Quantum Leap

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Quantum Leap
Quantum Leap (TV series) titlecard.jpg
GenreScience fiction
Created byDonald P. Bellisario
Starring
Narrated by
  • Deborah Pratt (intro)
  • Scott Bakula (episodes)
Theme music composerMike Post
ComposerVelton Ray Bunch
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes97 (list of episodes)
Production
Producers
Production locationCalifornia
Running time45 minutes
Production companies
DistributorNBCUniversal Television Distribution
Release
Original networkNBC
Picture formatNTSC
Original releaseMarch 26, 1989 (1989-03-26) –
May 5, 1993 (1993-05-05)

Quantum Leap is an American science-fiction television series, created by Donald P. Bellisario, that originally aired on NBC for five seasons, from March 25, 1989 to May 5, 1993. It stars Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett, a physicist who involuntarily leaps through spacetime during experiments in time travel, by temporarily taking the place of other people to correct what he consistently discovers were historical mistakes.

Dean Stockwell co-stars as Admiral Al Calavicci, Sam's womanizing, cigar-smoking companion and best friend, who appears to him as a hologram and researches and shapes his opinions of the past.

The series features a mix of humor, drama, romance, social commentary, and science fiction. It was ranked number 19 on TV Guide's "Top Cult Shows Ever" in 2007.[1][2]

A continuation of the series was ordered by NBC to premiere in September 2022.

Premise[edit]

In the near future, physicist Dr. Sam Beckett (Bakula) theorized that time travel within one's own lifetime is possible, and obtains government support to build his project "Quantum Leap". Some years later, having already spent $43 billion, the government threatens to halt funding, as no progress has been made, and Sam decides to test the project accelerator by himself to save the project before anyone can stop him. He is thrown back in time, and on regaining consciousness, finds that while he physically exists in the past, he appears to everyone else as a person into whom he had "leapt", and further has partial amnesia related to his own identity.[3][4][5][6]

A hologram of his friend Admiral Al Calavicci (Stockwell) appears, visible and audible only to Sam, and helps to explain to Sam that he must correct something that went wrong in the past, aided with the resources of the project's supercomputer Ziggy (voiced by Pratt), as once that is corrected, he should be able to leap back to the present. Despite successfully correcting the past, Sam continues to leap randomly to another place and time within the second half of the 20th century, "putting right what once went wrong and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home".[3][4][5][6]

Cast and characters[edit]

  • Dr. Samuel "Sam" Beckett (Bakula, who also narrates the episodes in character) is a quantum physicist with six doctoral degrees. He grew up on his parents' farm in Elk Ridge, Indiana, with an older brother (Tom) and a younger sister (Katie). Sam's idol is Albert Einstein.
  • Albert "Al" Calavicci, USN (Stockwell) is a womanizing U.S. Navy rear admiral and Sam's best friend, who grew up in an orphanage and was later active in the civil rights movement. At the time of Sam's leaps, Al spends his free time with his lover and the project's medical technician Tina Martinez (played by Gigi Rice), who appears in the fourth-season episode "The Leap Back".
  • Ziggy (voiced by show introduction narrator and co-executive producer Deborah Pratt) is the self-aware artificial intelligence "parallel hybrid computer with an ego" that runs "Project Quantum Leap" and helps Sam throughout his leaps. Pratt also appears in person as the title character in the season-two episode "A Portrait for Troian". The character and episode were named after Pratt and Donald P. Bellisario's daughter Troian Bellisario.
  • Irving "Gooshie" Gushman (Dennis Wolfberg) is the project's often-mentioned head programmer, who is said to have bad breath. He appears in five episodes, including the pilot and the finale.
  • Dr. Verbena Beeks (Candy Ann Brown) is often mentioned as the project's psychiatrist. She appears in two episodes throughout the series.

In each episode, a different cast of guest characters appears, mostly the ones who would have interacted with the person Sam replaces with his leaps. Several other characters are referred to regularly throughout the series, but are mostly unseen.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

The main premise for Quantum Leap was inspired by such movies as Heaven Can Wait and Here Comes Mr. Jordan, as well as the 1960s TV show The Time Tunnel. It also may have evolved out of an unused Battlestar Galactica story that was proposed for the Galactica 1980 series.[citation needed] Series creator Donald P. Bellisario[4][7] saw its concept as a way of developing an original anthology series, as anthologies were unpopular with the networks.[4]

The series ran on NBC[8] for five seasons, from March 1989 through May 1993.

Soundtrack[edit]

The theme for the series was written by Mike Post.[4] It was later rearranged for the fifth season, except for the series-finale episode, which featured the original theme music. Scores for the episodes were composed by Post and Velton Ray Bunch.

