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Series / Sliders

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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, first season Opening Narration

Sliders (1995-2000) is a Science Fiction series created by Robert K. Weiss and Tracy Tormé that ran on Fox for three seasons and then on the Sci-Fi channel for the following two.

The main character is Quinn Mallory (Jerry O'Connell) , a Brilliant, but Lazy physics student/part-time computer store clerk on a personal quest to invent an anti-gravity device. One day, his project takes an unexpected turn when his device creates a dimensional wormhole instead. After testing it out by sending in inanimate objects, he decides to try crossing it himself. He finds himself in an Alternate Universe, which looks like his own, but isn't: traffic codes are different, the planet is in danger of global cooling, and Elvis Presley is alive. The countdown on his device reaches zero, and Quinn is immediately taken back to his own world.


Upon his return, Quinn realizes a double from a parallel universe has taken his place in the meantime and sent his life in turmoil by telling off his physics professor Maximillian Arturo (John Rhys-Davies) , hitting on his coworker and platonic friend Wade Welles (Sabrina Lloyd) and getting him fired. The double then reveals himself to Quinn and explains parallel universes. Before leaving, he starts giving Quinn a warning about his timing device, but doesn't finish before he is taken back. Enthusiastic about his discoveries, Quinn offers visiting Wade and Professor Arturo to take them on a tour to a parallel world, but fearing the wormhole wouldn't be able to hold three people, powers it up too much, leading it to suck in not only Quinn, Wade and Professor Arturo, but also Rembrandt Brown (Cleavant Derricks) , an R'n'B singer passing by his house on his way to sing the National Anthem at a baseball game.


The foursome find themselves on a frozen world, with eight hours left on the timer. With a tornado approaching, Quinn activates the timer early, which erases his home world's coordinates and sends everyone to yet another parallel world, exactly what his double was trying to warn him about. From this point on, the four travel (or "slide") randomly across the multiverse, trying to find a way back home.

It began as an Adventure Series revolving around Alternate History scenarios ("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 Executive Meddling eventually cost the show its creative force, Tracy Torme, which led to the less-inspired episodes that borrowed heavily from popular movies. The show eventually started a Myth Arc revolving around the Kromaggs.

Over the years, the series has been slowly released on DVD. Season 5 was finally released January 2012.

This series provides examples of:

  • 13 Is Unlucky: In season 1, the sliders frequently stay at the Motel 12 in room 12. However, in the episode where superstition trumps science, they are staying in room 13. They are awakened at night by a knock. They open the door to reveal someone dressed as the Grim Reaper... to serve them a subpoena.
  • Aborted Arc: With maybe one or two exceptions, none of the multi-episode arcs this show started were ever resolved.
  • 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.
  • Action Girl: Maggie, former soldier.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In "Luck of the Draw", an episode centering around a deadly lottery, Geoff Edwards- veteran game show host (you may remember him from Treasure Hunt US, Jackpot, Starcade and The New/$40,000 Chain Reaction)- is the host of the in-universe lottery show; at the time, he had been hosting the real-life California Lottery game show, The Big Spin, since 1986.
    • In "The Guardian", Arturo tells his younger friends, "Your generation thinks nothing of seeing Indiana Jones thirteen times. Well, I happen to feel the same way about Mozart." John Rhys-Davies, of course, played Sallah in the first and third movies.
      • Similarly, the novelization for the first episode has Quinn mentally musing on this when he gets to Professor Arturo's class:
      Quinn thought the man a dead ringer for the actor who played the Egyptian friend of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
    • "Slither" takes a cue from the first Anaconda movie, which Kari Wührer had a supporting role in. FOX promotional material highlighted that.
    • In "Into the Mystic", Wade says she has a friend named "Sabrina" who's interested in the occult.
      • Possibly unintentional, the gang crosses a high bridge above running water that looks awfully familiar.
    • In "This Slide of Paradise", Michael York plays a doctor who has created an island of animal-human hybrids. He previously starred in an adaption of The Island of Dr Moreau, on which the episode is based.
  • Adventure Towns: Actually, it's (almost) always the same city (starting with San Francisco in Seasons 1 and 2, then Los Angeles after the timer is modified early in Season 3), but due to our heroes traveling from one alternate reality to another, they find themselves in a different situation each episode.
