I normally only watched about 2-3 shows a year when in middle & high school, so most of the shows I did watch I usually remember very well. One of those exciting shows I had to watch every week was Sliders. And the death of one of those characters made me want to see a story about his return.
Quinn Mallory invents a portal to another dimension, but you must set a time limit to go to the other dimension on a device called a timer. He brings along his Professor (Arturo) and his friend (Wade Wells), but their first test run accidentally brings along an R&B singer driving by their house (Rembrant Brown). They land in a world of intense cold, where they will all die, so Quinn forces the timer to return home. However, by forcing the timer to go somewhere, instead of letting it count down to the return portal to home, they all find themselves in an alternate world where the Nazi’s took over the world. From episode to episode, they enter worlds that are unusual, exciting, and sometimes try to make a point about our society to the extreme. Also, every character was intersting in some way.
Then, at the end of Season 2, they introduced the 5th Slider: Maggie Becket.
She was a soldier that loses her world and her husband, and joins the others Sliders on their quest to find their way home, and hopefully find a home of her own. However, not before Professor Aturo makes a sacrifice and takes a bullet meant for Quinn before they jump into a portal. And with that, Professor Arturo dies, and the Sliders have a Season 3 recurring enemy they want revenge on.
But wait a second, the set-up for his return was already in place.
You see, in Season 2, Episode 18, the Sliders return home, or so they think. The world is exactly like theirs in almost every way (but later they will find slight differences so minor to prove it isn’t theirs), so they decide to stay for what I think is at least a month. Wade publishes a book on their adventures, and the Professor, Quinn, and Rembrant all get national acclaim. But, then the Professor starts to act very strange. It seems a group of Sliders exactly like them had already been there, and a duplicate of the Professor kidnaps their Professor and tries to be him so he can go Sliding with them and find his way home. However, the set-up is exposed, the two Professor Arturo’s fight, and one of them jumps through the portal. The one left behind has a shock on his face, as if to say, “Oh my god, they just got the wrong Professor!” This was not a “Curses, my evil plan is foiled,” face.
I’m not alone here. Rembrant sees a psychologist and narrates this episode, stating at the end he doesn’t know if they have the right Professor or not. And I must not be the only one who wanted him back, because in the last episode of Season 5, a world that worships the Sliders has the Professor brought back from the dead on their version of the Sliders TV show.
What should have happened, was that the fake Professor died (5 episode after he appeared, by the way), because he became a better person as he got to know the regular cast. At some point in Season 3, an episode should have ended with a portal opening, and Professor Arturo being the only one jumping out of it. The Cliffhanger would cause people to go, “What?”. You could even do this for 3-5 episodes, with him being too late in tracking his friends, or even not show him at all and just show someone tracking them to build mystery. Just say he copied Quinn’s timer designs and designed a way to follow their Sliding trail; it’s not too much of a stretch. Then, one episode would deal with the Professor finally catching up to his friends, and having to explain that he was the real one, and that a fake died in his place. Drama and dis-trust follows, but the Professor saves all their lives, knows their Season 1 & 2 adventures down to the detail, and proves he is one of them. He then joins them for the rest of the show.
Instead, we got dumbed-down episodes because Fox wanted to be safe, recurring Kro-Mag episodes that overstayed their welcome in Seasons 3 & 4, and a Quinn that didn’t look like Quinn because the actor didn’t have time to be on the show. However, I did like Quinn’s brother and Doctor Diana Davis.
However, I’m sure I’m not the only kid to think this theory, nor was I the only one to wish for future episodes that were in my head. I wanted them to go into a world where their doubles had actually used their Sliding technology to conquer the world, and in that world Wade was now a vampire, Quinn was a cyborg, Rembrant used magic (come on, I was in high school), and the Professor had the largest army in the world at his command. They would have to fight doubles that were more powerful than them in every conceivable way, with each of their doubles reflecting something within themselves that they either were afraid of or were afraid of becoming. Yeah, not really a budget for that episode. Oh well, that’s what the Sliders comic books are for (which is a thing that exists and the stories are actually very good).