The Sliders witness a fatal car crash and the dying man’s words lead them to the unsettling discovery that the earth will be destroyed before they are scheduled to slide out. A globular cluster of pulsars is en route to the solar system, and the radiation they emit will kill all life on earth. A military team led by Maggie Beckett captures them in the dead man’s office, and she brings them back to her base which is run by Colonel Angus Rickman. They request their assistance in developing a sliding device to transport as many people off world before the pulsars strike. Arturo works with Maggie’s husband Stephen Jensen while Quinn and Maggie scout out a suitable world for relocation. Wade is given the unenviable task of constructing a list of people to save while Rembrandt comforts a young boy whose parents have fallen into strange comas. Someone on the base is injecting their brain fluid into their own, and that someone is the Colonel. After a round of unsuitable worlds, Quinn hits upon the perfect world — his own.
A rogue pulsar has entered the solar system and is threatening all life on Earth.
Honey, I shrunk the Sliders! Quinn and Maggie scout a world where everything is far larger in size than every other world they’ve been to, and the oversize rabbits there sport a serious set of fangs.
Pulsar Double Prime
A world eerily similar to Pulsar Prime, right down to a double of Maggie who’s slightly more intelligent that a lump of coal.
Earth Triple Prime/Kromagg Outpost 161
Is Quinn home? He can smell Mrs. Randall’s chicken soup and his mother found that necklace he bought her for her birthday…
Three World Wars. Siberian Pushes. Clearly, Pulsar Prime has had its share of military battles in the 20th century. World War III, you say? Apparently, it took place not long after the two we know of on Earth Prime. During the Battle of California, Japanese troops landed on American soil and launched an offensive in Southern California. The Japanese fought American troops voraciously, driving the army back block by block. Left with no other alternative, the American government dropped two atom bombs on American soil, one in San Diego, the other in Los Angeles.
“Russia vs. U.S.A.: The Final Round?” It’s a pretty serious question on this world, where the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union has progressed unabated for the past seven or eight years. Maggie flew Harriers off of armed carriers and fought in the Siberian Push, a Russian battle of some kind which would give more credence to the reason the Soviet Union and the U.S. being hostile shortly before Pulsar Earth was destroyed. Tensions are high, and the citizenry is on full military alert. The President? Oliver North. It seems that the Iran-Contra affair didn’t occur on Pulsar Prime, which means the Sandinistas and the Contras weren’t fighting in Central America.
But nuclear war is hardly a major concern for Pulsar Prime. A pulsar, with a declination of 87 degrees on the solar plane, has entered the solar system and will eventually destroy biological organism on Earth.
At the Blake Air Force Base in Southern California, Doctor Steven Jensen collaborated with a Doctor Vladimir Jariabek to develop sliding technology. They were working on the dynamics of wormholes when Jariabek was killed. Dr. Jariabek was a highly respected cosmologist on Earth Prime and a colleague of Arturo’s who had an office at California Tech. He gave lectures that Arturo attended. Jariabek is Russian but defected to the U.S. in 1967.
On this world, it’s evident that the Vietnam War also took place, per Rickman’s reference to ‘the last days of Saigon’. The reason Rickman is killing these innocent people is because he contracted a disease during the Gulf War, a fungus that attacks the brain tissue.
“The Exodus” began as a treatment by star John Rhys-Davies, but in the end it became a story riddled with every cliché Rhys-Davies hates about science fiction and ultimately ended up being the demise of the Professor.
“I submitted one of five ideas: It was a really low-key standard idea, the sort of level thatSliders should have,” he explains. “It showed scientific curiosity and moral choices. And that was the episode they turned into a double-parter with all the predictable things. Anyone in the military, the government, is always wrong. In every episode of Sliders you will find that essential bias. Then they had the bad soldier, he’s out of control and has to suck brains out — Eh!
“I was hoping I could write this episode. The classic thing was the writers do not want John to write one because it would be bad for morale. So I let it go, they paid me for the idea. And anyway, I was very anxious to get out of the series, I wasn’t going to rock the boat at that stage! You give up in the end. The whole point of Sliders is that it is [about] alternate universes, and it should challenge our expectations and not bolster our prejudices.”
Such changes in his story, particularly with the scientific aspects, led him to ultimately dismiss the final product.
“It ended up having a quasar coming into the solar system,” he complains. “I said, ‘Do you know what a quasar is?’ They said, ‘Yeah, it’s something small and it rotates fast.’ I said, ‘Yes, but it’s actually a neutron star. It’s a collapsed star that has a mass of about 1.4 to four times the mass of the Sun. It’s not big enough to create a black hole. It is immensely dense and, of course, will consequently have an immense force of gravity. You cannot bring a star into the solar system without throwing everything off. And at the end, you’ve got a cluster of neutron stars coming through.’ I also said, ‘This thing about radiation is nonsense.’ They said, ‘But it spins fast!’ I said, ‘Yes, but you have it spinning once every 24 hours.’ Some of them spin 32 times a second. With the kind of radiation that would generate, you can’t hide underground. The radiation would go through the Earth, for God’s sake.’ I just wasn’t very happy with the show.”
