(Possible spoilers in the following, I'll try not to let to much out for those who haven't seen it, but keep in mind the show ended over 7 years ago).
I had only seen about 20-25 minutes of the pilot episode one late night on Sci-Fi when I was like 14 maybe. Other than that I knew very little about the show, but I got all of the seasons and started watching.
It started out as being a very interesting idea. With a concept of each new show partaking in an entirely different world, it really kept me excited to see what the next episode was going to be about, and what kind of world they were going to be in. Quinn Malory (Jerry O'Connell) was a very interesting character to introduce the show and I liked him a lot. The rest of the cast was strong as well. Wade Wells seemed like pretty standard fair for the cute tag-along girl, but I liked her. I hated Rembrandt at first because they tried to make him the zany black guy who would always make some goofy comment on the situation, but he got better. The best of the show was of course, Maximilian Arturo (John Rhys-Davies, also played Sallah in Indiana Jones, and Gimli in The Lord of the Rings, in other words he's awesome), and he really made the show for me, and kept me watching. It was off to a good start.
The first two seasons were, and no one would disagree with this, the best of the series. The writing was fresh, the budget was decent for a Sci-Fi series (at the time), and the characters got better as they were more developed. Their predicaments while sometimes rehashed, were still interesting and relatively plausible. I would watch several episodes a day because I wanted to see what was going to happen.
Then the third season started. Now, most people would say that this was the beginning of the end, and that it got worse as the show went on, and I know what they're talking about. However, that really isn't true, this was the worst season of the entire series, and let me tell you why. Every single episode for that entire season, had some of the worst writing I have ever seen. There wasn't one original, creative, or interesting thought put into any episode. All they ever did was rehash some kind of science fiction movie or story, make a "world" out of it, and then throw in some detective story where the 4 of them had to figure out a way to help the damsel in distress for that particular episode (note, every time they slid into a world, it just happened to be about 20 feet away from some girl being mugged). This is what John Rhys-Davies had to say about the show at this point.
[quote=John Rhys-Davies (Maximillian Arturo)]
"I like SF. I love intelligent SF. We had the most wonderful series concept with Sliders, but we did everything that had been done before and we did it every damned episode. We did Species. We did Tremors. We did Twister. We did War of the Worlds. We did The Island of Dr. Moreau. It was out of control, just out of control. In the end, Sliders wasn't the worst experience I ever had. I was just disappointed. Again, I love SF. I'm a passionate believer in Sliders. The series could have been great. The public always understood that of Sliders. The public understood that you could go anywhere in the galaxy. The writers, though, would try to graft a Law and Order story, or something they had done or seen before, onto Sliders and just make the characters work around it."[/quote]
And he was right. Even though many people thought he had left the show because he didn't like it anymore, that isn't true. He was actually fired. On top of the fact that he was openly mocking the writers for their lack of creativity, there was a new high-up at Fox during the third season of the show. Apparently John Rhys-Davies was at a party for the opening of Sliders where John had gotten a little drunk, and made some rude remarks to a particular executive at Fox. That same person became in charge of some of the scheduling and large decisions about certain shows a couple years later. Big spoiler ahead [spoiler] The combination of these facts led to John being killed in the show, and let go from his contract in the middle of season 3. [/spoiler] Now like I said, most people thought it only got worse. Season 4 started and two of the main characters were now gone, Wade and Professor Arturo. The show was also now being produced on Sci-Fi instead of Fox. They replaced one of the characters with a new hot girl, Maggie Beckett. She was alright, but I hated her at first because it was like we weren't supposed to like her she was so cruel to everyone. She ended up being ok though after Wade left the show (who by the way, left because she couldn't work with Kari Wuhrer). So now there are three sliders for the time being. But guess what, the show wasn't that bad anymore. The budget was cut, and only half the original cast remained, but they weren't in **** remakes of old sci-fi movies anymore. The writing got better for the most part (though not always), and the worlds they visited often became very interesting. They also ended up throwing in a new character eventually, Quinn Malory's brother from another world (the actor was actually Quinn's (Jerry O'Connell's) brother in real life as well). He wasn't the best actor, but I enjoyed his character for some reason. I guess he reminded me of Jerry and I like him a lot.
Now here's why so many people believed the show only got worse and worse after season 3, it was because they were so attached to the original cast. Now, I was too, and they definitely were the best and most compelling. But the characters weren't really what "made" Sliders. It was the idea that they could visit any world and be in any situation. It was a show with limitless possibilities and incredibly interesting situations. That's why it was good, and that's why the third season was so awful. They had an infinite number of possible worlds and story lines, and they just stole ideas from old movies instead.
Anyway, season 5 came along, and the only remaining member was Rembrandt. As I said before, I hated him at first, but he got much better as time went on. The more serious he got, the more likeable he became, and he ended up being the strongest remaining member of the cast. The first episode of this season was absolutely brutal to watch I must admit, it was the worst episode of the series, where they through together some queer story about Quinn and his brother Colin being either "unstuck", or trapped in another person. The replacement cast was the weakest, but again, it isn't really the cast that made the show, it was the ideas that were brought up and it was still better than season 3.
The show ended on a cliffhanger, which was really lame. They hadn't decided whether they were going to renew the show for another season or not (although they were fairly certain they weren't) and at the last minute they threw in a cliffhanger just in case. Of course the word came down that it would not be renewed and that was that.
-Sliders was a sweet show with a good cast at first
-The writing became god awful in season 3
-Sci-Fi picked up the show for season 4, and although the original cast was cut in half at this point, and the budget went down, the show got better
-Season 5 was pretty rough but still better than 3, with an almost entirely new cast
-This was a long review, but it was after watching the show for about 3 months straight
-I was ecstatic when I found this site, as it explained a lot of the behind the scenes info on the show, which is what I was really interested in when they started letting characters go and all the rocky situations with the development of the show was evident. [url=http://www.dimensionofcontinuity.com/index.htm]Sliders - The Dimension of Continuity[/url]
Check it out if you're interested.