Time travel? Been there. Body switching? Done that. Time traveling into somebody else’s body? Friend, you got yourself a TV series!
Quantum Leap may have sounded like a gimmicky sci-fi drama on paper, but the accent was on the drama, not the gimmick. Through four prime time seasons, this show gave us a chance to look through a new set of eyes each week, exploring issues of gender, race, religion, and even rock and roll. It was an ambitious leap for a sci-fi series, but Quantum Leap made it work.
The leaping started back in 1995 (which was actually the near future when the show debuted in 1989), when quantum physicist Dr. Sam Beckett built a machine that would allow anyone to “leap” into different times within his or her lifespan. But the testing process went awry when Sam, ignoring the advice of supercomputer “Ziggy,” stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator… and vanished.
It took some time for Sam to figure out what was going on, but we’ll skip the discovery process to give you the lowdown: Sam not only leapt through time (to 1956 at first), he leapt into the body of another person. Rear Admiral “Al” Calavicci (an associate on the Quantum Leap project) was able to reach Sam as a hologram, visible only to Sam himself. To leap back out, Sam had to right some historical wrong—always personal, never anything major like terrorist bombings or presidential assassinations (though he did leap into Lee Harvey Oswald’s body)—but he never knew exactly what needed fixing. Al had communication with “Ziggy” back at the project lab, but that process only gave probabilities, not absolute fact.
When Sam did right the wrong, he leaped on to a new body, nearly always stuck in some awkward situation (a prizefight, a courtroom, a magic act, the electric chair, and so on). After uttering a despaired, “Oh, boy,” Sam did his best to figure out the problem, and—with Al and Ziggy’s help—fix it.
Others saw Sam as the person whose life he had leapt into, but animals and small children were harder to fool. To the adults, Sam was his new identity, and if that made him a black chauffer in the heat of the civil rights movement, a pregnant woman near her due date, psychologist Dr. Ruth, or even an Air Force test chimp, then so be it.
Every so often, Sam leaped into situations out of his or Al’s own past, including the fan favorite “M.I.A.” and “The Leap Home” episodes. Here, the temptation to play God was great. There were plenty of heartbreaking failures (or seeming failures) along the way, and as the series progressed, it seemed that Sam’s paths were guided less by the Quantum Leap accelerator and more by some sort of divine power. These suspicions were confirmed in the 1993 series finale, an open-ended mystery that baffled some fans and left others begging for more.
Unfortunately, more Quantum Leap was nowhere on the horizon. The show had never been a Top-20 smash, but critical praise and a very loyal following of “leapers” had kept Quantum Leap running for four seasons. Those same fans have kept the show alive in syndication, hoping that one day the leaping will begin again either on the small or big screen.
USA / NBC – Belisarius Prods. – Universal TV / 2×90 minute episodes 94×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 26 March 1989 – 15 August 1993
Creator and Producer: Donald P. Bellisario / Music: Velton Ray Brunch
SCOTT BAKULA as Dr Sam Beckett
DEAN STOCKWELL as Al Calavicci
Clochemerle (BBC-2 1972, Cyril Cusack, Roy Dotrice)
Period sitcom, based on a novel by Gabriel Chevallier that was adapted by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, that saw the French villagers of Clochemerle kick up a fuss over plans to install a new toilet.
CYRIL CUSACK as Major Piechut
ROY DOTRICE as Ponosse
KENNETH GRIFFITH as Ernest Tafardel
WENDY HILLER as Justine Putet
HUGH GRIFFITH as Alexandre Bourdillat
BERNARD BRESSLAW as Nicholas the Beadle
MADELINE SMITH as Hortase Girodet
GEORGINA MOON as Rose Biraque
PETER USTINOV as Narrator
Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson
Novel: Gabriel Chevallier
Producer: Michael Mills
Network and Production Companies: BBC Two – Bavaria
Duration: 9×30 minute episodes
Aired From: 18 February – 14 April 1972 Fridays at 10.05pm
Clairvoyant, The (BBC-2 1986, Roy Kinnear, Sandra Dickinson)
In Roy Clarke penned sitcom The Clairvoyant used car salesman Arnold Bristow is knocked down in a car accident and suddenly finds himself with psychic powers – or so he believes. There was a pilot broadcast 27 Nov 1984.
ROY KINNEAR as Arnold Bristow
SANDRA DICKINSON as Lily
HUGH LLOYD as Burma
SHAUN CURRY as Newton
GLYNIS BROOKS as Dawn
CARMEL CRYAN as Carmen
Writer: Roy Clarke
Producer and Director: Alan J.W. Bell
Network and Production Companies: BBC-2
Duration: 6×30 minute episodes
Aired From: Pilot – 27 November 1984 and Series – 15 May – 19 June 1986
Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)
Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017
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