“Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished. He awoke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own, and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so, Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.”
As a kid, watching tv with the family there were only a few shows that would fly in our household. That being said almost all television in the nineties were practically family shows. Primetime tv was usually family time together in front of the tube. I remember looking forward to TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) on ABC… I think, were the line up was mostly comedy shows that quite frankly is embarrassing to watch now.
Quantum Leap, however, was one of the first drama’s on primetme that blended sci-fi, humor and heart and did it so sucessfully my whole family could enjoy it. It had something for everyone. The chemestry between Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell as Sam and Al is great fun. They seem to be perpetuatly put in hillarious scenarios which would result in Sam uttering the show’s catch phrase: “Oh Boy.” Remember when characters had catch phrases? The time travel aspect added not only to the comedy, but it was through this sci-fi mainstay the show recieved it’s nostalgia badge. The series started airing in 1989 so the future according to the show was 1995. So the past he visited was very relatable, to many viewers. Another thing QL was famous for was tackling issues. The writing was so well put together their could be an episode dedicated to one hot topic like, say racism, and we would watch Sam try to help people come together while in the body of a KKK member.
While in England I happened to find a few DVD boxsets with the show and I bought the cheapest one which happened to be season four. I gotta tell ya! just watching the show again was huge fun. And there is virtually nothing outdated about it besides the “futuristic” pimp outfits Al would wear which ironically look more 80’s then anything else in the series.
I’ll never forget a few episodes that involved:
Sam meeting and Evil female version of himself. She even had an evil female Al. That one I can’t wait to see again.
Sam leaps into the body of girl who was just raped. This one was incedibly powerful.
Sam and Al switch places! The fourth season opens up with a bit of roll reversal that is short lived but it’s fun!
Sam leaps into Al as a young man and almost gets him sent to jail which results in a scary what if moment with and alternate Al who’s more the prissy english butler type. (Possibly the previous incarnation of the character before settling on the Al we know.)
Sam leaps into the body of a space chimp. Nuff said.
Sam leaps into his great grand father and takes part in the civil war.
Sam leaps into Lee Harvey Oswald and attempts to stop the assassination of JFK. (Which was an awesome tv movie.)
And of course the bitter/sweet final episode.
After watching a full season of the show I was thinking if it was time for a Quantum Leap (reboot) using the same formula but adding a bit of modern sensibilities not to mention all the stories you can tell in the time since the show’s end.
Well that’s my short retrospective .. (I guess) of a great show from my childhood that’s still good today!