A soundtrack album was first released in 1993, titled Music from the Television Series 'Quantum Leap' , dedicated to John Anderson, who played Pat Knight in The Last Gunfighter. It was released by GNP Crescendo on CD and cassette tape.

No. Track[9] Composer(s) Length Episode
1 Prologue (Saga Sell) Mike Post, Velton Ray Bunch
Deborah Pratt (voiceover)
1:05
2 Quantum Leap (Main Title) Mike Post 1:15
3 Somewhere in the Night Scott Bakula 3:32 Piano Man
4 Suite from the Leap Home Velton Ray Bunch 3:37 The Leap Home, Part 1
5 Imagine John Lennon 3:05 The Leap Home, Part 1
6 Sam's Prayer Velton Ray Bunch 1:52 A Single Drop of Rain
7 Blue Moon of Kentucky Bill Monroe 1:41 Memphis Melody
8 Baby, Let's Play House Arthur Gunter 2:13 Memphis Melody
9 Shoot Out Velton Ray Bunch 3:03 The Last Gunfighter
10 Medley from Man of La Mancha Scott Bakula 6:18 Catch a Falling Star
11 Bite Me Velton Ray Bunch 3:29 Blood Moon
12 Alphabet Rap Dean Stockwell 2:05 Shock Theater
13 Suite from "Lee Harvey Oswald" Velton Ray Bunch 14:55 Leaping on a String
14 Fate's Wide Wheel Scott Bakula 3:05 Glitter Rock
15 A Conversation with Scott Bakula Scott Bakula (interview) 12:02
16 Quantum Leap (Prologue and Main Title Reprise) Mike Post, Velton Ray Bunch 2:20

Episodes[edit]

Broadcast history[edit]

The Quantum Leap series was initially moved from Friday nights to Wednesdays. It was later moved twice away from Wednesdays to Fridays in late 1990, and to Tuesdays in late 1992. The series finale aired in its Wednesday slot in May 1993.[4]

The most frequent time slot for the series is indicated by italics:

  • Sunday at 9:00–11:00 pm on NBC: March 26, 1989
  • Friday at 9:00–10:00 pm on NBC: March 31, 1989 – April 21, 1989
  • Wednesday at 10:00–11:00 pm on NBC: May 3—17, 1989; September 20, 1989 – May 9, 1990; March 6, 1991 – May 20, 1992
  • Friday at 8:00–9:00 pm on NBC: September 28, 1990 – January 4, 1991
  • Tuesday at 8:00–9:00 pm on NBC: September 22, 1992 – April 20, 1993
  • Wednesday at 9:00–10:00 pm on NBC: May 4, 1993

In the United Kingdom, the show began on BBC Two on February 13, 1990,[10] airing Tuesday evenings at 9:00 pm. The final episode was scheduled to be aired on June 14, 1994, but altered schedules after the death of British dramatist Dennis Potter earlier that month delayed the airing until June 21, 1994.[11] Repeat episodes continued on the channel at various times until December 28, 1999.[12]

Quantum Leap Week[edit]

During the summer of 1990, NBC scheduled a "Quantum Leap Week". Over the course of five consecutive nights, repeat episodes of the show were broadcast in an effort to drum up interest in the fledging series.[13] The "Quantum Leap Week" was repeated during the summer of 1991. Each of the weekly events was supported by a series of advertisements. In each were a series of "man-on-the-street" attempting to say "Quantum Leap Week" fast, with varied levels of success.[14] [15]

Home media[edit]

Universal Studios has released the entire, digitally remastered, Quantum Leap series on DVD.[16][17] Some controversy arose when fans discovered that many songs had been replaced from the soundtrack due to music rights issues. For the fifth season, Universal included all of the original music.[18]

On April 13, 2016, Mill Creek Entertainment announced that it had acquired the rights to the series and re-released the first two seasons on DVD on June 7, 2016.[19]

On February 7, 2017, Mill Creek re-released Quantum Leap - the Complete Series on DVD and also released the complete series on Blu-ray for the first time.[20] The 18-disc set contains all 97 episodes of the series, as well as most of the original music restored for all seasons.

Season - DVD name Episodes DVD release date
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season 1 - The Complete First Season 9 June 8, 2004 November 8, 2004 May 2, 2005
Season 2 - The Complete Second Season 22 December 14, 2004 October 31, 2005 February 7, 2006
Season 3 - The Complete Third Season 22 May 10, 2005 December 12, 2005 June 7, 2006
Season 4 - The Complete Fourth Season 22 March 28, 2006 June 26, 2006 November 2006
Season 5 - The Complete Fifth Season 22 November 14, 2006 December 26, 2006 February 21, 2007
Seasons 1–5 - The Complete Series
(The Complete Collection)
97 November 4, 2014[16] October 8, 2007[17] N/A

Final episode[edit]

