Series: Sliders

The cast members of seasons one and two, looking at something awful happening off-camera.

"What if you could find brand-new worlds, right here on Earth, where anything is possible? Same planet, different dimension. I've found the gateway."
Quinn Mallory, Opening Narration

"I've been sliding through an inter-dimensional wormhole seeing how many different ways people like you can screw up civilization!"
Quinn Mallory, to a government scientist, "Fever"

Sliders (1995-2000) is a Science Fiction show about four people who try out a device for traveling to Alternate Universes, then get lost and spend the remainder of the series trying to get back to their world of origin.

It started out as an extremely fun Adventure Series revolving around the "What If...?" scenarios offered by alternate worlds ("What if the US lost World War II? What if dinosaurs didn't go extinct? What if you were born the opposite sex?" etc.), but when Fox executives took over, putting in their own man and reducing the original producers to "executive consultant" level (and apparently not consulting them much), the series steadily self-destructed, most of its episodes being ripoffs of movies that were popular at the time, and becoming dark and mean-spirited, dumping most of the characters (via death or worse) and developing a Myth Arc about a race of killer-ape-descended villains called Kromaggs which eventually took over the show. The first and second seasons are generally considered the series' best, with the middle of the third season marking the start of the Executive Meddling described above, which led to the series' decline.

The surprisingly competent final episode ended with a Cliff Hanger meant to try and push Sci Fi Channel into giving them a sixth season; it had been clear from the start of production on Season 5 that Sci Fi intended to cancel it, having picked it up to get its viewers to watch their new shows. The attempt failed; Season 5's ratings actually were good enough that it normally would've been renewed, but Sci Fi had committed to other shows already.

Over the years, the series has been slowly released on DVD. Season 5 was finally released January 2012. All five seasons are currently on Netflix.

Trope-based episodes:

  • Above the Influence: In "Love Gods," a man is hiding from a country of beautiful women wanting him to impregnate them because he wants only his not-pretty-enough, not-young-enough partner. Awww.
  • Apocalypse Anarchy: This is the story of several episodes, particularly "Last Days" and "The Exodus, Part 1," in which the end is near and society has degenerated in this way.
  • Adventure Towns: Actually, it's (almost) always the same city (San Francisco), but due to our heroes travelling from one reality to another, they find themselves in a different situation each episode.
  • Alternate History Wank: Several episodes dealt with other countries becoming major world powers.
    • The second part of the pilot had Russia as the dominant world power after capitalism fell.
    • "The Prince of Wails" had the American Revolution fail, and America wound up as a part of the VERY large British Empire.
    • Season 2's "Love Gods" featured an alternate Earth where Saddam Hussein used a bio-weapon that attacked the Y chromosome, wiping out much of the male population on that Earth. Because they were furthest from the epicenter and least affected, Australia became the dominant world power on that Earth.
  • Big "NO!": Wade at the end of "The Luck of the Draw," upon discovering that Quinn got shot in the back right before jumping through the wormhole.
  • Blood Sport / Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: "Rules of the Game"
  • Bounty Hunter: "Into the Mystic"
  • Boxing Lesson: "The Guardian"
  • Brass Balls: "The Exodus, Part 1." Quinn remarks to Maggie that he could hear her "brass balls" clink.
  • By the Eyes of the Blind: "Gillian of the Spirits"
  • Chemical Messiah:
    • In "Fever," the gang visits an alternate Earth decimated by a plague. Eventually they realize that antibiotics were never discovered in this timeline, so Arturo creates penicillin, which becomes the Chemical Messiah for this world.
    • In "New Gods for Old," nanite-tainted water absorbs people into a Hive Mind.
  • Christmas Episode / Company Town: "Season's Greedings"
  • Contemplating Your Hands: Colin in "Just Say Yes" after being dosed with drugs.
  • Corrupt Church: "Prophets and Loss"
  • Determined Homesteader: "Way Out West"
  • Digital Head Swap: In "Dead Man Sliding," on a world where criminals are tried and executed live on television, a corrupt TV host killed someone on-camera and then framed that world's Quinn by editing his head onto his own body.
  • Driven to Suicide: "The Chasm"
  • Elvis Lives:
    • The first alternate Earth experienced by Quinn is a Bizarro Universe in which Elvis is still alive.
