Aug 29, 2012

Sliders






If Time Tunnel got everything right, Sliders (1995-2000) got everything wrong.  This time four people are lost among infinite parallel dimensions, zapping at random through a world where the British won the Revolutionary War, a world where the 1967 "Summer of Love" never ended, and so on.  Jerry O'Connell (previously of Stand By Me and My Secret Identity) starred as the sullen but hunky physics student Quint; the others were his physics professor (John Rhys-Davies), his platonic gal-pal (Sabrina Lloyd), and a R&B singer who just happened to be driving by at the wrong moment (Cleavant Derricks).


The hunk factor was immense.  Jerry O'Connell is no stranger to beefcake shots; really, the only reason to rent his moves (Body Shots, Tomcats, Buying the Cow) is to fast-forward to the inevitable underwear scene.  In Sliders his body was on display, often, but always when he was romancing a woman or being tortured by men.












Whatever the parallel world they zap into, men exist to befriend and then betray you; they always have an ulterior motive, they always are in league with the enemy.  Women exist to be rescued, to offer alliances,  and to fall in love with men.  

And there were no gay characters, no gay themes, no nothing.  Everyone in every parallel world was heterosexual.  This is surprising, since John Rhys-Davies played gay characters elsewhere, and Jerry O'Connell is one of the most gay-friendly actors in Hollywood. 

But maybe not surprising.  Science fiction as a genre has been very resistant to gay characters. After thirty years and eight different series, there are no gay characters in any Star Trek franchise.  None in Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Stargate -- well, actually, none anywhere.  Producers continue to dream of gay-free new worlds.


1 comment:

  1. Season 4 of Sliders did feature a scene at the begining of one episode where the lead characters have just left a dance club all night. Quinn's innocent and sheltered brother Colin asks "Why those two women were dancing togther?" Maggie explains that they were actually two men dressed like women, and the characters well meaningly agree that they're ok with that.
    There is a recurring character of a bartender in the early seasons that seemed like he was supposed to be gay. It wasn't spelled out, but neither was he ever hinted at being straight either.
    An earlier episode also feature Rembrandt going thru a pregnancy on a world where men had to carry a baby for part of the pregnancy, which is subverting gender roles. Another episode featured a world where women were the dominant gender. It's not Torchwood, but it's no worse and probably better at dealing with gay issues than most sci fi shows of the era.
    For what it's worth, the show suffered a lot from creative differences between the show's creator and the networks.
    Actress Sabrina Lloyd played a teen lesbian in a tv special.

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