Picks and Pans Review: Sliders

updated 03/27/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/27/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

Fox (Wed., March 22, 8 p.m. ET)

B-

Fox, home of the supernatural, introduces another "speculative" series. In his basement, a San Francisco graduate student and inventor (Jerry O'Connell) accidentally discovers a gateway leading to other worlds. These alternate universes actually look a lot like ours except that a few key elements will be out-of-kilter or reversed. Elvis might be alive, or a green traffic light might require motorists to stop. The Bay Area might be an Arctic region, or it could be under the thumb of a communist police state.

O'Connell's fellow travelers include his physics prof (John Rhys-Davies), his coworker at a computer store (Sabrina Lloyd) and a soul singer (Cleavant Derricks) who was driving down the street at the wrong time and passed through O'Connell's floating portal with his Cadillac convertible. As this foursome "slide" from one looking-glass world to another, they often encounter altered versions of themselves.

The drama is sci-fi lite, rendered with gee-whiz energy and a sense of levity. And it's frivolous and under-imagined. That was also true of Quantum Leap—yet that show had its loyal advocates. If you liked Leap, you should definitely be in front of the set for Sliders. I, however, will not be joining you.

After this 2-hour premiere, the series assumes its regular slot: Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET.

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