    • In "The King is Back," on an Earth where Rembrandt Brown was a hugely successful singer who died young, Rembrandt Prime decides to "come out of hiding" and take over where he left off. But then the "real" Rembrandt decides to really come out of his self-imposed exile, taking over from Rembrandt Prime at his comeback concert and declaring Rembrandt Prime "the greatest Rembrandt Brown impersonator in the world."
  • E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: In "The Return of Maggie Beckett," the Roswell crash did happen, but instead of being covered up, a trade agreement was struck. The Greys gave Earth new technologies, allowing for significant advances; this included DNA advances, allowing for a Half-Human Hybrid to appear.
  • Fake Shemp: The shots from above during the fifth season premiere "The Unstuck Man," after Jerry O'Connell left the show.
  • Final Solution: "Prophets and Loss"
  • Find the Cure: "Fever"
  • Flatline Plotline: "Slide Like an Egyptian"
  • Floating Continent: "Season's Greedings"
  • Future Imperfect: "Dust"
  • Gendercide: "Love Gods"
  • Gender Rarity Value: "Love Gods" again.
  • Grand Theft Me: "Dragonslide" had an evil wizard pull this on Quinn.
  • Haunted House: "The Alternateville Horror"
  • I Hate Past Me / My Future Self and Me: "The Guardian." While not outright time-traveling, the Sliders travel to a world over a decade behind theirs. Quinn encounters his past self shortly after the death of his father, and struggles to help his younger double learn to defend himself against a bully rather than lash out in anger like he himself did.
  • Invaded States of America: The second part of the pilot episode showed a Soviet-occupied United States.
  • Invisible Main Character: "Gillian of the Spirits"
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: "The Dream Masters" (which, incidentally, is the only episode with no sliding).
  • Just Before the End / Screw the Rules, It's the Apocalypse!: "Last Days," "The Exodus, Part 1."
  • Kangaroo Court:
    • In "The Young and the Relentless," Arturo uses the expression "kangaroo court" to describe his treatment on an Earth where everyone over 30 is subject to a nightly curfew.
    • In "Dead Man Sliding," the Sliders end up in a world where the justice system has become a Game Show and lawyers are banned. When Arturo tries to object to this attitude that Quinn may as well be convicted, the host warns him not to try any other "lawyer tricks."
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: "Virtual Slide"
  • Lady Land: "The Weaker Sex," "Love Gods"
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: "Gillian of the Spirits"
  • Lottery Of Doom: "Luck of the Draw"
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: "Virtual Slide," "The Chasm."
  • Love Potion: In "Dragonslide," Rembrandt attempts to use this on a world of magic to make a double of an old love fall for him. Instead, it makes him fall in love with Wade.
  • Lottery Of Doom: "Luck of the Draw"
  • Nanomachines: "New Gods for Old"
  • Never Sleep Again: "The Dream Masters" depicts a world ruled by a sinister cabal that can kill people in their dreams.
  • New Old West: "The Good, the Bad and the Wealthy"
  • Richard Nixon the Used Car Salesman: In "Stoker," which takes place in a world where vampires are real, Richard Nixon is said to be the worst vampire of them all, equivalent to the legend of Dracula on Earth Prime, only real.
  • Sand Worm: "Paradise Lost" featured one that produced a substance that enabled the residents of a small town to retain their youth.
  • Science Is Bad: The world in "Gillian of the Spirits" came to that conclusion after Hiroshima, resulting in government-enforced stagnation. That universe's Quinn died of polio as a result of this.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex: One appears in "Dinoslide."
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: In "A Thousand Deaths," the team arrives on a world with very advanced, holodeck-like video games. Rembrandt and Mallory play to win, but lose interest when they find all the other players are just interested in killing the VR characters. It gets worse when they discover that the designers replicated human reaction by integrating (unwilling) human hosts, like Maggie and Diana, into the games. Each VR death is very real and a host can be used a thousand times.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome," "The Last of Eden."
    • The latter wasn't intended as a flashback episode. Because Fox mistakenly scheduled it after "The Exodus, Part 2" in which Arturo is killed, they had Universal film a brief prologue with Wade and Rembrandt in which it's established that Wade's bothered by memories of the events of "The Last of Eden."

This series provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: With maybe one or two exceptions, none of the multi-episode arcs this show started were ever resolved.
  • Action Girl: Maggie, former soldier.
