Headscarves ahoy for Sliders new and old Can Sliders survive without Jerry O’Connell? With newcomer Robert Floyd playing Mallory, we say yes!
By David Richardson.
Excerpt selected from Xposé #36

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Robert Floyd can’t wait to talk to Xposé! It’s the middle of March, and I’m sitting on the set of Sliders while scenes are being shot for the penultimate episode of season five, Dust. Throughout the day I’ve had the opportunity to interview different members of the cast, and Floyd has patiently awaited his turn. This is his first TV series, and his eager enthusiasm is wonderfully refreshing.

It’s this boundless energy and verve that brought the actor to the attention of the Sliders producers, when they were casting two new leads for season five. Jerry O’Connell who, as Quinn Mallory, had led the series since its debut in 1995, has chosen not to return, along with his brother Charlie, who played Colin. In their place, enter Floyd as the ‘melded’ Mallory and Tembi Locke as physicist Diana Davis.

“I was Quinn’s alternate in another world,” Floyd explains. “When he is in the wormhole we are merged through a crazy experiment by Dr Geiger.” In the first few episodes, as Mallory adjusts to having some of Quinn’s memories and persona within his head, so Floyd would have to impersonate O’Connell. And he achieves an astonishingly close match…

“I watched a lot of the old roles that he did,” the actor says. “He often weighs his words when he speaks, and that made his character very powerful. There are times, especially in the beginning episodes, when I tried to slide into that until I really started to find my character, who is really just Mallory. He tends to be a bit more of a live wire and he gets into a lot of trouble but it definitely adds a lot of fun.”

For the established Sliders, Rembrandt (Cleavant Derricks – now the longest serving member of the cast) and Maggie (Kari Wuhrer), the apparent deaths of their friends and the arrival of Mallory and Diana is something of a shock. And Mallory is a very different person altogether…

“The original Quinn was a genius, and I’m very street smart,” Floyd defines. “I’m very quick in that aspect, but I’m not [intellectually] smart at all. In the beginning it’s great because Mallory has no idea what the word ‘Team’ means. He’s only about himself, so a lot of the times when he gets into trouble it’s just not through trusting, not from being able to realize that there’s somebody there, because he never had a real family. Rembrandt teaches him so much about life and how to stay out of trouble and how to trust again. It’s neat."

At the time of this interview, the latest Sliders cast were shooting their 17th episode together. It’s pleasing to report that the chemistry between them was very much in evidence; everyone’s happy, relaxed and working hard, and that shows in the finished product. The departure of Jerry O’Connell may have been a blow, but by no means is it the end of the show...

David Richardson

Read the full interview in Xposé #36

Image © Sci-Fi Channel