· · ·
So what was the original idea?
Rhys-Davies’ idea would have brought the Sliders to a world where comet Shoemaker-Levy 9’s impact with Jupiter altered its orbit; the resulting gravitational shifts have changed Earth’s orbit as well, and it is slowly drifing further and further from the sun.
The drama arises when Quinn and Arturo discover that with some modification of the timer (the original, not the Egyptian one) and some parts from a Motorola factory, they can either get home, or slide a few hundred people from the world, which is slowly dying from the growing winter. Of course, if they choose to save them, they have to continue sliding randomly.
“Of course, being our Sliders they would help these people,” Rhys-Davies elaborates.
After Quinn scouts a few worlds, conflicts develop between the refugees over whether supplies or that world’s artifacts should go at the expense of some lives. “If you’re starting a new [place],” he says, “do you take the Venus de Milo or the last of the tinned food?” Eventually the Sliders take as many people as possible and slide from the new world, but only after the timer returns to its normal, burnt-out mode.
The treatment, as written, would have included a world where Native Americans own the surrounding land and a world where the flora releases a narcotic into the air at night.
Source: Sarah Amos
· · ·
“It is a really dangerous situation: We slide to a world on the verge of the apocalypse, and in the ensuing panic law and order falls apart,” he says. “They come across a scientist who with Quinn’s help are able to get a group of people off the world by sliding. However, one of our characters doesn’t make the slide away.
“I think the fans are really going to like it.
“What was really cool about it is that rock star Roger Daltrey is in it,” he adds. “He plays the villain Colonel Rickman, and that was like a dream come true for me. I can remember waiting a total of twenty-eight hours in line for Who tickets and never gotten them. Now here we are, working for three weeks on location, and I am eating dinner with Roger Daltrey. Every moment I worked with him and every moment I sat with him, I was pinching myself. He was a terrific actor; he played such a good bad guy!
“The best part about it was, two weeks into the schedule he said to me, ‘Jerry, I was thinking I’m having such a good time, I was thinking of having a little jam-session for the crew. Do you think that will be cool?’ I was blown away by this request. So we had a fifty person concert with Roger Daltrey. It was unbelievable! Roger Daltrey Unplugged! I was in awe of him, I was bringing him tea every moment I got, so much so, that I know the routine down pat.
“I’m working with a rock star! So, I’ve been brushing up on all my ‘Who’ lyrics and I’ve got every ‘Who’ CD just getting ready to get signed.”
· · ·
Kari Wuhrer, who guest starred in this episode as Captain Maggie Beckett, was similarly star struck.
“When I was five years old my mom took me to see Tommy and I was scared to death,” Wuhrer offers. “The whole thing with the beans coming out of the TV and the rock and roll music and the deaf, dumb and blind guy freaked me out. I hated rock and roll music, I was so afraid of The Who for years that I couldn’t listen to them.
“When I was 11, I started listening to the early Who and saw Quadrophenia and started getting into their music. I had this impression that Roger Daltrey was this drug addict womanizer. Then I came on to the set and there is this little elfin man, with the sweetest disposition, so family oriented, so intensely artistic and passionate, so in love with life… Clean as a whistle, doesn’t eat meat, is scolding anybody who does, doesn’t believe in drinking cold liquids [in order to preserve his voice] … Then we saw him play — he did this jam for us — and his voice was as pure and sensual as the early Who albums. I was blown away by him — I couldn’t believe it. I actually got the chance to sing with him, and it was amazing! I was upon stage going, ‘I’m on stage with Roger Daltrey!’ We became such good friends. He gave me his phone number and address in Sussex, and said, ‘Come on out and stay with the family’. I loved him so much — an incredible human being.”
· · ·
Jerry also spoke about the increased stunting necessary for this F/X laden episode.
“[There was] a lot of action,” he explains. “Kari and I did a lot of our own stunts and she was actually pressuring me to do more, because she was getting very physical on set, and I thought, ‘Well, if Kari’s getting that physical, I’d better step up a little bit!’ We did a lot of tumbling around, and I thought it looked great.”
· · ·
In the final version of the original script, the first part of this two part episode was written to end when Maggie collapses on the Mallory’s front lawn. The scene at the hospital was then written to open The Exodus, part Two. In that scene, the script calls for the doctor’s character to be 30 years old and look like ER’s Noah Wiley [sic]. The script also names the doctor “Dr. Baker.”
· · ·
The entire hospital scene was finalized on January 14, 1997.
· · ·
The original script revisions for part one happened as follows:
|Teleplay by||Tony Blake & Paul Jackson|
|Story by||John Rhys-Davies|
|Directed by||Jim Charleston|
|Music by||Stephen Graziano|
|Edited by||Edward Salier, A.C.E.|
|Previously:||The Last of Eden|
|Next:||The Exodus, part II|
Sliders is locked in civil war over its ideologies. On one side is a commitment to exploring intriguing parallel worlds. On the other? Action. Explosions. Low-grade pastiche. Which sensibility will win? It looks like we’ll find out at the conclusion of this two-parter.
In a militaristic America threatened with irradiation by a pulsar, a colonel decides who'll be saved — and who'll be left to die.