  • Alliterative Name: Wade Wells and Diana Davis.
  • Alternate History: Most of the worlds visited fall into this category.
  • Alternate Universe: To both its fans and its critics, the series is the most extensive exploration of this trope on American TV.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Kromaggs. There were a few exceptions, like Kromanus, the disgraced Kromagg leader who was in charge of the human atomizer thing in "Common Ground."
  • Amazing Freaking Grace: The end of the pilot, sung by Rembrandt.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • The altered "Eddies" in the fourth season episode "California Reich."
    • In "A Thousand Deaths," the human hosts used to drive the simulations. They can die up to a thousand times in the games, and they're fully aware of what is happening to them.
  • And Starring: John Rhys-Davies as Arturo.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    • In "The Alternateville Horror," Colin claims to have seen a ghost, but is laughed off by the others for even thinking such a thing. They are no ghosts; just doubles of the Sliders trapped on another dimensional plane as a result of a sliding mishap. Aside from the many strange things they've seen in their journeys, this is particularly ridiculous when you consider that Quinn himself was rendered ghost-like in Season 2's "Gillian of the Spirits" and could only be seen by one person. Considering that, Quinn and Rembrandt should've been more receptive to what Colin was talking about.
    • Arturo seemed to run on this trope. Being a college professor, he was always intent on suggesting a simple, logical explanation to strange incidents.
    • Played with in "The Other Slide of Darkness," where both Rembrandt and Maggie express disbelief in the superstitious beliefs expressed by the locals. Rembrandt's disbelief stems from a personal tragedy; Maggie's, however, is played straight, which gets her snapped at by the more experienced Wade.
    • Lampshaded by Rembrandt in Season 5's "Please Press One":
      "Sliders Rule #11: Never rule out the obvious, no matter how weird."
  • Baby Factory: On some worlds, women (or men) are forced into this trope due to population problems.
  • Better Than Sex: In the first episode, Wade claimed that sliding is better than sex.
    Arturo: Well, I wouldn't go that far.
  • Big Bad: Rickman in Season 3, the Kromaggs in the fourth and fifth seasons.
  • Blatant Lies: "We're from Canada."
  • Book Ends: In "The Exodus, Part 2," Rickman makes his first escape from our heroes with Quinn running after him, but the vortex vanishes before he gets there. In "This Slide of Paradise" it's Rickman who tries and fails to get to a vortex before it vanishes. Unfortunately for him, it happens to be on the edge of a cliff...
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Quinn. Hence the reason why Arturo is initially so pissed to discover the genius who invented wormhole travel, is the same slacker who never bothers to hand his homework assignments in on time!
  • California Collapse: In the Season 3 finale "This Slide of Paradise," they slide to a world where California has broken up into islands.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Season 3's "The Other Slide of Darkness" stated that Quinn's double from the first episode gave the Kromaggs the sliding equation and is responsible for the Dynasty's activities. Season 4 onward ignored this development, which some felt didn't fit into established continuity in the first place.
  • Captain's Log: Wade's diary, Quinn's videotapes.
  • The Cast Showoff: Cleavant Derricks has a beautiful singing voice, which is showcased in several episodes. Justified, in that Rembrandt was a professional musician on Earth Prime.
    • This was used to expose Rembrandt as a fraud in "The Prince of Slides," where an alternate version of Rembrandt was royalty and tone-deaf.
  • Celebrity Paradox: On the episode "Data World," Rembrandt said "What is this, Film/Scream3?" Guess which one of his co-stars got killed (in-character) in Film/Scream2?
  • Dead Guy Junior: If dialogue that implies Maggie Beckett is Sam Beckett's niece is taken seriously, this makes her a Dead Guy Junior. Maggie was the name of a news reporter who died on a mission in Vietnam while working with Sam's brother Tom.
  • Disney Villain Death: In the Season 3 finale, Rickman dives head-first off a cliff in a failed attempt to follow Rembrandt and Wade through a wormhole.
  • Downer Ending:
    • "The Breeder," which has Dr. Sylvius being overtaken by the symbiote creature. As they have no time, the Sliders choose to slide out with a weakened Maggie rather than try to help the doctor. With the Sliders gone and the doctor overtaken, the symbiote is free to continue its goals unimpeded.