  • Agent Scully: Arturo
  • Alien Sky: The episode "State Of The A.R.T." changed the color of the sky to lilac. The Ridiculously Human Robot gives it a Handwave about pollution particles— not one that makes scientific sense, but at least it was acknowledged. Later episodes brought us green skies (for worlds hidden in hyperspace), and a sky with a moon plus two additional Earths (incorrectly said to be "in syzygy.")
  • Alliterative Name: Wade Wells and Diana Davis.
  • Alternate History: Most of the worlds visited fall into this category.
  • Alternate History Wank: Several episodes dealt with other countries becoming major world powers.
    • The second part of the pilot had Soviet Russia, Ukraine, and So On 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 the least affected, Australia became the dominant world power on that Earth.
  • 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.
  • America Is Still a Colony: The "Prince of Wails" episode had the cast slide to an Alternate Universe where the US was under British control and George Washington had been executed as a traitor. Members of the cast then tell a member of the royal family after rescuing him that "Why don't you give democracy a go?" as if they're mutually exclusive.
  • 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.
  • Antagonistic Governor: Has a few examples.
    • The Season 1 episode "Prince of Wails" has the sliders arrive in a world where Britain won the Revolutionary War and America Is Still a Colony, now having expanded to what would be all the western States as well. Arturo's double in this world is the sinister Sheriff of San Francisco, who rules not only the city but apparently all the "western colonies" as well. He's oppressive towards the colonists, but he goes even further when he plots to have Harold, the Crown Prince, killed so he can take over as the new King, the previous King having died on the battlefields of France.
    • A Season 2 episode has a variation. The sliders arrive in a world where The Mafia has become too powerful. The sliders discover that an election candidate for California governor, who ironically was running on an anti-mafia platform, is really on their payroll and that they plan to have California and Nevada secede from the United States to form their own mob-controlled country, as the federal government is beginning to fight back against them.
    • The Season 4 episode "California Reich" has the heroes visit a world where Adolf Hitler apparently never rose to power, so the world here has not seen the evils of Nazism. This allows Schtick, a Hitler-like man, to seize control of California, becoming its Governor. He's already planning a run for President when the sliders arrive.
    • Subverted in another Season 4 episode where the sliders come to a world where an economically-weakened America has been invaded by Mexico, with mixed results. The Mexicans have been pushed out of Texas, but occupy parts of southern California. To make matters even more complicated, UN troops are instated as well because the Governor of California in this world won't allow weapons inspectors in. He has local guerrilla fighters named after him ("B-1 Bobbies") and fights both the Mexican and UN forces. Since he doesn't actually appear, and the sliders are really just observers here, he doesn't really antagonize them. We also don't really hear his side of the story, his State is being invaded after all.
  • 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.
  • 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 aren't 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, a title they share with Geiger in the latter season.
  • Big "NO!": Wade at the end of "Luck of the Draw", upon discovering that Quinn got shot in the back right before jumping through the wormhole.
  • Blatant Lies: "We're from Canada."
  • Blood Sport: In the Season 3 premiere "Rules of the Game", the sliders land on a world that follows this trope.
  • Bookends: 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...
  • Bounty Hunter: In the Season 2 premiere "Into the Mystic", the sliders are pursued by a diminutive bounty hunter after skipping out on paying a witch doctor's bill.
  • Boxing Lesson: In "The Guardian", Quinn gives a younger version of himself these to change a traumatic event in his life.
  • Brass Balls: In "The Exodus, Part 1", Quinn remarks to Maggie that he can hear her "brass balls" clink.
  • 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!
  • Broken-Window Warning: Maximillian Arturo was running for president to topple the matriarchy. The opponent did the simple trick of throwing the brick through the window, then following up with a phone call saying that the next time it will be a bomb.
  • By the Eyes of the Blind: "Gillian of the Spirits"
  • California Collapse: In the Season 3 finale "This Slide of Paradise", they slide to a world where California has broken up into islands.
  • The Cameo:
    • Game show host Geoff Edwards (Treasure Hunt US, Jackpot, Starcade, Chain Reaction) appears as himself (or, an alternate-universe version of himeself, at any rate) in the episode "Luck of the Draw".
    • Singer Mel Tormé appears in "Greatfellas", wearing a cowboy hat and playing a country and western tune.
  • 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.
  • Celebrity Paradox: On the episode "Data World", Rembrandt said "What is this, Scream 3?" Guess which one of his co-stars got killed (in-character) in Scream 2?
