you're game, it will transport you.

1995, USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co., Inc. ut32295


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