At the end of season five, Bellisario was told to write an episode that could serve as a season finale or series finale, as it was unclear whether Quantum Leap would be renewed. The episode contained some answers to long-standing questions about the show, but contained enough ambiguity for a season six. When the show was not renewed, two title cards were tacked on to the end of the last episode; one read that Al’s first wife Beth never remarried, so they were still married in the present day and had four daughters. The last title cards said "Sam Becket [sic] never returned home." The finale was met by viewers with mixed feelings.[21][22][23]

A few years after the airing of the finale, a script for an alternate ending was leaked on the internet. It implied that Al, through encouragement of his wife Beth, would become a leaper to go after Sam and that they would be leaping into the future. Bellisario has said no script exists and that he does not know where this idea came from. In 2018, however, fan Allison Pregler purchased title cards taken from season five that contained some shots of Al and Beth together; this implies that part of the alternate ending was, in fact, shot and gives credibility to the alternate-ending scenario.[24][25] In May 2019, a video of the lost footage was uploaded to Reddit by a contributor with the handle Leaper1953.[26] How this person obtained the footage is not known publicly. Scott Bakula confirmed that several endings were shot and that the footage was authentic.[27]

Reception[edit]

The series had a slow start in the ratings, and its timeslot was moved often, but it did well in the 18–49 demographic. The finale was viewed by 13 million American households.[28] In 2004 and 2007, Quantum Leap was ranked number 15 and 19, respectively, on TV Guide's "Top Cult Shows Ever".[1]

Awards[edit]

Along with 43 nominations, Quantum Leap received 17 awards (listed below).[29][30][31]

Year Award Category Winner(s) Episode
1989 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Cinematography for a Series Roy H. Wagner "Genesis (Part 1)"
Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series Virginia Kearns "Double Identity"
1990 Quality TV Award Best Actor in a Quality Drama Series Scott Bakula
Golden Globe Award Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Dean Stockwell
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Cinematography for a Series Michael W. Watkins "Pool Hall Blues"
1991 Quality TV Award Best Actor in a Quality Drama Series Scott Bakula
Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Drama Series Dean Stockwell
Edgar Award Best Television Episode Paul Brown "Good Night, Dear Heart"
DGA Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series Michael Zinberg "The Leap Home (Part 2) - Vietnam"
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Makeup for a Single-Camera Series Gerald Quist
Michael Mills
Jeremy Swan
"The Leap Home (Part 1)"
Outstanding Cinematography for a Series Michael W. Watkins "The Leap Home (Part 2) - Vietnam"
1992 Quality TV Award Best Actor in a Quality Drama Series Scott Bakula
Golden Globe Award Best Actor – Television Series Drama Scott Bakula
1993 Quality TV Award Best Actor in a Quality Drama Series Scott Bakula
Young Artist Award Best Young Actress Guest-Starring in a Television Series Kimberly Cullum
ACE Award Best Edited One Hour Series for Television Jon Koslowsky "A Song for the Soul"
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Cinematography for a Series Jon Koslowsky "Lee Harvey Oswald"

Other media[edit]

Books[edit]

Nonfiction
  • Barrett, Julie, The A–Z of Quantum Leap. Boxtree Ltd., London 1995. ISBN 0-7522-0628-1
  • Chunovic, Louis, Quantum Leap Book. Boxtree Ltd., London 1993. ISBN 1-85283-866-3
  • Schuster, Hal, The Making of Quantum Leap. HarperCollins, London 1996. ISBN 0-06-105438-0
  • Dale, Matt, Beyond the Mirror Image. TME Books, UK 2017. The limited edition first print hardcover was funded via Kickstarter in late 2016 and included both black & white and colored pages. Due to popular demand, the book was reprinted, though the 2nd edition did not include colored pages and came with a book jacket/dust cover.
Fiction

Comics[edit]

Innovation Publishing produced a series of comic books that ran for 13 issues from September 1991 through August 1993. As with the television series, each issue ended with a teaser preview of the following issue and Sam's exclamation of "Oh, boy." Among the people into whom Sam found himself leaping in this series were:[32]

