Picks and Pans Review: Sliders

updated 06/15/1998 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/15/1998 01:00AM

Sci-Fi Channel (Mondays, 9 p.m. ET)

The premise of this adventure series (which slid off the FOX network in 1997 after three seasons and resurfaces this month on the Sci-Fi Channel with 22 new episodes) has always struck me as a lot niftier than its execution. Jerry O'Connell (Scream 2), Cleavant Derricks and Kari Wuhrer return as dimension-tripping travelers who wander from one parallel Earth to another. Each is weirdly different from our own: religious fundamentalists prevail in one world, Internet junkies rule another, drug pushers infest a third. Yet there is a tiresome similarity to the plots: In almost every episode our plucky heroes are captured by the reigning totalitarian regime only to be rescued by the local resistance group.

Conspicuously missing is John Rhys-Davies, who played Professor Arturo, the bombastic yet charismatic mentor to physics whiz Quinn (O'Connell, who's also a producer). Rhys-Davies wanted out, so Arturo was killed off. Bad move. But hang tough, Sliders fans. Among the new wrinkles this season: Quinn learns he has an older brother, Colin (played by real-life lookalilke younger sib Charlie O'Connell, who joins the cast in July). This week, though, it's still the same old story, as the Sliders are imprisoned by Nazi-like humanoids called Kromaggs, holdover villains from last season. Not to worry, though: Our heroes quickly get sprung by...Vive la RĂ©sistance!

Bottom Line: Game cast battles lame scripts

Terry Kelleher is on leave.

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