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The last third of Season 3 is noticeably more serious and less lighthearted than the rest of the series, mainly due to Professor Arturo dying and then-unsympathetic Maggie Beckett joining the team. The impact of losing their friend keeping the remaining trio on edge, Quinn being overwhelmed with guilt for starting the adventure in the first place, and Maggie's frequent arguments with them, especially Wade, made the erstwhile team of True Companions much more disfunctional. The presence of the series' first Big Bad (the Kromaggs not being established as such at the time) also contributed to the darker mood. Some of these episodes also happen to have more nighttime or interior scenes, making the episodes visually darker.
  • Changeling Fantasy: Tossed, seemingly at random, into Quinn's backstory for the Sci-Fi Channel seasons of Sliders. Had the season four finale used the original script, this would have been revealed as a complicated ruse engineered by the Big Bads.
  • Character Development: Rembrandt. He goes from a Dirty Coward concerned only with himself to an everyman who cares for his surrogate family to Team Dad over the course of five seasons. (Being the only cast member to stay for the entire duration of the series certainly helps.)
  • 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: Season 3's "Season's Greedings".
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Quinn.
  • City of Adventure: For the first two seasons, San Francisco, in nearly all of the worlds, is somehow majorly relevant to the world at large.
  • College Is "High School, Part 2": Sort of justified in that the main character is a townie who lives within commuting distance of the college class he attends in the first few episodes. However, what little we see of the college social life smacks of high school, and many of the instructor-student interactions (including the instructor showing up at a student's parents' doorstep to voice his concerns) are much more typical of high school.
  • Crapsack World: As the Sliders visit many worlds, they encountered quite a few of these, beginning with the Ice Age world in the pilot episode.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Circa Season 3, Acclaim Comics produced ten issues with various creative teams (with the eighth, Narcotica, being written by series star Jerry O'Connell). A script for an eleventh issue (plus several pages of artwork) was completed and several future ideas (including a Quantum Leap Crossover) were being developed, but declining sales led to cancellation.
  • Contamination Situation: In "Fever", Wade becomes infected with a plague.
  • Contemplating Your Hands: Colin does this in "Just Say Yes" after being dosed with drugs.
  • Contrived Coincidence: You'd be hard pressed to find a show with better examples than this.
    • First off, the chances of encountering doubles is next to impossible. In worlds that have a history far different than our own (as most seem to), it's unlikely your parents would ever have met. Even if they did, the chances that they would have a child identical to you is basically zero. How often have you seen parents with identical kids that aren't twins? Yet our group encounters identical versions of themselves on a regular basis.
    • Not only that, but those doubles often hold a position of power or fame on their world.
    • Worlds with a radically alternate history should not be so similar to ours. For example, the world in Season 3 that was conquered by ancient Egyptians should not have modern cars that look identical to ours, and neither should the Golden Gate bridge still exist...and neither should they be speaking English. Even worlds that have only a slightly different history should be radically different thanks to the Butterfly Effect.
    • In "As Time Goes By", Quinn twice runs into his ex-girlfriend and her fiancé in one episode, on two separate worlds, by pure chance.
    • In "Time Again and World", the Sliders escape one world after witnessing a murder, only to land on the exact same street on a nearly identical world in time to witness the murder again.
    • In "The Exodus", on their second slide together, Quinn and Maggie land right in the base where Maggie's double is stationed, in time to be almost immediately captured by her.
    • You could make a drinking game out of the amount of times the Sliders have landed right in front of Quinn's house when they arrive on a new world.
    • Despite there being "infinite universes", the Sliders have on more than one occasion run into another slider they had already met by pure chance (Quinn's double from the Pilot in "The Other Slide of Darkness", and the Kromagg named Kolitar from the episode "Slidecage" being encountered again in "Way Out West").
      • To be fair: If there are "infinite universes," then there are also an infinite number of Quinns, Arturos, Rembrandts, etc. - many of whom would also be Sliders.
    • With there being "infinite universes", the chances that they would land on Earth Prime by pure chance, like they do in mid-Season 3, is next to impossible.
    • In "The Guardian", the Sliders land on a world identical to their own, except 12 years in the past, which is already unbelievable, but as if that weren't enough, they exit right into the funeral of Quinn's dad!
  • Corrupt Church: "Prophets and Loss".
