In this new feature, we are going to look at either a film or a TV series that you might have missed, or may just want to re-watch
This time we are going back to the late 80’s, to Quantum Leap.
Quantum Leap was an American science fiction television series that gained a cult following in the UK during its run, and afterwards. It ran for five seasons between March 1989 and May 1993 and, written by Donald P Bellisario, it starred Scott Bakula as Dr Samuel Beckett and Dean Stockwell as Colonel Al Calavicci.
Sam is a brilliant physicist who finds himself stranded in a time-travel Groundhog Day, when one of his experiments goes badly wrong. He is cast into a new body each week, taking the place of a person to correct historical mistakes; both on a personal and sometimes national level. Yet although he takes over the person, he retains their body (and therefore their appearance) and has to attempt to act as they would do. The displaced person is, in the meantime, sent to a ‘waiting-room’ until Sam leaps out.
Sam has help from a hologram of his best friend and colleague from the lab, Al; a womanising, cigar-smoking character, who only Sam can see or hear. Al has a quirky, notoriously unreliable hand-held computer called Ziggy, which carries out complex computations to try to establish the reason that Sam has leaped into that person.
Sam, with Al’s help, has to quickly work out what changes he is meant to make, in the hope that the next leap will be his leap home….
The majority of Sam’s leaps are focussed on making relatively small changes to one person’s life, which may end up saving the life of someone who might otherwise have died too soon, or to make improvements to one or more people’s existence – perhaps enabling them to fulfil their potential.
Selected episodes have shown the more dramatic effects of his time travels and meddling; in one episode, Sam’s actions ultimately lead to Al’s death before their project even started and Sam then finds himself suddenly aided by a new hologram, “Edward St. John V”.
It is widely regarded that the best leap was the two-part episode in the third season, called The Leap Home. In part one, Sam leaps into his 16-year-old self and enables his high school basketball team to win the championship. At the same time, we meet more of Sam’s family, including Tom, his older brother, who was killed in Vietnam. Part two of The Leap Home finds Sam trying to stop Tom from dying….
This series is a fond favourite of my wife’s and mine, and has the perfect mix of humour, romance, drama and science fiction. It has been named one of the “Top Cult TV Shows Ever” and won 17 awards during its run. Just the sound of the theme tune, written by Mike Post (who also composed the themes to shows such as: The Rockford Files, LA Law, Magnum PI and Hill Street Blues), can evoke happy memories in this household.