    • "The Dying Fields": The sympathetic Humagg soldier is murdered by her lover for betraying the Kromaggs. Worse, the Sliders aren't able to save the remaining human captives and the camp stays open, meaning business will continue as usual.
    • "Applied Physics": Diana attempts to make her double's life better with Dr. Geiger's help but, among other changes, she winds up erasing her double's daughter from existence. The team has to slide before she can set things right.
    • "Strangers and Comrades": Rembrandt learns the quest to find Michael Mallory's anti-Kromagg weapon was all for nothing. Turns out the weapon trashed Kromagg Prime's environment a month after it was used, and it would do the same to Earth Prime. Rembrandt is left lamenting that he's run out of chances.
  • Evil Counterpart: Rickman in Season 3.
  • Evil Twin: Numerous evil doubles. For some reason, Arturo's doubles were almost always bad news.
  • Eye Scream: Kromaggs really love human eyeballs.
  • Fakeout Escape: Attempted unsuccessfully in the Western-themed episode "Way Out West." It turns out that Kromaggs have their own westerns.
  • Fanservice: Quinn. Season 3's "Electric Twister Acid Test" features an interrogation in which Quinn has his shirt off for no reason.
  • Final Season Casting: While the show had already substituted two characters by that point, it lost half of its main cast including the main protagonist between Seasons 4 and 5.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Quinn is sanguine, Arturo is choleric, Rembrandt is melancholic, and Wade is phlegmatic.
  • Gave Up Too Soon: In the episode "Into the Mystic," the characters only have a few seconds to decide whether or not to stay on the latest parallel Earth they've landed on. To see if it's their home or not, Quinn tries a fence, knowing it is always squeaky (something he does in the pilot), and it doesn't squeak. After they leave, a gardener with an oil can comes into view.
    • In their defense, didn't they also see a newspaper headline about a sports team winning a championship; a team which in reality had moved to a new city since the start of the series or was that a different episode?
      • And since they had been gone, O.J. Simpson had been arrested and was still on trial, they had trouble believing that the world could have changed so much in just two years.
  • Giant Spider:
    • In the episode "Summer of Love," the Sliders first land on a world where the United States has been mostly devastated by these. A mix of a spider and wasp (yes, flying spiders the size of your head), they were genetically engineered for pest control—namely the actual killer bees... And ironically enough, a few queens escaped from the labs and suddenly the cure became a lot worse than the plague.
    • In "Rules of the Game," one of the death traps sees Rembrandt stuck to a metal web and being threatened by three robotic spiders.
  • Girls with Moustaches: In "Time and Again World," the Sliders travel to a world where women have mustaches. Rembrandt complains about how it feels to kiss a woman with a mustache and Wade comments that now he knows how women feel.
  • Glory Days: Rembrandt used to be a singer in a Motown band, who dumped him once they got famous. He's in the middle of staging his "big comeback" when he gets accidentally sucked into a wormhole along with the rest of the team. For the first season, he refers to himself as "The Crying Man," a nickname he acquired from his one hit song, though this becomes less and less relevant as the show goes on due to Character Development.
  • Government Drug Enforcement: In "Just Say Yes," in one of the Planet of Hats worlds they visit, Sigmund Freud accidentally discovered the pharmaceutical properties of lithium, which he so enjoyed that he became a biochemist instead of a psychologist. As a result, the government mandates psychotropic drug use by everyone, and the alternate Quinn is a leader of an anti-drug resistance.
  • Half-Human Hybrids: The Humaggs in "The Dying Fields."
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Arturo in "The Exodus, Part 2" (a very debatable one given the circumstances), Wade in "Requiem."
  • Hidden Depths: Arturo, Rembrandt, Conrad Bennish Jr., Maggie.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Quinn
  • Homemade Inventions: The timer Quinn created.
  • The Homeward Journey: The show's premise.
  • Humans Are Ugly: Or so the Kromaggs think.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • In "The Exodus," the conflict over using that world's timer to reach their home coordinates at the expense of that world is quite silly. At the very least, Quinn could have sent everyone but himself home with a literal push of a button, yet they keep acting like it's an all-or-none deal. Note that Quinn would end up doing exactly this in the season finale.