  • Cut Short: Canceled at the end of its fifth season on a Cliffhanger. A Psychic tells the heroes Everybody Is Going To Die, requiring one to go on one last slide to save everything. Not every fan was broken up about the finale; for many, the show hadn't been worth watching for years. The producers did a cliff hanger because they were hoping the fans would convince the network for another season. In-universe, the last episode is set on an Earth where Sliders is a hugely popular TV show.
  • Dead Guy Junior: If dialogue that implies Maggie Beckett is Sam Beckett's niece is taken seriously, this makes her a Dead Guy Junior. For bonus points, Maggie was the name of a news reporter who died on a mission in Vietnam while working with Sam's brother, Tom.
  • Deadly Euphemism: In "Luck of the Draw", the Sliders land on a world where people can get free money for a chance to be killed. They use euphemisms and the main characters aren't aware why they're getting the money.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Down to the Last Play: One episode features a fictional Rugby\Trivia\Othello sport. The other team has a commanding lead with very little time left. However, Quinn's team owns three of the corner spaces, giving them a chance to win if they can claim the last corner, causing the spaces between the corners to turn in their favor. The other team is fully aware of the situation and defends the space as best they can.
  • 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.
  • Dramatic Shattering: Used at the end of the pilot, and again with Mrs. Arturo in "Double Cross".
  • The Drifter: The Sliders themselves.
  • Driven to Suicide: "The Chasm".
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Almost everybody, eventually. See also Put on a Bus.
  • Dystopia: Many of the alternate universes.
  • Electric Torture: In one universe, the residents have to wear electroshock collars to prevent them from lying.
  • 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 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."
  • The Empire: The Kromagg Dynasty
  • Erudite Stoner: Conrad Bennish, Jr.
  • 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.
  • Everyone Meets Everyone: Quinn knew Wade and Arturo before the events of the pilot, but the two only met one another in the first episode, and none of them knew Rembrandt until the first slide.
  • Evil Counterpart: Rickman in Season 3.
  • Evil Twin: Numerous evil doubles. For some reason, Arturo's doubles were almost always bad news.
  • Extradimensional Emergency Exit: As Sliders is all about a group of travellers moving from one parallel universe to another, so it's not uncommon for them to make these escapes in a big hurry, either due to pursuing bad guys or their "window" closing soon.
  • Eye Scream: Kromaggs really love human eyeballs.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Goal: 'Slide' back to our dimension. This goal was actually achieved at the start of the fourth season, causing the show's jump the shark moment. There was also a much earlier instance where they were implied to get back to their own dimension... but did not realize it, and moved on to the next one.
  • Fakeout Escape: Attempted unsuccessfully in the Western-themed episode "Way Out West". It turns out that Kromaggs have their own westerns.
  • Fake Shemp: The shots from above during the fifth season premiere "The Unstuck Man", after Jerry O'Connell left the show.
  • Fallen States of America: A couple of episodes have this. One has Mexico taking advantage of the situation.
  • 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.
  • Final Solution: "Prophets and Loss".
  • Find the Cure!: "Fever".
  • Flatline Plotline: "Slide Like an Egyptian".
  • Floating Continent: "Season's Greedings".
  • For Want of a Nail: This was the most common plot in the first few seasons, with such universes as "Exactly like ours, but the atom bomb was never invented", "Exactly like ours but antibiotics were never invented", "Exactly like ours but one of the heroes was Elvis", etc. This plot became less common as the series progressed.
    • This is directly referenced in one episode, wherein the device that creates the wormholes initially cannot be fixed because in this parallel Earth everyone had an almost superstitious aversion to higher technology.
    • An early episode also showed that, had the US lost the Korean War instead of it resulting in a stalemate, the Domino Theory would become a fact and would result in the US being conquered by the USSR.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Quinn is sanguine, Arturo is choleric, Rembrandt is melancholic, and Wade is phlegmatic.
  • Future Imperfect: "Dust".
  • Gave Up Too Soon: In the episode "Into the Mystic", the characters have only a few seconds to decide whether or not to stay on the latest parallel Earth they've landed on. Unfortunately for them since they had been gone, a sports team they knew had moved to a different city and won the championship, O.J. Simpson had been arrested and was still on trial, and they had trouble believing that the world could have changed so much in just two years. 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.
  • Gendercide: "Love Gods".
  • Gender Rarity Value: "Love Gods", again.
  • 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.
