Lost in Translation has taken a look at Quantum Leap before, reviewing a fan-made episode, “A Leap to Die For“. The original series, created by Donald P. Bellisario, ran for five seasons and starred Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett and Dean Stockwell as Adm. Al Calavicci. The driving aspect of the series was Sam Leaping from life to life, putting right what once went wrong, with Al at his side as a hologram only Sam could see and hear. Sam could travel in time, without control, within his own lifetime.

The original Quantum Leap was an anthology series at heart, with Sam Leaping into the central character of the story. The advantage of an anthology series is that a number of different types of stories can be told – drama, comedy, action, even a mix. Time travel is the vehicle Quantum Leap used to get Sam and Al to the story of the episode, while also providing regular characters for the audience to follow each week. Over the course of the series, more elements got added. An “evil Leaper” appeared in a few episodes, someone being sent in time in a rival project. However, when the series ended, Sam never returned home.

Quantum Leap has its fans, with more following the series in second run syndication and on DVD and streaming. Naturally, if something is popular, it gets adapted, and Quantum Leap isn’t immune. NBC is currently airing a new Quantum Leap and, as of this writing, is up to episode 4. The show isn’t a remake, though. It’s a continuation of the original series. Dr. Ben Song, played by Raymond Lee, and his fiancée Addison Augustine, played by Caitlin Bassett, are part of the reborn Quantum Leap project, with Addison selected to go back in time. However, Ben gets a call and heads to the project, where he Leaps.

When Ben arrives on July 13, 1985, he has no idea of who he is or why he’s there. His memory is Swiss-cheesed. He only help is Addison as a hologram that only Ben can see and hear. Much like Sam and Al in the original series, Ben and Addison have to set right what once went wrong and hope that the next Leap will be the Leap home. Also like Sam and Al, the two have a close connection, an engaged couple instead of close friends.

However, there is a problem back at the project. The original Ziggy has been brought back online, interfering with the code created by Ian Wright (Mason Alexander Park), the head of programming and senior computer guru of the project. It’s enough to get Magic (Ernie Hudson), the head of the project and Jenn Chou (Nanrisa Lee), head of security, suspicious. The investigation leads to Ben working with an outsider, adding the new code himself. While having Ben regain his memory would greatly help the project, having him remember why he Leapt might cause more issues.

Things start getting stranger when Ben Leaps back to the Seventies, before he was born. Sam was limited to his own lifetime, with four exceptions. Two of the exceptions, he was still in his birth year. In “The Leap Back”, he had swapped places with Al, allowing a Leap to 1945. The furthest back Sam Leapt was 1862, in “The Leap Between the States”, where Sam wound up in the body of an ancestor. Ben Leaping further back than he should is even remarked on by the other characters, adding to the mystery of why Ben Leaped in the first place.

It is too early to properly analyse the new series. It’s only four episodes in, and there are more episodes to go in this season alone. So far, though, the new series is settling in to plumb ideas from the original and still be its own work. There’s more attention to the project team this time around. Instead of just having names like Gooshie and Tina, mentioned by Al, the project team gets its own focus. It took a couple of episodes for the balance to be figured out, but it is there now.

The new Quantum Leap is a mix of episodic and continuing, and some details that appear to be just part of an episode may return later. The new series also slips in characters whose lives Sam has changed, allowing the audience to catch up on where they are afterwards. There is potential in the new Quantum Leap. Time will tell if it can live up to it, but, so far, it has.


This article was originally published at THE REMAKE ZONE.

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