    • Every time Quinn gets access to his double's workshop or even a full laboratory. Quinn built the original timer in his basement out of a cell phone and over-the-counter equipment, so there is no reason he couldn't build a functional duplicate given just a few days (and has had several such opportunities). This would not only allow them to choose their slide window instead of the Race Against the Clock necessitated by the broke one, but in later episodes would have allowed them to slide home immediately. And to top it off, they leave their original timer (with their definite home coordinates) when it runs out.
      • Especially bad at the start of Season 2, where they meet Quinn's double who actually has created sliding technology and has quite a great deal of experience with it, but they leave almost immediately after meeting him. Worse in the fact that he actually did get them home if they hadn't decided to give up so quickly.
    • Stemming from the above, the notion that missing the sliding window renders them stuck for 29 years is ridiculous (except in Season 5, when they definitely cannot reproduce the tech). Quinn made the original timer. As long as they wound up on a world that progressed at the same relative pace as theirs, Quinn should have no trouble making a new timer and continuing on. One episode used this as a plot point to get Maggie to divulge the secret to sliding, and "Slide Like An Egyptian" has them use the Egyptian Timer once their original one fails.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine:
    • Jason Gaffney (Bennish) is a good friend of Tracy Tormé's.
    • Jerry's Stand by Me co-star Corey Feldman appears as Reed in "Electric Twister Acid Test." In a Shout-Out, Quinn and Reed even perform a handshake from the movie, apparently at the actors' suggestion.
  • Left Hanging: In addition to the main plot, many of the episodes use this intentionally—episodes tend to end with the group taking the next slide without the situation on the world they left being resolved. A great deal of the time the idea is that the future is uncertain...but hopefully better.
  • Making Use of the Twin: In real life, Cleavant's brother Clinton was used in "The King is Back," "Greatfellas," and "The Prince of Slides" to play an alternate Rembrandt.
  • Manchurian Agent: Rembrandt in "Slidecage."
  • Manly Tears: Rembrandt takes pride in his ability to cry on command.
  • Mars Needs Women: The Kromaggs.
  • Matriarchy: One universe, as a Patriarchy Flip.
  • Misblamed: While there's a lot to blame producer David Peckinpah for, the trend of movie rip-offs in Season 3 isn't one of them. The real culprits were the FOX executives that he answered to.
  • Mr. Seahorse: Rembrandt in "The Prince of Slides."
  • Motorcycle Jousting: An episode features this as part of a parallel universe that seems heavily inspired by Mad Max.
  • Myth Arc: Pursuing Rickman in the latter part of Season 3, and the fight against the Kromaggs in Seasons 4 and 5.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Kromagg military culture resembles this, right down to their uniforms.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In "Last Days," the characters arrive in a world that's threatened by an asteroid, and which doesn't have nuclear capabilities. By the end of the episode, thanks to them, it does... and it's not shown to be a good thing. At all.
  • Noodle Incident: The characters frequently mention worlds they've slid to that are never shown (for example, the world where everyone was naked, which we only saw their arrival: "So do you think that we're home?" "Ah, I don't think so, Rembrandt. I'm pretty sure on our Earth, the mailmen wear clothes.")
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Rickman, the highest-ranking Englishman in the US army.
  • No-One Could Have Survived That: "Summer of Love" ends with them arriving a world, only to notice the 100ft tsunami rapidly approaching San Francisco. The next (intended) episode is "The Prince of Wails," which began with the group stranded on top of a large skyscraper surrounded by flood waters and giant sharks, with little explanation how they managed to get there in time.
  • Not So Different: In "The Other Slide of Darkness," Quinn encounters his double from the first episode. A much more bitter and amoral person than before, Quinn's double invokes this trope.
    Alternate Quinn: Strip your friends away, slide alone like I have—you'd be just like me. Here I am, the undeniably horrible, the unimaginably disgusting proof that I'm you without your friends.
  • The Nth Doctor: Mallory replacing Quinn.
  • Opening Narration: The network agreed that explaining the weird concept of Alternate Universes to new viewers at the beginning of each show was pretty important.
  • Our Wormholes Are Different: In order to generate a wormhole, you would have to convert the entire mass of the planet Jupiter into energy. It's hard to do that with a TV remotenote , a cell phone note , or a Sega Genesis controllernote .
    • But it's a really small wormhole. And maybe he stole plutonium from the Libyans.
      • Good news! The same theorists that came up with the "mass of Jupiter" equation have also postulated how much power it would take if you used Dark Energy as the source of negative pressure. Being a much more abundant energy source, you would now require the "mere" output of several megaton nuclear warheads to get a decent-size hole in the universe going.
