8

I've been reading a few questions about Sliders on this site, and on more than one occasion, the answer has involved the episode broadcast sequence being changed by FOX.

An example is an important scene which had to be removed from the episode "Summer of Love" because it didn't make sense after the episode was moved from second to sixth.

( Why would Quinn wait to Slide to a new reality? )

(Indeed I believe at the end of this episode or maybe it was another, they land on a world where a giant tidal wave is approaching, and the next episode had no mention of this, but at the beginning of an earlier (I believe) episode, they are indeed on top of a sky scraper and completely surrounded by ocean, implying that they did indeed narrowly escape the wave)

My question is, why would the company doing the broadcast change the order of the episodes? Why would they even care enough about it to do this? The only reason I can think of is that a certain episode was not ready on time, but even then, why not move it back to its proper place when showing repeats?

  • Because it's Fox... – user001 May 10 '17 at 9:02
  • 2
    Things were different in the age of episodic TV (and I couldn't be happier that the industry is moving away from it in general.) Basically no one cared about the "correct order" (except fans) because episodes were seen as basically interchangeable anyway. Most likely, one guy changed the order for reasons and then nobody cared enough to go back and correct the ordering later. Even the Sliders DVDs have these episodes in the order they originally aired, IIRC. – Steve-O May 10 '17 at 14:01
  • BTW, concerning that tidal wave bit, you can also see that the characters are wearing the same clothes while hanging off the skyscraper as they were when they arrived and saw the tidal wave. "Cryin Man" was wearing a particularly gaudy outfit, IIRC, further exaggerating the fact that these snippets were aired out of sequence due to the reordering of episodes. – Steve-O May 10 '17 at 14:03
  • 1
    Classic Fox. They did this with Firefly too. – tobiasvl May 10 '17 at 17:45
9

Fox did it to make the show look more popular.

The, alas now defunct, Sliders: Dimensions of Continuity website (usually a highly reliable source of information) indicated that the air-dates were messed around with at the insistence of the network.

Why Did Co-Creator Tracy Tormé Leave Sliders?

Even from the start, Fox gave co-creator Tracy Tormé many problems. They refused to show season one in its intended order...even when the episodes linked together. Fox refused to allow the series to be an open medium...and constantly tried to place it in a single box (they chose action/adventure). This hindered Tormé a great bit. Fox also constantly restrained Tormé on any of his ideas...this even went to the point that Fox almost didn't let Tormé resolve the season one cliffhanger. In fact, the season two premiere "Into the Mystic" was filmed with no resolution...and after it was finished, Fox gave permission and Tormé had to go back and make changes as he could to resolve the season one cliffhanger.

Behind the Scenes - Sliders: Ultimate FAQ

We learn from a SliderWeb interview with Season 3, 4, 5 director David Peckinpah that the main aim in re-ordering the episodes was to game the ratings, making the show look more popular by airing blockbuster episodes in the "Sweeps" period when audience numbers were collected.

On why we never saw Quinn killing any Kromaggs before…

"I felt episode six was more important to air during sweeps than episode five. Episode five, 'Quinn Kills a Bunch of Nazi Kromaggs While Maggie Disguises Herself as a Stripper,' just didn't seem to have that special something that this episode had."

Earth 5260: The Peckinpah Interviews

and in case you were thinking that original showrunner Tracy Tormé was entirely unblemished in all of this, it turns out that he also had plans to muck around with the airdates for much the same reasons.

Even after Sliders came back in its second season, though, it walked the ratings borderline. As May sweeps approached, Tracy pushed to air what he thought was the season’s best episode, Post Traumatic Slide Syndrome, an episode with a controversially ambiguous ending and few special effects. The network vetoed Tormé and slid in instead an episode featuring dinosaurs, complete with a “Jurassic Park”-ish ad campaign.

“I saw the promotion and I thought, ‘Oh, Christ,’ ’cause we can’t do Jurassic Park, and we can’t do Twister like the movies can do it. To me, that’s worrisome.” However, the dinosaur episode, In Dino Veritas, aired to the season’s best ratings, and Tormé isn’t afraid to admit he was wrong.

“It worked,” he says. “That’s probably one of the reasons we came back for another season; the ratings on that episode were that good. I’ll give the devil its due.”

THE UNIVERSE INTERVIEW: TRACY TORMÉ

4

Via Wikipedia:

The Fox Network aired certain episodes from seasons one and two in a different order than originally scripted to best capitalize on potential ratings-winning episodes, thus causing some continuity errors

  • Does Wikipedia cite a source for this? – Gallifreyan May 10 '17 at 10:43
  • I've downvoted. Although the article is factually correct, the source for this assertion (a fan-written factbook) doesn't actually match what it says in the book, nor is it referenced to an interview. – Valorum May 13 '17 at 16:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.