Thursday, April 19, 2012

Blogging A to Z: Quantum Leap

Throwback time! The letter "Q" proves a tricky one for TV show titles. Nothing with a Q is currently on, so I'm going with a classic sci-fi show from the early 1990s: Quantum Leap.

My memories of Quantum Leap involve rainy days inside with my friend who didn't have cable. It was probably in reruns by the time I watched them. Since not much sci-fi existed on TV in this era, looking back I see it developed quite a cult following. When it exited in 1993, a new breed of sci-fi was about to take over with the start of The X Files that fall. To understand one show's success, sometimes you have to shift back to what came before it to truly appreciate the medium's progression.

Scott Bakula's Sam, a physicist, is burdened with spontaneous jumps through time after one of his time travel experiments goes haywire. But he's not himself when he lands in another era, he embodies someone else, usually to help prevent some kind of potential catastrophe. You can already imagine the possibilities -- Sam jumps into the body of a pregnant woman! (He does jump into the body of Dr. Ruth the sex therapist). He's aided by his friend Al who appears as a hologram. Think of it as Highway to Heaven meets Dr. Who. 

Apparently, the show ended abruptly and the season 5 cliffhanger was re-edited as a series finale. If only twitter had existed; the mantra six seasons and a movie (originated by Community fans when the show was left off NBC's 2012 spring schedule) is completely appropriate. Coincidence? Quantum Leap also aired on NBC.

Why You Should Watch: While it's campy (especially by today's standards), it's still an entertaining show that mixes sci-fi, drama and comedy. Sure the special effects are bad, but who cares? So was/is Dr. Who and people love it (don't hate me Who fans but the effects still leave much to be desired). The strength of Quantum Leap is in the storytelling, and some of the stories are surprisingly issue oriented.

Factoid: Dean Stockwell, who played Al, showed up on another geektastic show, the Battlestar Galactica reboot (totally worth watching). Check out his IMdB profile: he's been acting steadily for over 65 years!


  1. I remember watching this show. Wasn't one of my favorites, but it was interesting. I'm feeling nostalgic today because of the death of Dick Clark. He was so much a part of my childhood.

  2. Loved this show when I was a kid. Great show for Q.

  3. I saw a few episodes when I was younger. What you said about considering the times in order to understand a show's popularity makes perfect sense.

  4. I used to love this show. There was an episode of Community where an episode of Quantum Leap was on a television in the background.

    And you're right about the BSG reboot. Frakking awesome.

  5. I flipping love and miss this show!!! i love your topic for the A-Z challenge...can't wait to catch up on the other ones!!! :D

  6. I've never seen an episode of this show, but my husband kept mentioning it when we watched Scott Bakula in Enterprise.

    I agree with you and M.J.— the new BSG is fantastic!

  7. Every once in a while I'll still have a Quantum Leap moment and I'll wonder what it would be like to take someone's place (a politician, a baseball player, etc.). Great premise. I could totally see this being rebooted.

  8. I used to LOVE Quantum Leap. I was supposed to be in bed at 10 during the week, but my mom was taking night classes, so on Wednesday nights I stayed up to watch it and she never knew.

  9. OMG, I remember seeing this show when I was a kid! Total blast from the past!

    Also, I think I'm the only person alive who couldn't get into the new BSG. It kind of makes me sad. :(

  10. I caught bits of it here and there, but didn't watch it regularly. I remember the world with lawyers where everyone sued. They got right out of there!

  11. Good choice for Q - never watched the show, tho, even when it was on. It always seemed a bit silly to me, and apparently enough others to get it canceled so abruptly back then.

  12. Oh man did I LOVE that show. Those two guys were great together. Wonderful Q

    Happy A to Z-ing!

  13. Hi...I'm hopping over from the A to Z Challenge...lovely blog...
    LOVED QL...good luck with the rest of the challenge...

    Donna L Martin


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