  • Out of Order: The first few episodes were clearly linked, with "Summer of Love" meant to follow the premiere and then "Prince of Wails" up next. Despite the linking scenes remaining intact, the order was altered to bump up "Fever" and "Last Days." Tormé has stated that he agreed with this, however, feeling the latter episodes were better offerings. (Note that reruns tend to air in production order, making this rather moot.)
  • Pet's Homage Name: In the first episode, Quinn mentions his cat named "Schrödinger."
  • Picky People Eater: Rickman
  • Planet of Hats: Many of the universes visited have some schtick that sets them apart from the Prime universe, either culturally or technologically.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Rembrandt with first Wade and later Maggie.
  • Politicians Kiss Babies: In "The Weaker Sex," where Arturo runs for Mayor of San Francisco, he screws this up by chasing after a woman shouting "Madam, I need to kiss your baby!"
  • Pre Crime Arrest: In "Obsession," the main characters travel to a world where ten percent of the population have psychic powers. Among the various powers is precognition.
    • A bit of research into the history of this world reveals that psychics became popular when one warned Abraham Lincoln about his impending assassination, allowing Booth to be captured before the attempt.
    • The Police Oracle identifies Arturo and Rembrandt as people who will kill Wade, so the police make a Preventative Arrest. A Bewildering Punishment to all four at first. Basically, they're taken to the station, booked, and then released. If someone were to actually commit the crime, the police would have to chase them down, but otherwise the two are free to do whatever they want. This is all a Batman Gambit by the old Prime Oracle to make sure his successor is a compassionate man in addition to already being a powerful one.
  • Priceless Ming Vase: In the end of In Dino Veritas, we cut away to the new world the Sliders are about to land on, and see an archaeologist at a dig site, looking all excited about "the best-preserved Allosaurus skeleton I've ever seen." It's not hard to guess what happens next...
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: According to Tracy Torme, this was what happened to Arturo, rather than being McLeaned. In "Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome," on a world almost exactly like Earth Prime, Arturo and his less-ethical double have a fight as the wormhole opens and only one makes it through. Fans debated heavily over which Arturo slid, until Torme finally confirmed in 2009 that it was the alternate Arturo who managed to slide out. This means the real Arturo is trapped on a world not his own and separated from his friends but likely still alive, unlike the alternate one who ended up taking a bullet for Quinn.
    • Later, Colin became "unstuck," meaning that he would involuntarily travel from one dimension to the next for the rest of his life. Dr. Geiger (a character who has experienced this before but found an "anchor") has compared this experience to being caught in a violent storm.
    • Finally, Logan St. Clair, Quinn's Evil Half Identical Twin from another world, who was pushed into an unstable portal and never seen again. This is actually a Double Subversion, as she was intended to become a recurring villain, but like so many other story ideas, it was simply dropped and we never heard from her again.
  • Random Transportation: The Sliders have no control over where the Timer takes them. It gets upgraded to let them revisit worlds and track other sliders, but also gets downgraded to increase the working radius and widen the range of places they can slide to.
  • Recurring Extra: Alternates of various folks would sometimes crop on different worlds.
  • Recycled In Space: One of the most persistent complaints of Season 3. The vast majority of the episodes ripped off a number of movies, including Tremors, Twister, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Species, Anaconda, and The Island of Doctor Moreau.
  • Recycled Set:
    • A common complaint of later seasons, as diminishing budgets meant heavily re-using the standing sets (such as the Chandler Hotel).
    • "Slidecage" re-uses the futuristic standing sets from the short-lived Timecop TV series, which had been cancelled shortly into Season 4's filming. Writer Marc Scott Zicree has stated he wrote the episode to make use of the great sets that were going to be torn down.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Justified this time, as the Kromaggs are supposed to share recent common ancestors with normal human beings.
    • Also the Humaggs in Season 4's "The Dying Fields."
  • Running Gag: Rembrandt coming out of the vortex and crashing into Arturo.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!: This is pretty much the Sliders' philosophy when it comes to running afoul of a bizarre rule or circumstance they had no way of knowing about. After all, it's hard for police or debt collectors to pursue you when you can jump from one Earth to another.