  • Girl of the Week: The repeated use of this trope in later seasons was criticized by fans, although they were usually temporary love interests since most of the time they died tragically at the end of the episode.
  • Girls with Moustaches: In "Time Again and 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.
  • Grand Theft Me: "Dragonslide" had an evil wizard pull this on Quinn.
  • Half-Human Hybrids: The Humaggs in "The Dying Fields".
  • Haunted House: "The Alternateville Horror"
  • 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.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: A variation in one world as the team are horrified to find a modern California that's basically a Nazi state, complete with ethnic cleansing of minorities. When one character snaps about Hitler to some of those in charge, they're met by blank looks. It turns out that in this world, Hitler was killed in World War I and never rose to power. Thus, this Earth never "learned its lesson" with a Holocaust and ended up with one of their own.
  • Hive Mind: Three similar worlds developed a supposed panacea in the form of genetically-engineered bacteria that repaired the body and communicated via invisible light pulses. Unfortunately, the pulses weren't limited to inside the body, resulting in everyone with the cure losing their individuality. On one world, the so-called "Believers" were persecuted and exterminated. On another, they were relegated to hippie-like communes and largely ignored. On a third, the experiment was shut down decades ago. However, Mallory reintroduces the bacteria, by drawing it from his own blood and giving it to a disabled girl, who then spreads it to others. The others manage to build a "dead man's light" device that acts as a kill switch to the bacteria and bring Mallory back.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Quinn.
  • Homemade Inventions: The timer Quinn created.
  • The Homeward Journey: The show's premise.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Attempted twice in Season 3, first by changing Wade's wardrobe, then by introducing Maggie. Thankfully it stopped being a priority in Season 4.
  • Humans Are Ugly: Or so the Kromaggs think.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • In "The Exodus, Part 2", 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.
      • It's especially annoying, considering that Quinn made a specific reference to setting the length of the timer, meaning there was no random timing window. He could have even set it to two minutes, gone home with his friends, hugged his mother, and then come back before anyone knew he was gone.
    • 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 with a comparable technological level, 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.
    • A major use of the Idiot Ball was constructed by the network. Originally, the characters had to slide at the time that the timer specified or they couldn't go home. After they were forced to slide early at the start of the series (and therefore couldn’t just go home), there was no apparent reason why they didn't just slide early from then on whenever they found themselves trapped in a dangerous world (since they couldn't get lost twice). The original second episode would have established that the timer had actually been damaged and would no longer work before the timer finished but because the episode order was changed that explanation was cut. This made the characters’ insistence of hanging around until the timer completed seem rather stupid. Later, the sliders actually swapped their slider for an Egyptian one and in that episode, they left the dimension early, once again leaving themselves lost. After that, because it was the convention, they once again were stuck waiting until the timer finished with no reason given.
    • There were several times in Season 4 when the characters were left facing the possibility that they might not be able to all leave this world together and one of them would therefore be stuck there. The problem with this as a dramatic point was that by this point the characters could control where they slid. As a result of this, they could always leave a world and then come back later. In fact, they did exactly that in "Prophets and Loss". Then, in "Asylum", Quinn is injured and the other characters face the possibility that he won't be well enough to travel and they'll either have to leave him here or be stuck for 29 years. Even if you justify that case by assuming that they needed Quinn to show them how to travel back, when Quinn ends up all alone with the timer in "Lipschitz Live!", he never seems to consider that if the other characters don't find him by the time he has to slide that he could simply give them a location to meet him when he came back. "California Reich" also ends with them having two minutes to decide whether a world is safe to leave someone in rather than simply leaving and then coming back when they have more time.
    • "Lipschitz Live!" required Maggie and Rembrandt to both take a massive cut in intelligence to work. The normally-polite and naïve Colin accidentally swapped places with his spoiled-rich-kid duplicate from this other world. The duplicate then started hitting on Maggie repeatedly, speaking in a New York accent, wearing flashy jewelry, and basically being the exact opposite of the person that Colin normally is. Not only did they not seem to pick up on the fact that he was a duplicate, neither Maggie nor Rembrandt seemed to notice that his behavior was unusual. You could forgive characters on a show where you don't tend to run into alternate universe duplicates of yourself for not taking the time to question things, but not these two.
