[ EARTH 69 ]

Episode 1.7 | The Weaker Species

    A churning maelstrom of CGI effects deposits the Sliders in a wooded area, which Wade recognizes as being near her favourite pretzel stand. The foursome decide to check it out, hoping against hope that they've reached home.

    The pretzels are as good as ever, and everything seems to be adding up to spell "Earth Prime". When the pretzel-stand owner mentions the President in passing, Remmy asks if he means Clinton. The pretzel guy shoots back, "Of course I mean Clinton. Who else would I mean?"

    Then "President Clinton" is seen on TV giving the State of the Union address, and another potentially great episode is ruined. President Clinton is a talking tyrannosaurus rex.

    At a bookstore, the sliders learn that dinosaurs took over the world's political processes centuries ago, tired of watching humans killing each other. Now the best sports players are dinosaurs, the hottest teen-idol movie stars are dinosaurs, and yes, the Pope is a dinosaur. And before you can say "What the smeg is wrong with my TV set", Maggie has been proclaimed a surprise human candidate for the mayoralty of San Francisco.

    In case you thought the remainder of the ep would be, say, drama, comedy, or one of those wussy genres, it actually involves the other Sliders - Maggie's campaign staff - being imprisoned in a cave by the tyrannical (ha ha!) Dinosaur Mayor, who has teamed up with Rickman against the Sliders. Not to worry - they throw a canister of gasoline in the Dino Mayor's mouth and blow his head to kingdom come.

    An increasingly cynical Wade idly inquires why they couldn't have just shot the mayor, since he is no larger than an average human. An equally cynical stagehand can be heard calling out, "No explosion! Not cinematic enough!"

    I am not going to describe the infamous "Jiggle Speech" scene, in which a crowd of humans is... "inspired" by something other than Maggie's oratory, so don't bother asking.

Episode 1.8 | The Count is Back

    The opening scene depicts Quinn's trial on charges of spraypainting an overpass, which to underscore the similarities to the O.J. trial (to wit: they both take place in courtrooms) is played out by O.J. trial look-alikes. In fact, the gaffer hired to play Lance Ito - none of Peckinpah's relatives wanted to be associated with this series anymore - flubbed a line and referred to Quinn as "the Juice." Peckinpah thought this was genius and insisted it be kept in, claiming it made a comment on race relations.

    We never learn how the Sliders escape this Earth. Peckinpah explains: "It was just there for comic effect, not as part of the plot. Who #$%@ing cares?"

    He thus provided what was to be his own epitaph.

    In any case, Rembrandt (or as Maggie calls him, "Rem") is ecstatic when the Sliders next land on a world of rock 'n' roll vampires, where he's the "Count" of popular music. His double was killed years ago, and our Remmy is more than glad to step into his glittering platform shoes. Incidentally, the Remmy of this world is called - get ready for an extremely clever Peckinpun - "The Bloodsucking Man."

    However, a kink surfaces in the plan when he's abducted by a crazed former backup singer, who happens to also be a vampire. Not only that, but his double - Count "Brownula" of "Castlevania" - isn't dead, but undead. He awakens from his centuries-long sleep, flies halfway around the world by turning into a bat, and lands in San Francisco to deal with the interloper.

    Having escaped Haematological Hell, Remmy is all set to go onstage and seize his new life. He tearfully bids farewell to his friends, and as an afterthought, Maggie. But of course, as he launches into this world's Number One hit, "Blood In My Fro," Count Brownula screams onto the stage and joins in himself. Upstaged, a dejected Remmy leaves.

    A sympathetic Maggie shows "Rem" just how close to him she feels by further abbreviating his name to "Re-".

    The ending was originally slated to introduce a new group of recurring villains, the Kromaggs. However, Peck decided that they didn't promote a "family values" message. Instead he opted for an ending that features a group of schoolchildren... being dealt crack by Quinn and Remmy on behalf of the "Count" Drug Pushing company.

    BEST LINE: "Oh, you bet you're gonna sign them papers, sucka! You'll sign em -- in INK! And then I'm gonna drink your blood!"

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