Subject: Captain Infinity's review of "Net Worth" From: Captain Infinity Newsgroups: alt.tv.sliders,alt.fan.tom-servo Date: 1999/01/12 Message-ID: <email@example.com> Spoiler Spaceship exhaust for the Slider's episode "Net Worth": "Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's...uh...shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That...that's about it." --Bubba Blue, "Forrest Gump" "Net Worth" held such promise. The producers and writers of this show know about "online", and there's certainly no shortage of folk who could advise them about "online romances". But when I heard Juliet's computer say "you've got mail" I knew we had hacked into a story written by someone who thinks AOL is the internet...and that we were in for a bumpy ride on a rickety roller coaster. "Hacked" is the keyword. (What's that you say? Her name wasn't Juliet? You're right. But it doesn't matter, because even if it had been it wouldn't have helped the story. You'll see why.) Actually, things felt "wrong" from the very beginning. I liked the idea of them sliding into a world where a physical obstruction blocks them, inches from each other (I think the "sliding into solid objects" idea holds promise, too, if a good writer can pull it off. Imagine a world where the inhabitants have the power to phase as energy through mass. Someone getting "stuck" would clearly be an outsider. But I digress.) The first thing that bothered me was the attack by a gang of would-be thugs who were clearly rejected auditionists for a bad remake of "A Clockwork Orange". Then the zap-ray from the building across the street. Then the impotent "security guards" in the building, seen once and never again, not even at the end when they are called. (I'd like to have seen their faces as they found one group of Offliners pointing automatic weapons at a second group of Offliners, while an Onliner makes kissy-face with yet another Offliner on the bed in the corner. It would certainly be something to talk about over coffee and donuts in the break room the next day.) My brow was knitted before the first Propecia commercial, and I feared a clunker episode. As a victim of an online romance myself, I can state as a fact that Juliet's first meeting with "Rick" was totally bunk. People who know each other well online do not act that way when they meet face to face. That she did not question Quinn's identity within ten seconds told me that the writer was taking shortcuts, ignoring the need to get the audience to "suspend disbelief" by *totally ignoring* the fact that such disbelief exists. This was sloppy and insulting writing. The girl playing the lead was not a bad actress, she just had bad material to play. Romeo (Rick) on the other hand, was as bland an actor as I ever hope to see. The Lead Thug (can you tell I've forgotten everyone's name?) could have taken the episode from bad drama to bad camp if he had tried a little harder. Hey, if someone is going to put a weapon in my hand and a giant eyelash tattoo on my face, you had better believe I'm going to slip into "Killer Klown" mode. The greatest problem I had with the episode was the feeling that this world was not populated. It was empty. I felt no sense of danger from any "outside forces", because no one lived there. The characters came and went as they pleased, taking great pains to make it look like they were struggling to get somewhere, but it was a cakewalk. The fact that the building recognized Juliet when it welcomed her back in with a retina scan told me that Onliners come and go from the building as they please. So what was the big deal with the garbage chute? If she can scan her way in, she can certainly scan her way out. Plus, when it scanned her in, the transparent doorway politely stayed open until the last of the long parade of thugs had entered. I guess if you have an escort, any number of Offliners are welcome to enter. In "Romeo and Juliet", the families kept the lovers apart. In this story it was supposedly the society fulfilling this function. But the way everyone moved from one society to the other, I never felt that this separation was any more than lip service paid to motivate shallow characters through a ridiculous plot. It was as transparent as the walls of the Onliner's building. And speaking of those, why the huge windows looking out on the outside if no one inside "thinks about it at all"? There were just too many contradictory items and events to make this one palatable. Rick, an Offliner since birth, finds a fully functional link...and knows how to use it? Even to the point of hacking it so that it clamps down on an unauthorized user? The thugs have a burning desire to get in the building, and a bazooka capable of blowing away the entire floor of a building...but they never use such on the puny transparent doors of the online building? Doors that are protected by automatic zap rays, conceivably because they're so vulnerable to such attacks that shoving someone into one of them is enough to set off the ray? Many parts of this episode reminded me of the recently re-run "Welcome To Paradox" episode "Hemeac". I found "Hemeac" to be boring, overall, but even it had more real tension than "Net Worth"...and better acting. Had the Sliders been removed from "Net Worth" there may have been enough available time to make this episode enjoyable. Not to dis the Sliders, but they added nothing to this episode. Remmy and Colin were unused, wasted, Maggie was (as usual lately) too much the doe-eyed puppy-love teenager, and Quinn displayed none of the problem-solving brilliance I expect and want to see from him. He should have been wearing and using a head link within minutes...and making improvements to it. And I gather from the previews that the next episode will be another "Evil twin from a mirror dimension" episode. Slider's seems to be sliding into creative bankruptcy. This is depressing, as the show has always held such promise. After all, there's "a thousand worlds" out there...so why are they visiting the boring and implausible ones?
Previous Review Next Review
contents are Copyright © Captain Infinity Productions.
All Usenet posts reproduced herein are the copyrighted intellectual property of the poster named in the "From" header.