    • The fact that they never consider to pack some basic survival kits is unforgivable. You can argue that they have to travel light, but there is a difference between that and travelling with nothing but the clothes on their back. A couple of water bottles, some cans of beans, a first-aid kit, an emergency blanket - small things that could fill a small bag and yet despite this so many episodes were made needlessly difficult by their absence. The season 3 episode "Desert Storm" where they slide into the middle of a featureless desert and nearly die of thirst and exposure springs instantly to mind. And this also goes hand-in-hand with the fact that season 2's "Gillian of the Spirits" - where they slide to a world where technology is forbidden and are forced to resort to the black market to find tools and spare parts to fix the timer - should have been the absolute last moment where those survival kits do not also include a basic toolkit and some spare parts.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • First off, the chances of encountering doubles is next to impossible. In worlds that have a history far different than our own (as most seem to), it's unlikely your parents would ever have met. Even if they did, the chances that they would have a child identical to you is basically zero. How often have you seen parents with identical kids that aren't twins? Yet our group encounters identical versions of themselves on a regular basis. Not only that, but those doubles often hold a position of power or fame on their world.
    • Worlds with a radically alternate history should not be so similar to ours. For example, the world in Season 3 that was conquered by ancient Egyptians should not have modern cars that look identical to ours, and neither should the Golden Gate bridge still exist...and neither should they be speaking English. Even worlds that have only a slightly different history should be radically different thanks to the Butterfly Effect.
    • Other examples such as the universe where everything was exactly the same except that women had moustaches, and the one where the sky was purple but things were much the same until the Robot War.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: The Timer, several of which were actually used by the main characters (the original, the one from Egyptian World, and Colonel Rickman's Timer). One episode involves the Kromaggs developing an alternative means of interdimensional travel using human minds to open portals. The main goal is to bypass the Slidecage protecting Kromagg Prime.
  • Invaded States of America: The second part of the pilot episode showed a Soviet-occupied United States.
  • Invisible Main Character: Quinn in "Gillian of the Spirits", due to the wormhole being struck by lightning as he leaps inside.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Arturo
  • 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."
  • Kid from the Future: Thomas Mallory in "Roads Taken".
  • Killing for a Tissue Sample: Colonel Rickman, who killed for brain tissue to combat a brain fungus he picked up in one of his alternate universes' wars.
  • Kirk's Rock: Featured in the episode "Electric Twister Acid Test".
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: "Virtual Slide".
  • Lady Land: "The Weaker Sex" and "Love Gods".
  • La Résistance: Whenever they're on a Planet of Hats, there's usually a heroic La Résistance that's opposed to wearing the hat.
    • This is Lampshaded in an early Season 4 episode, as characters ask and acknowledge that "there's always a resistance."
  • Large Ham: Arturo, and Rickman.
  • Last Fertile Region: One episode has them end up on a world that's largely been turned into a desert. They discover that a strange woman's pendant leads to a hidden area with lush greenery and plenty of water. The people there jealously protect the secret, knowing that plenty of bad elements would want to rob them of it.
  • Lead In: Episodes, mostly in early seasons, always started with the main characters in a random world ready to slide into the world that would be the setting for the episode. These lead-in stories rarely contribute to the main adventure itself (with some exceptions, like "The Breeder")
  • 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.
  • Left the Background Music On: Multiple occasions.
    • When the monster attacks in the episode, "Paradise Lost", drums can be heard, presumably for dramatic effect. Except halfway into the ep, Quinn says "Do you hear that? It sounds like drums"
    • In the Western parody "Way Out West", a fed-up Rembrandt snaps "you're really getting on my nerves" at a harmonica player just outside the window.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: "Gillian of the Spirits".
  • Living Dinosaurs: "Dinoslide".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mouthful of Pi: In the season one episode "Eggheads", Quinn Mallory recites pi to 13 places while playing a full-contact trivia/ball game on a giant Othello board.
  • The Multiverse: The Sliders travel all around it, with no control as to where they land.
  • Myth Arc: Pursuing Rickman in the latter part of Season 3, and the fight against the Kromaggs in Seasons 4 and 5.
  • Nanomachines: "New Gods for Old"
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Kromagg military culture resembles this, right down to their uniforms.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Jerry O'Connell as Quinn, who was quite the babe magnet. But in a more literal use of the trope, they once slid into a universe where intelligence was treated with the same amount of celebrity worship as athletes, actors, or rock stars. This version of Arturo was a multi-millionaire from celebrity endorsements, and Quinn ended up participating in a hybrid quiz-show/rugby televised sport where you can score points by answering questions while holding the ball.
