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Universal Studios Home Video presents
Sliders: The Third Season (1996)

"What if you found a portal to a parallel universe? What if you could slide into a thousand different worlds? Where it's the same year and you're the same person, but everything else is different? And what if you can't find your way home?"
- opening narration (Jerry O'Connell)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: August 11, 2005

Stars: Jerry O'Connell, John Rhys-Davies, Cleavant Derricks, Sabrina Lloyd
Other Stars: Appolonia Kotero, Corey Feldman, Danny Masterson, Diana Castle, Julie Benz, Michael Des Barres, Veronica Cartwright, Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs, Donny Most, Robert Englund, Chase Masterson, Roger Daltrey, Kari Wuhrer, Tommy Chong, Barry Livingston, Duff McKagan
Director: Oscar L. Costo, Richard Compton, Adam Nimoy, Jefery Levy, Jim Johnston, David Livingston, John T. Kretchmer, Jeff Woolnough, Jim Charleston, David E. Peckinpah, Paris Barclay, Allan Eastman, Jerry O'Connell

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 18h:42m:00s
Release Date: July 19, 2005
UPC: 025192732027
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- C-B-B- D

DVD Review

A once-promising series seemed to lose a lot of steam with the start of the third season in 1996, heralding a set of episodes that would see the beginning of major cast changes, one of the true harbingers of a show in the early stages of a terminal illness. The premise—four characters endlessly "sliding" through some sort of portal into parallel Earths where things are always very strange and usually dangerous—fit the mold for lightweight episodic sci-fi television, because if one alternate world storyline was particularly weak, the next ep meant a whole new Earth to explore, and a chance for some kind of creative redemption.

Jerry O'Connell, John Rhys-Davies, Cleavant Derricks, and Sabrina Lloyd reprise their roles as the wayward wormhole travelers, though Rhys-Davies unfortunately exited the series midway through Season Three after expressing concerns about the direction the show was taking and Lloyd was gone by the time the fourth season began. The loss of Rhys-Davies was something that really crippled the conceptual flow, because his Professor Arturo was the booming mature voice of science, a father figure with a head full of reason. With Rhys-Davies gone, he was replaced by the noticeably more vivacious Kari Wuhrer in a mid-season story arc, in an attempt to unnaturally force a new character as part of the team, perhaps operating under the assumption that thrusting a hot chick into the mix would make everything better.

It didn't, and it was clear Sliders had evolved too fast for its own good.

The "what if" moments that seemed fresh in the first two seasons don't have that same creative zing in this third season, with the few better-than-average moments—electric tornados in Electric Twister Acid Test or the Egyptian theme of Slide Like an Egyptian—being the exception rather than the norm. A weird cadre of guest stars (such as Roger Daltrey, Corey Feldman, Appolonia Kotero) were a curiosity more than anything else, and didn't compensate for some of the softer plotlines (the fantasy world of Dragonslide or yet another variation on an alternate form of government in The Prince of Slides). But what made some of the weaker seasons one and two eps tolerable was the chemistry between O'Connell, Rhys-Davies, Derricks, and Lloyd, and by losing one of the major players the cast became a three-legged dog that you looked at and felt sorry for.

Sliders limped on for a couple of more season, with Cleavant Derricks eventually remaining as the only original character, and I don't have to tell you how poorly that went over. The third season was the unraveling that signaled the end, and the eps with the original group intact, before Rhys-Davies left, are the strongest of the 25 collected here just because the characters work so well together, even if the writing was not as sharp as it once was.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: All 25 episodes are presented in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Nothing extraordinary here, just respectable transfers of a television series that look slightly better than broadcast quality. As with the seasons one and two set, colors generally look pretty solid except when scenes have minimal lighting, which is where image quality gets a bit thick.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The backcover states the audio is 2.0 mono, when in actuality it is 2.0 surround, though it isn't really a particularly active mix. Not much in the way of directional movement or rear channel usage, but dialogue is clear at all times.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 100 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Earth 2: The Complete Series, Cleopatra 2525: The Complete Series, Revelations: The Complete Series
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Tri-Fold Amaray with slipcase
Picture Disc
4 Discs
7-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Bonus Episodes of Cleopatra 2525 and Earth 2
Extras Review: This third season release continues the awkward but cool-looking packaging for the series, with the four discs here stuck inside an orange plastic foldout case that seems to beg to cause scratching. The minimal extras are housed on Disc 4 (the only dual-layer, non-double-sided disc of the set), with a dreaded Gag Reel (05m:47s), along with one full-length episode each of Cleopatra 2525 (Quest for Firepower) and Earth 2 (The Man Who Fell to Earth Two).

Each Sliders episode is cut into four chapters, with optional subtitles in English, French or Spanish.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

The third season marked a dramatic shift in the show's entire dynamic, something it never really recovered from. Some of the eps are on par with earlier seasons, but Sliders just isn't Sliders without John Rhys-Davies.

Recommended for completists only.


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