Review: Quantum Leap (2022) Episode #1 – July 13, 1985
This will be less an in depth review of the new Quantum Leap series pilot and more my hopes for the series. There are minor spoilers for the Quantum Leap (2022) Episode #1, July 13, 1985.
When I was in high school I had two favorite shows, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Quantum Leap. Quantum Leap means a lot to me. I recently rewatched the entire series in preparation for the new show. I can attest that all these years later I still tear up at the same episodes, sit on the edge of my seat during the best of them (Lee Harvey Oswald is one of the greatest episodes of television ever) and I still find the series finale to be the worst series finale ever, and the bad taste it left in my mouth, has never gone away.
Right after Sam tearfully tells the bartender that what he wants is to go home, he goes to tell Beth that Al is alive, and then we got this.
The end was so badly phoned in (the fault of NBC, not the show runners) that they didn’t even spell “Beckett” correctly on that last screen, the one that tore out my heart. The show was cancelled with so many stories still to tell (I still need to know more about the evil leapers, damn it). How could they do that to us? How could they do that to Sam and Al? A lot of shows get cancelled too soon, but this wasn’t a cancellation, it was a stone cold murder.
Quantum Leap wasn’t just one of history’s best sci-fi shows, it was one of the best shows ever period. It won six primetime Emmy Awards and was nominated for twenty-six (if I counted right) more, and they weren’t just technical awards. It was nominated three times for Best Drama (something Star Trek: The Next Generation only received once, but I won’t get started on that) and Scott Bakula and the late great Dean Stockwell were nominated four times each for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively. The end the show got cannot stand. Dr. Beckett deserved better. I’ve been waiting, as of today, 10,732 days to find out what really became of Sam Beckett, and that brings me to the new Quantum Leap. (Yeah, I know, it took a while. Probably going to take a little longer actually.)
So, why is Scott Bakula not the star of the new Quantum Leap? I must admit, I have never conceived of Quantum Leap with out Sam Beckett, but apparently the morons at NBC did. Fuck you, NBC. The below video has the best analysis I’ve seen of the situation. Watch it, I won’t bother rehashing it.
And now to the new series. I really enjoyed the first episode of Quantum Leap. I wanted a lot more fan service if I’m being honest, though they gave us just enough. Maybe one of these days I’ll write up what my idea for a continuation of Quantum Leap would have been not that anyone cares, but I digress. They mentioned Sam and one of Al and Beth’s daughters is involved. I also really like that we are getting a lot more of the present day stuff, which I know a lot of fans have complained about. I always wanted more of that in the original series. I really like the cast, and I love the intrigue about why Dr. Song stepped into the accelerator. I loved seeing Ben as a hologram from Addison’s perspective. We never saw what it was like from Al’s point of view when he was talking to Sam. Of course, the special effects are incredible and leave the original in the dust. It actually looks like they are in a high tech research facility and not on the set of a high school play described as “space ship interior”.
I hope to see this show have a nice long run, far longer than the original had, and if NBC does do the bonehead thing and cancels it, I am sure there are plenty of streaming services who would jump at the chance to pick it up.
But (there’s always a but) this show does not exist in a vacuum. It has a legacy and it must respect that legacy. One episode is a small sample size, but so far it has done that. I haven’t seen any glaring random changing of the established history or rules in episode one, though the previews suggest their might be some changes coming. (For the record, rules can change, as long as the reason for it makes sense in the context of the show and isn’t just pulled out of someone’s ass.)
But Quantum Leap’s legacy, and responsibility to it’s fans, is far greater than just respecting what came before. Whenever it is that this show comes to an end, be it in a year or in ten years, it will be judged (at least by me) on one thing. At some point Scott Bakula MUST return. He’s doing another NBC show, which I can’t wait for, so I’m sure they can make it happen. When that happens, the new Quantum Leap MUST, to borrow a famous phrase, put right what once went wrong, so horribly wrong, and give the story of Sam Beckett and his trusty hologram sidekick Al, the end that it deserved. Sam and Al deserve that. I think all the fans deserve it too. Tomorrow is day 10,733. I’m waiting.
Thanks for reading!