  • 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".
  • 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, where we saw only 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 in 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: A recurring theme whenever someone in the group encounters a double. Lampshaded in "The Young and the Relentless" by Arturo:
    "Well, like it or not, all the doubles we meet on these worlds are essentially us; they've just made different choices. Some will be glorious and some will be wholly despicable."
    • "The Other Slide of Darkness" offers a noteworthy example when Quinn re-encounters his double from the first episode. He wasn't that much different from our Quinn originally, but three years later, he's been broken and hardened by great tragedy.
      Quinn: It can't be you. No one could change that much.
      Alt-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.
  • Novelization: One for the first episode by Brad Linaweaver, incorporating several deleted scenes and the author's own additions to the plot. These include Arturo's dislike of his first name and more background on the Soviet Earth's history.
  • The Nth Doctor: Mallory replacing Quinn.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist:
    • Professor Arturo, despite supposedly being a cosmologist or sometimes a more general theoretical physicist, successfully creates penicillin in an early episode (in a world where medicine was much less advanced). Later, quite unbelievably, he was capable of performing a Caesarean section on another (male) character, despite having no experience with any form of surgery, let alone such an exotic circumstance as a male pregnancy. And then there was the time he revived a deactivated android... However, each of these cases was lampshaded with dialogue about how hard and/or different from maths he found it.
    • Averted with Diana in Season 5, quick to point out when asked for medical advice that she is "not that kind of doctor".
  • 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 require energy anywhere from several megaton nuclear warheads to the equivalent of the mass of planet Jupiter converted to energy. It's hard to do that with a TV remotenote , a cell phone note , or a Sega Genesis controllernote .
  • Parting Words Regret: Quinn's father died shortly after a heated argument. One scene in "The Guardian" sees Quinn help himself and his younger double deal with this trope.
    Young Quinn: I screamed at him. I told him I hated him. My dad died thinking I hated him.
    Quinn: No. He knew how much you loved him, and he loved you with all of his heart. Now, what happened to your father was an accident. It wasn't your mother's fault, and it wasn't yours. Deep down, you might even blame him for leaving you and that's what hurts most of all, so you've gotta fight those feelings.
    • "The Return of Maggie Beckett" offers a twist. On Maggie's world, her father died when his helicopter was shot down. On the featured world, he was the only survivor.
      General Beckett: Before the chopper went down, I never told Maggie that I loved her. Just because I never said it...
  • 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.
    • In this Funny or Die parody, everyone wears big bow ties.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Rembrandt with first Wade and later Maggie.
  • Plot Tumor: The Kromaggs, who were introduced once in season 2, mentioned again once in season 3, and became the Big Bad of the rest of the series.
  • 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!"
  • Portal Slam: Vortices disappearing when people try to jump through them happens an awful lot. If it's a good guy, they'll always find another vortex. If it's a bad guy, they're usually trapped until the good guys can deal with them. Rickman, the Big Bad of season three, meets his end this way when a portal is just over a cliff. When it shuts down just as he's leaping for it, he falls to his death.
  • 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...
  • Psychic Powers:
    • In "Obsession", the sliders travel to a world where 10% of the population have various types of psychic powers, and Prime Oracle is an official Cabinet position, created by Abraham Lincoln after a psychic warned him about his impending assassination. This also includes doctors, who use their abilities to "scan" someone's body to determine the extent of injuries. This also leads to this world never inventing things like X-ray or MRI, as they simply weren't needed.
    • Kromaggs are able to to project their thoughts into human minds, which includes things like Mind Rape and creating illusions. Strangely, the reverse isn't true (i.e. they can't read others' minds). They also possess the ability to heal others with their minds. Several episodes reveal that humans (at least some humans) can be taught some of these abilities, including healing and thought projection.
  • 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 (supposedly, Fox didn't consider her sexy enough and vetoed the planned arc. Notably, later that season we meet another bad Slider who becomes a recurring foe.)
  • 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 Dr. Moreau (1977).
  • Retro Universe: Some of the shown Alternate Universes fit this trope.
  • 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.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens:
  • Running Gag: Rembrandt coming out of the vortex and crashing into Arturo.
  • Russia Takes Over the World: The pilot episode involves an alternate timeline where the Soviet Union took over most of the world, including the United States.
  • 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.
