As you may already know, I run a blog about the 1995-2000 TV Show called Sliders.
I’m about to cover the so-called (and rightly so) worst episode of the series entitled “Paradise Lost.” The blog post is going to be a detour from the norm (more on that when it goes up tomorrow), so I thought I would put up written thoughts on the episode here.
That said, the reason I’m choosing to represent the episode abnormally, instead of the usual critical discussion, is because this episode has already been torn to bloody rags on the internet— I’d only be adding to the noise.
Yet there’s something to be said for how excruciatingly bad this piece of ‘television’ is. You almost have to tip your had at the lengths the show goes to ignore all sense of good taste. Production values are non-existant. Dialogue is clunky and asinine (and often contradictory). Guest stars are chosen for their different levels of attractive ness, forgetting the fact that actors should probably be good at their jobs. The main cast tries their best— they always do, and that’s the only saving grace. But this is the one time that their best simply isn’t enough to save such a turkey of an episode.
All of the above is ignoring the most crucial thing: this episode is about a town where a radioactive mutated worm shits this blue goo that when the townspeople eat it, it stops the aging process and makes them live longer lives.
Yes— they eat shit and live longer. They don’t even live forever. When a townsperson dies, they INSTANTLY turn super old. But that part is unimportant. The fact of the matter is that this is an episode about people eating RADIOACTIVE WORM SHIT.
What does that have to do with Sliding between alternate dimensions?
Absolutely nothing. Which is really the main reason that this episode is preposterous. It’s the most blatant dismantling of the core of the show that’s ever come before it. There will be times when the concept goes slack again, but this is by far the most egregious example.
The main problem with Sliders is that for all the promise of infinity in the premise, the creators never really found a way to make that premise work. The third season (the season this clunker resides in) decided that the way to work the show was to turn it into a Movie Adaptation Machine, churning out “parallel earths” that just “happened” to mirror popular movies of the 90s— Twister, Anaconda, Dracula, The Island of Doctor Moreau. It’s a bizarre choice, and the execution is mostly terrible, but in a way it’s oddly brilliant. It’s not the way I would have imagined “alternate reality show.”
That’s another strange thing about Sliders. It’s both ahead of its time and completely of its time. Aesthetically, story-wise, it can be nowhere else but the 90s. Thematically, emotionally, conceptually— it is truly infinite.
My definition of the ‘infinite,’ however, does not include Radioactive Worm Shit.