Sliders

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Sliders TV Poster Image
Smart, thought-provoking sci-fi series is great for teens.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series explores how society might be different had integral historical events concluded differently. Villains aren't always easily defined, and the presentation of different societal rules sometimes challenges the mores to which we adhere.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite challenges at every turn, the characters remain steadfast in their determination to return home. Their journeys often pull them into conflicts they know little about at first, but when they're forced to choose sides, they always opt to support the cause of peace and justice.

Violence

The Sliders usually encounter some new form of enemy with each dimension they visit, resulting in traditional battles with weapons like guns, biological warfare waged with germs that inflict illness, and torture.

Sex

Some kissing and references to adults being lovers.

Language

"Damn," mostly.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sliders is a science-fiction series that takes viewers on journeys through altered dimensions of Earth, making teens the best audience for understanding the intricacies of the plot and the characters' experiences. The story touches on elements of physics, world history, human evolution, and development of a society, making for some great jumping-off points for follow-up discussion and study. Expect violence in some form in nearly every episode, varying from traditional weapons to less common ones like germ warfare. Because the show's setting changes with each new episode, it's difficult to predict what the content might contain, but overall there's little reason to fret sharing this smart series with teens.

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What's the story?

SLIDERS is a sci-fi series that follows four people as they journey between parallel universes through vortexes of time and space. Central to the group is Quinn Mallory (Jerry O'Connell), a brilliant physics student who inadvertently developed the "sliding" technology. He is joined by his mentor, Professor Maximillian Arturo (John Rhys-Davies); his friend Wade Welles (Sabrina Lloyd); and Rembrandt Brown (Cleavant Derricks), an unsuspecting bystander who's drawn into the fray when he's accidentally sucked through the vortex with the others. Unable to find their way back to their own dimension, the four hop between different versions of Earth, getting pulled into the struggles of the residents there and hoping that one of their trips will take them back to their own time and place. The series ran for five seasons and experienced cast changes that saw some characters leave and others -- including Maggie Beckett (Kari Wuhrer) and Quinn's brother, Colin Mallory (Charlie O'Connell) -- join the group on their quest to return home.

Is it any good?

It's no wonder that Sliders was a hit with sci-fi fans in the late '90s. The show is smart and its premise unique, plus it adds in just the right level of comedy to lighten the mood at appropriate times without resorting to corniness. It manages to toe the line between entertaining and challenging viewers to think critically about how the world has evolved over time, thanks to storylines that adjust history to present images of how the world would look if important events were altered, like the outcomes of wars or the invention of modern medicine.

This is good news for viewers who want something besides a predictable, one-dimensional story, but Sliders does require some background experience and knowledge for the show's format and somewhat fragmented storyline to make sense. For this reason, it's best suited for teens and adults, and those who watch will be treated to a thought-provoking journey through versions of what might have been our world had history played out differently.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how history shapes us. What events in history have had lasting effects that still influence your life? How does the way you live your life reflect the values you hold dear?

  • Teens: Did this show change how you view long-past events? Do you think that was the show's intention? What other shows have you seen that are a good example of entertaining education?

  • How have scientific advancements changed our life in the past few decades? What do you think people from previous generations would think of how we live and work now? How do these advancements affect our personal relationships? Are they always an improvement in that regard?

TV details

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