  • 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:
  • Single-Episode Handicap: Arturo is temporarily blinded during a wargame in "Rules of the Game".
  • Skyward Scream: Wade in the first season finale: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
  • Slow-Motion Drop: The last shot of the pilot episode showed Quinn's wine glass falling and shattering in slow motion.
  • 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.
  • Spot the Imposter: Professor Arturo meets his alternate-universe-evil-self, and with the gang about to depart forever to the next Alternate Earth, the two engage in fisticuffs and one Arturo dives through the extra-dimensional portal, which then closes, stranding the other. We're never, ever told if the team got the real Arturo or the alternate one, but he dies anyway so it probably didn't matter.
    • It's hinted a few times in the following two episodes that they took the imposter instead (Arturo was an established football fan in previous episodes but here he wasn't) until the subplot was dropped. A later interview confirmed that they were supposed to have taken the imposter which would have been followed up had the show not gone off in the direction that it did. It was never said if it was only intended to be or if the Arturo that died was the imposter and the real one still lived.
  • 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.
  • State Sec: In the episode "Fever", the West Coast is fraught with deadly diseases thanks to non-existent modern medicine, leaving control of society in the hands of the California Health Commission. On the surface, it's a standard public health agency, but has its own army to forcibly throw citizens into quarantine zones.
  • Stumbled Into the Plot: Rembrandt was drawn into Quinn's parallel world surfing adventure because he got caught up in their whirlwind while driving his car and, like the rest of the team, is trying to get back.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: This was played with with Maggie. At first, the show strongly averted it because she was definitely nothing like the Professor whom she replaced. However, at the start of season four once Wade left the cast Maggie showed an almost immediate change in personality (and even hairstyle) moving away from the hard vengeful militaristic unemotional woman she'd been in season three to much more compassionate and feminine role (now that Wade was no longer there to be The Chick) which was more or less a merge of hers and Wade's previous characters.
  • 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.
  • This Was His True Form: Tweaked in "Dragonslide". A vanquished fire-breathing dragon reverts to its (true) human wizard form as it lays dying... and then becomes an even smaller cockroach when no one is looking, allowing it to scamper away. Only to get stepped on moments later.
  • 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.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: The sliders seemed to have a new wardrobe (and always plenty of money) every week, despite only ever taking one change of clothes through the wormholes between worlds. There were occasional attempts to explain this (alternate versions of the sliders have the same ATM PIN), but it still strained credibility to have every cast member show up with a whole new ensemble each week, especially since this would happen even with episodes that were set immediately after each other, leading one online fan to ask the question "what really goes on in that wormhole??"
  • 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. In the pilot episodes, it's established that the timer was designed to send them back to their home dimension after a specified period of time. Since the first slide as a team took them to an Earth that was frozen over and a tornado was heading their way, they forced the wormhole open early and that set them on the path of random universes. The timer getting damaged in the "US lost the cold war" universe in the second half of the pilot also meant that the length of time spent in each universe was random as well. 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.
  • Utopia: In the pilot, Quinn is visited by his double who says that he visited a Utopian world "Where no one was afraid".
  • Vampire Episode: "Stoker", the Sliders visit a world where vampires exist and their existence is public, to the point that Richard Nixon was one.
  • 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.
  • Walking the Earth: Earths, 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.
  • We Have Forgotten the Phlebotinum: The timer (or whoever had it last) is lost/stolen/damaged/etc. causing a race against time to find it is one of their go-to plots.
  • Weirdness Censor: Why no one seems to see the Sliders' entry portal. This would also explain why the hippies do notice it: they have much more open minds than usual.
  • 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:
    Quinn: Wade, the Kromaggs—they're Sliders!
    • "Double Cross":
      Logan: (to Quinn) You're my double.
    • "The Other Slide of Darkness":
      Quinn: Man, what happened to you?
      Alt-Quinn: The Kromaggs happened to me.
  • What If?: This trope was a major part of its main premise: "What if antibiotics had never been invented?" "What if America had lost the Cold War?" "What if traditional gender roles were swapped?" and so on.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Rembrandt.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome" and "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".
  • 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. Strangely, at the end, the bad guy is shown with his hand on fire, which happened in the dream, making one wonder where the fire came from.
    Rembrandt: I wish I had my gun right now. (shotgun suddenly appears in his hand)
  • Your Universe or Mine?: This come up more than once.


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