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
and this just in
Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, The (Epix 2018, Patrick Dempsey, Ben Schnetzer)
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair stars Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominated actor Patrick Dempsey in the title...
Hilda (Netflix 2018)
A production of Silvergate Media, the makers of Octonauts, in collaboration with Mercury Filmworks, Hilda transforms the Eisner-Award nominated graphic...
Dead Lucky (SBS – Sundance 2018, Rachel Griffiths, Yoson An)
Dead Lucky is a gripping crime thriller told from multiple perspectives. Detective Grace Gibbs (Griffiths) is obsessed with catching the...
Mr Inbetween (FX 2018, Scott Ryan, Damon Herriman)
Ray Shoesmith is a father, ex-husband, boyfriend and best friend: tough roles to juggle in the modern age. Even harder...
Bandit of Sherwood Forest, The (Columbia 1946, Cornel Wilde, Anita Louise)
Cornel Wilde dons a pair of tights and cries ‘History be damned!’ in terrific Hollywood romp The Bandit of Sherwood...
Single Parents: Sleepover Ready (ABC 3 Oct 2018)
Sleepover Ready: Douglas is stuck hosting the kids’ Saturday sleepover, and Will uses this as an opportunity to try to...
Carter: Kiki-Loki (WGN Run 18 Sep 2018)
Kiki-Loki: Harley gets in on a big-budget commercial alongside a famous Japanese mascot. Original Airdate: 2018-06-26 WGN Airdate: 18 September...
The Paynes: A Payneful Hunch (OWN 21 Sep 2018)
A Payneful Hunch: Curtis and Nyla make a truce. Airdate: 21 September 2018 Season 1, Episode 28 With: Cassi Davis,...
Tales of Manhattan (TCF 1942, W.C.Fields, Rita Hayworth)
Thirteen screenwriters (including Ben Hecht, Donald Ogden Stewart, and even an uncredited Buster Keaton) and a long list of stars...
China Moon (1994, Ed Harris, Madeleine Stowe)
A top notch cast raises the temperature of tight, modern noir China Moon in which homicide detective ED HARRIS becomes...
Maximum Overdrive (1986, Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle)
Stephen King was the first to admit that the plot for his debut feature Maximum Overdrive (about a comet’s tail...