Many have commented in the past how Sliders is one of the most original science fiction concepts to grace television in a long time...if not all time. That may be true...but what about of all media? There are some very interesting precursors to Sliders that make you wonder - Did the creators view these works in coming up with the idea or is it chalked up to "delayed" synchronicity? You be the judge.
First of all, special thanks to Gharlane of Eddore and Julian Buczek of alt.tv.sliders for supplying this information on "Doorways".
Of all the items listed here, this one hits the closest to home...a little too close really.
The George R. R. Martin ABC pilot film, "Doorways," has the base plot system of having fugitives fleeing through parallel worlds, pursued by Noxious Aliens, carrying a device that tells them where and when the next Doorway opens...and "Doorways" was first shown to an audience in fall of 1992, and completed for network submission in spring of 1993. (Two years before the first "Sliders" episode aired.) Unfortunately, the "Doorways" Pilot was never aired in the United States even though it is readily available on video throughout Europe and Asia.
Another little tid bit, Sliders fans should be very thankful to the series "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman". The reason I say this is because ABC had a decision between two shows for development...on one hand was "Doorways" and on the other was "Lois and Clark". As you know, "Lois and Clark" won out and thus "Doorways" never saw the light of day on American television...but if "Doorways" had been chosen to make into a series, then it is very likely Fox would not have developed Sliders into being.
Also, there is this bit of a review from television critic Evelyn C. Leeper:
"[Sliders] seems to be "heavily influenced" by
George R. R. Martin's unsold DOORWAYS, which also had
"doorways" into alternate worlds. And oddly
enough, Martin reports that the creator of SLIDERS
[Tracy Torm'e] is a writer whose agent once approached
Martin asking about a staff position on DOORWAYS;
the agent said the writer had read Martin's script and
"loved" the idea. Of course, this could be just another
coincidence....After having seen the "Doorways" pilot personally, it certainly doesn't seem to have had much relation to Sliders. The plot involved these beast like people who are ruled by a giant talking cloud that come to earth in search of a fugitive from their earth (a woman who decided to no longer be servile). There she meets an emergency room doctor and they end up traveling to the next world (via a doorway) with no way back to our earth. The best part of the movie is the last few seconds...as they end up landing on top of Mt. Rushmore with the faces of Davy Crockett, Geronimo and a few others I didn't recognize (since it would have been more appropriately named Mt. Claymation). And radius? None here...they just landed anywhere and everywhere apparently all over the world...and had a compass to find where the next naturally occurring doorway would be and how long till it appeared.
So...as you can see, there are some similarities if you stretch it further than silly putty. Tracy Tormé has personally commented to the allegation saying that he never saw the Doorways pilot until after Sliders was already in the works and that his supposed interest in "Doorways" is a complete fabrication.
Famed Science Fiction writer Robert Heinlein (Starship Troopers and Puppert Masters amoung many credits) wrote a novel in 1983 called "The Number of the Beast". While surely not one of his best works (in fact, it is considered by most to be his worst), the first half is rather interesting.
You see, this novel is the story of four PHD mathematicians...a 40 something professor, his young male protege', his protege's girlfriend and the professor's wife. They are all somewhat "chums" and the professor shares with them his latest invention. He calls it a "Continuacraft"...in actuality is a device just a little smaller than a toaster that you can mount in your car...and it allows you to travel through parallel dimensions. The professor of the novel had determined that the number of dimensions out there was six to the sixth power to the sixth power, hence the number of the beast. The problem is, there is no way to control where you end up...you just turn it on and see where you go.
You think that sounds familiar, just wait...there's more. During some of their early travels, the scientists run upon an alternate race of evolved lizards known as "The Men in Black Hats". This race is bent on conquering the multiverse and has conquered many dimensions by the time our scientists find them maninly because they can control interdimensional travel. In fact, the Men in Black Hats chase the main characters for a portion of the book due to something they did and eventually follow the scientists back to their prime earth which they destroy.
Heinlein used this book mainly as a vehicle of remembrance because he had these four characters travel through each of his previous books and meet with the characters of those stories and interact with them...until finally coming upon Lazarus Long (Heinlein's favorite creation...an immortal who due to some bizarre time paradox is his own great grandfather) where the story was taken over by Lazarus and the story of the four fell into the back.
Now, is it just me...or is all of this just a little too on target? With only slight modifications here and there...you have the entire concept of Sliders...Kromaggs included. And this book was written 12 years before our show was even on the screen. Hmmmmmmmm....
In the August 1998 issue of Sci-Fi Entertainment, you can find on pages 26 and 27 a short piece that sounds familiar...the article is by Steven Puchalski:
"One of the most imaginative sci-fi films of the early '60's was the relatively low budgeted "The Time Travelers" (HBO). While budgeted and distributed like any B-movie, director-scriptwriter Ib Melchior mixes end-of-mankind clichés with extremely clever moments, which make this a welcome addition to the genre. It begins with a group of 20th-century scientists who're experimenting with a time window, which accidentally opens a doorway leading to the year 2071.
Journeying through this collapsing portal, the quartet (consisting of one elder scientist, one hunky hero, one babe, and one comic relief assistant) are trapped in the desolate 21st century. As usual, they have to fend off savage mutants, and soon discover humans who fled underground before war turned the Earth into "a burnt out, sterile slag in space." Along with their Conehead like androids, they now plan on ditching this dead planet and rocketing to Alpha Centauri in order to screw up some other world. It's all capped off by a full-scale mutant attack, plus a new time portal, which not only leads them back home, but jump starts an intriguingly subversive finale. At first glance, this is just another cheap-jack sci-fi flick with low tech sets, a little cheesecake, and some lackluster romance. But there are plenty of interesting twists along the way, such as the fact the above ground mutants are only angry because they're starving to death - while the supposedly civilized humans are ready to gun down any mutant in cold blood, and plan on leaving the newcomers behind. There's also the top notch cinematography from a young Vilmos Zsigmond, long before hitting the big time with "CE3K" and "The Deer Hunter", and even a cameo by "Famous Monsters" illustrious Forrest J. Ackerman." END
Replace that "time window" with an interdimensional vortex and imagine this was a third season episode ;-D and it looks pretty familiar to me...
Sliders is a copyright of St. Clare Entertainment and Universal Studios and was produced in association with Sci-Fi Channel (at the time it stopped production).