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Recap / Sliders S 01 E 01 E 02 Pilot

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Originally aired March 22, 1995

Teleplay by Tracy Torme & Robert K. Weiss

Story by Tracy Torme

Directed by Andy Tennant

Physics student Quinn Mallory accidentally unlocks the gateway to parallel universes. He invites his physics professor Maximillian Arturo and his friend Wade Wells along for a ride. An accident sends the three of them, along with rebounding singer Rembrandt Brown, to an alternate Earth that's in the middle of an ice age. Another mishap results in our heroes landing on a world where Russia rules America.

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Tropes present in the episode:

  • Allohistorical Allusion: In one of the worlds visited by Quinn's double, the Chicago Cubs had won three consecutive World Series by 1994.
  • Alternate History: The point of divergence on Soviet World is that America lost the Korean War, which started the domino effect until finally the American economy collapsed and the country was annexed by the Soviets. The novelization adds information revealing that the changes went back further, at least to World War II. (Franklin D. Roosevelt surviving his fourth term, for example.)
  • Amazing Freaking Grace: The first of many uses of Cleavant Derricks's beautiful singing voice.
  • Ambulance Chaser: Ross J. Kelly on Earth Prime.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • When he sees the statue of Lenin, Arturo gives his name as "Nikolai Ilyich Ulyanov Lenin." Lenin's first name was "Vladimir." In addition, his birth name was "Ulyanov" while "Lenin" was an alias. Both would not be used in giving his full name.
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    • When Rembrandt is sworn in during the trial at The People's Court, the oath still ends with "so help me God." The Soviet Union was officially an atheistic society, so the use of God during legal proceedings is very unlikely.
  • As Himself: Judge Joseph Wapner appears as himself during Rembrandt's trial on Soviet World.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The Russian in this episode (notably Pavel Kurlienko's lines) is pretty much this. Surprisingly, the French dub replaced all pseudo-Russian lines with lines in actual (almost flawless) Russian, as well as fixed the aforementioned issue with Lenin's first name.
  • Bizarro Universe: Quinn's first slide. Americans are emigrating to Mexico, Earth is going through global cooling, John F. Kennedy is still president, and Elvis Presley is still alive (as well as Marilyn Monroe)!
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  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Quinn shows shades of this. He's focused on his experiments than schoolwork and reads unassigned papers because they interest him, but he passes up the chance to correctly answer Arturo's question during class.
  • The Cameo: Harry Shearer is the voice of the Shock Jock Spaceman.
  • Crazy Homeless People: Crazy Kenny, a homeless man who spends his days in the park spouting communist ideals. In Soviet World, unsurprisingly, he is running for office.
  • Dead Alternate Counterpart:
    • In Soviet World, Rembrandt's double was killed in the Detroit Uprising in 1982. Wade's double, a leader of the resistance, is later killed.
    • The trope is also inverted with the very much alive double of Quinn's father in the final scene.
  • Deadpan Snarker: While wandering around Soviet-occupied San Francisco, Arturo decides it's time to get something to eat.
    Arturo: Anyone fancy a kielbasa?
    Quinn: Professor, how could you eat at a time like this?
    Arturo: My stomach has no political preferences.
  • A Dog Ate My Homework: Arturo initially scoffs at Quinn's discovery, and expects his next excuse will be that his dog ate his homework. Quinn opens the wormhole, and casually remarks that he doesn't have a dog.
  • Dramatic Shattering: Quinn drops his glass at the end after his father, who's been dead for years on Earth Prime, walks into the house.
  • Endless Winter: Tundra World, the first world that the sliders visit, is a frigid wasteland. Arturo speculates it was caused by either nuclear war or an ecological disaster.
  • His Name Is...: Quinn's double is barely able to tell him not to alter the timer during a slide, but doesn't explain what will happen if he does.
  • Heroic Vow: "Trust me. I'm gonna get you home."
  • Invaded States of America: On Soviet World, the US has been occupied by the Soviet Union for decades.
  • Ironic Echo: Over the possibility of them kissing, Quinn says he and Wade are buds. Later, when Quinn asks what she was doing with Wilkins, she gladly repeats the line to him.
  • Just Think of the Potential: Spoken word-for-word by Quinn to Arturo.
    Quinn: There's bound to be worlds where they've outlawed war or cured cancer.
    Arturo: And worlds where they've perfected war and developed new cancers.
  • Kangaroo Court: Rembrandt is quickly sentenced in a televised show trial of the People's Court, which is quite literally The People's Court.
  • Kissing the Ground: Unintentional interdimensional traveler Rembrandt kisses the ground when he thinks they've made it back to Earth Prime. Unfortunately, of course, he is wrong.
  • La Résistance: On Soviet World, Wade's double is the leader of the American resistance.
  • Mean Boss: Mr. Hurley, Quinn and Wade's arrogant boss at the computer store. Quinn's double remarks that Hurley's a jerk on every other parallel world.
  • Mr. Exposition: Quinn's double, who lays out the nature and rules of sliding to Quinn.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Wade attempts to call home, but is unable to provide a PT&T ID code and is told she will be arrested. She goes to tell Quinn, but he thinks she's trying to say they didn't make it home, which he and Arturo already know.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Played for Laughs when Arturo sees the solved equation.
    • Ross J. Kelly in Soviet World. He is interrogating Rembrandt when Rembrandt recognizes him from the ambulance chaser commercial in Earth Prime when, being a KGB interrogator, his identity should be secret.
    • Quinn when he thinks Wade has been killed.
    • The final scene.
      Michael: Did I miss anything?
      Quinn: Hello... Dad.
  • Pet the Dog: Arturo comforts Quinn after he expresses regret over disappearing on his mother.
  • Pilot Movie: The two-parter is a coherent story on its own, and the series truly starts with the movie's Twist Ending.
  • Rebel Leader: Wade's double on Soviet World.
  • Twist Ending: The sliders seem to get home...until Quinn's dead father, Michael, walks in alive and well.
  • Viewers Like You: While channel-surfing in Soviet World, we see a pledge drive for PBS where the viewer is asked to give money...or else.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: The final scene is this for the sliders.

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