Last night, NBC brought back the time-travel procedural show Quantum Leap. You remember, the one from about 30 years ago, where every episode featured this one guy who traveled back in time, landed in someone else’s body and had to figure out what went wrong and how to make things right, all guided by a wisecracking hologram. You know, comfort food television. It was fun, it was entertaining.
And then the finale happened. Where a simple title card said that the main character, Dr. Sam Beckett, never made it home.
So what happened to him? Did he die during one of the leaps? Is he still out there, leaping away and we can’t see him?
We do not know.
But we do instead get a brand new Quantum Leap series, which just aired its premiere episode last night. Here’s a trailer of the new series.
Apparently the rules of the new Quantum Leap (which, for brevity’s sake, we’ll call “QL2”) are about the same. A new man (Dr. Ben Song) travels back in time, leaps into a person’s body – where he struggles to find out what went wrong and how to make things right, before leaping again. He is also guided by a holographic contact from the future – in this case, someone who was once his girlfriend.
And like the original Quantum Leap – sorry, “QL1” – QL2 builds its episodic tale on faint twists and turns. We think we know why Dr. Song is in this particular timeline, and we think we know who Dr. Song is supposed to rescue. And at nearly every commercial break, there’s a plot twist. You know, similar to the same pre-commercial break on a detective show where they arrest a suspect in the first 30 minutes, only to find out the suspect wasn’t the true criminal, but still connected to the eventual bad guy? Yeah, that formula.
QL2 has something different from QL1 – it actually features plotlines regarding the staff at Project Quantum Leap, the 2022-era time travel organization that monitors Dr. Song and tries to bring him back to their present time. This mostly involves a lot of dialogue about what went wrong and the morality of messing with time and a lot of hand-wringing about this and that.
Seems to remind me of another time-travel program from back in the day. Yeah, this one.
So I watched the first episode of QL2. It did a halfway decent job of trying to capture the excitement of the original series, but it still needed to hone in and the winsomeness and good feeling of its predecessor. It seemed more action-oriented and less dialogue-driven. And I’m still not keen on what appears to be a thwarted romantic connection between Dr. Song and his holographic guide. I mean, there was a bromance between Sam and Al in QL1, but that was based on the mutual storyline goals more than anything.
I tell you what, though. I’ll give this show a chance. I mean, I gave the last NBC time-travel show Timeless a chance, and it eventually won me over – even if it only lasted for two seasons and a wrap-up TV movie.
Okay, Quantum Leap 2 – prove to me that you’re worth keeping on my personal schedule.
A decades-old hiatus. Might have been a good time to bring back a decades-aged Scott Bakula.
Opening line: “I made it!”
“We can’t think up anything new so let’s remake an old favourite” formula. Destined to fail, thankfully, because it’s never going to be as good as the original. They treat stories like songs, which also rarely survive ‘cover’ versions. It’s just amazing they didn’t cast a woman as the lead as that’s the standard sop for not being able to write decent scripts for half the world’s population. Maybe it’s just cheaper to do this than pay good writers.
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