    • Episodes featuring worlds where some of the inhabitants have supernatural powers will invariably have at least one person who thinks this way.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Smart Guy: Arturo. Quinn has his moments as well. Not surprising, considering the former is a lecturer in advanced physics and the latter is his grad student.
  • Smart People Know Latin: In "Eggheads," the protagonists end up in a world where being smart and well-educated is cool (they pass a punk on the street with a boombox blasting classical music). The episode's Big Bad is a mobster who constantly likes to quote phrases in Latin and gets annoyed when the others have no idea what he said. At the end of the episode, right before sliding, Quinn turns around and spouts a phrase in Latin, which turns out to be an insult.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: The last line of the series.
  • Spiritual Successor: Sliders is this to Quantum Leap. The shows share a similar episode formula, Sliders was advertised at least once as "Quantum Leap with an edge," and dialogue in a later episode implies that Maggie Beckett may be Sam Beckett's niece.
  • Springtime for Hitler: In "The Weaker Sex," Arturo tries to throw an election by weeping in front of the camera, but it backfires and his approval ratings go up.
  • Stargate City: Seasons 1 and 2 are filmed in Vancouver. Standing in for San Francisco.
  • Teen Genius: Quinn
  • This Is Reality: During "To Catch a Slider," as Rembrandt points out the dangers of robbing a jewelry store.
    Rembrandt: This is not a movie. As strange as it is, this is our lives.
  • Tim Taylor Technology: "MORE POWER, MR. MALLORY!"
  • Time Paradox: In one universe, time flows backwards. The Sliders still go forwards in time, however, and Quinn ends up stopping something that put him in jail, after he started out there. The result is...not pretty.
  • The Unreveal: At the end of "Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome," it's never made clear which Arturo actually slid with them.
    • Tracy Tormé finally revealed in 2009 that it was the wrong Arturo. It still leaves open the question of why did the wrong one still ended up sacrificing himself for Quinn in "The Exodus, Part 2."
  • Unpredictable Results: Their own "sliding" device. About the only thing consistent is that it drops them in a location somewhere close to the entrance point between the two dimensions they travel between. Later seasons gave them the ability to at least control when they are going to travel and which dimension they are going to. But since they don't know their home destination, they still have to travel to different dimensions sequentially to find it.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Happens in "To Catch a Slider," where Mallory expresses interest in an actress who turns out to be a man. It's somewhat subverted in that this was public knowledge. It's just that none of the Sliders could've possibly known because they had just recently arrived.
  • Viewers Are Morons: Suffice to say, with all the Executive Meddling this show suffered, this trope cropped up. In "Slither," for example, snakes somehow knock down a door. This was so idiotic that Cleavant Derricks said he interrupted a script reading to ask how such an action was even remotely possible and a producer responded that the snakes possessed some kind of force, much to Derricks' irritation.
  • Walking the Earth: Plural, in this case.
  • Wasteland Elder: They ran into quite a few, and every so often an alternate of the main cast would be a local leader.
  • Wham Episode: "Genesis." The Kromaggs have conquered Earth Prime, Rembrandt has been their prisoner for months, Wade is missing, Quinn learns of his secret past (including a long lost brother), and the Sliders have a new goal of searching for an anti-Kromagg weapon.
  • Wham Line:
    • From "Invasion":
    Quinn: Wade, the Kromaggs—they're Sliders!
    • "Double Cross":
      Logan: (to Quinn) You're my double.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Rembrandt
  • Whole Plot Reference:
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: In "Into the Mystic," the Sliders have a chance to go home, think they failed and leave—only for viewers to then see they actually were home. "Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome" also involves a great deal of this trope, with the Sliders landing on a near-perfect copy of Earth Prime.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Subverted when they actually make it back to their home Earth, but only have a few seconds to decide to stay or not. They leave after Quinn tries a fence, knowing it is always squeaky, and it doesn't squeak. After they leave, you see a gardener with an oil can.
    • They make it home again in "Genesis," but with the world conquered by the Kromaggs, they leave to find a weapon to defeat them.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: "The Dream Masters." Said group is able to enter other people's dreams and twist them into whatever horrifying nightmares they can think of. After Wade falls victim to them, the other Sliders manage to find a way to enter the dream and pull similar tricks to their advantage. After all, it's just a dream.
    Rembrandt: I wish I had my gun right now. (shotgun suddenly appears in his hand)