Issue Title Person Date
1 "First There Was a Mountain, Then There Was No Mountain, Then There Was" High school teacher named Karen Connors in Memphis, Tennessee March 25, 1968
2 "Freedom of the Press" Death row inmate named Willie Jackson, who must prevent a murder on the outside June 11, 1962
3A "He Knows If You've Been Bad or Good ..." Part-time Santa Claus, who goes by the name of Nick December 20, 1963
3B "The Infinite Corridor" Student at MIT named Matt Randall, who is researching quantum physics April 2, 1968
4 "The 50,000 Quest" Contestant amid the quiz show scandals August 15, 1958
5 "Seeing is Believing" Newspaper reporter/columnist, who responds to a girl seeing a UFO November 14, 1957
6 "A Tale of Two Cindys" Teenaged girl with an identical twin sister February 12, 1959
7A "Lives on the Fringe" Professional golfer with the Mafia after him 1974
7B "Sarah's Got a Gun" Bus driver, who discovers child abuse May 19, 1953
8 "Getaway" Bank robber, while the leapee tours the project with Al 1958
9 "Up Against a Stonewall" Sequel to "Good Night, Dear Heart": Stephanie Heywood is released from prison after serving 12 years for manslaughter. June 22, 1969
10 "Too Funny For Words" Stand-up comedian, who befriends a fading silent movie star June 13, 1966
11 "For the Good of the Nation" Doctor studying the effects of LSD on human subjects July 1958
12 "Waiting" Gas-station attendant with a lot of time on his hands April 24, 1958
13 "One Giant Leap" An extraterrestrial aboard an orbiting spaceship June 5, 1963
[14] "Two Dweebs and a Little Monster" Not published

Few of the comic stories referenced episodes of the television series, with the exception of the ninth issue, "Up Against a Stonewall".

Continuation[edit]

Announcements to revisit or restart the series have been made from time to time by various networks since the show's completion, most recently in 2022.

In July 2002, the Sci-Fi Channel (which at the time was airing reruns of the show) announced development of a two-hour television film based on Quantum Leap that would have served as a backdoor pilot for a new series, with Bellisario as executive producer.[33]

In July 2010 during the TV Guide panel at the San Diego Comic-Con International, Scott Bakula said that Bellisario was working on a script for a projected Quantum Leap feature film.[34] Bellisario confirmed in October 2017 at the L.A. Comic Con that he had finished the script.[35]

In January 2020, Jeff Bader, NBC's head of program planning and strategy, announced that the network was considering a reboot of Quantum Leap for the launch of its Peacock streaming service.[36]

In January 2022, NBC greenlit a pilot episode of a Quantum Leap continuation. Bellisario is involved, while the showrunners include Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt, with Deborah Pratt and Martin Gero as executive producers. The series will be produced by Universal Television for consideration in the 2022–23 television season. Bakula's involvement is unclear, while Stockwell had died in November 2021. The pilot will take place 30 years after the conclusion of the original series, with a new team reviving the Quantum Leap project to understand it and the fate of Sam Beckett.[37] Raymond Lee was signed to star in the pilot in the role of Dr. Ben Seong, the person that ends up traveling back in time through the Quantum Leap project.[38] Ernie Hudson was cast as Herbert "Magic" Williams, the lead of the new Quantum Leap program and a Vietnam War veteran who Sam leaped into in the season three episode "The Leap Home Part 2".[39] NBC greenlit a full series order in May 2022.[40] It is set to premiere in September 2022, airing on Monday nights.[41]

In popular culture[edit]

The show is referenced in Avengers: Endgame, when Scott Lang and James Rhodes try to explain time travel to Bruce Banner through the many times it's brought up in pop culture.[42]

Source Code, a 2011 science-fiction action thriller film, was directed by Duncan Jones. Jones said in reading its script that he was reminded of Quantum Leap and as a reference to the show, cast Bakula in a voice cameo role, including giving him one line of "Oh, boy" in the script.[43]

Special episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise ("Detained") and NCIS: New Orleans ("Chasing Ghosts"), both series that feature Bakula as lead, have included Stockwell as a guest star to reunite the two actors from Quantum Leap. Further, "Chasing Ghosts" was directed by James Whitmore Jr., who had directed a number of Quantum Leap episodes.[44]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "TV Guide Names the Top Cult Shows Ever". TV Guide. June 29, 2007. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  2. ^ "8 Shows Like Supernatural to Watch if You Miss Supernatural". TV Guide. January 11, 2022. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Cerone, Daniel (July 15, 1990). "'Quantum Leap' is Scott Bakula's Idea of an Actor's Dream". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Jenkins, Shelley (April 28, 2008). "Donald P. Bellisario Interview". Archive of American Television. Published in the article on April 12, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Connor, John J. (March 30, 1989). "Review/Television; Comeback for Wimps in New Series". The New York Times.
  6. ^ a b Chunovic, Louis, The Complete Quantum Leap Book, Citadel Press (1995)
  7. ^ O'Connor, John J. (November 22, 1989). "Review/Television; An Actor's 'Quantum Leap' Through Times and Roles". The New York Times.
  8. ^ Carter, Bill (October 1, 1991). "NBC Defends Move on 'Quantum Leap'". The New York Times.
  9. ^ "Quantum Leap - Soundtrack". Amazon UK. November 19, 1993.
  10. ^ "Quantum Leap". February 13, 1990. p. 41 – via BBC Genome.
  11. ^ "Quantum Leap". June 21, 1994. p. 80 – via BBC Genome.
  12. ^ "Quantum Leap". December 28, 1999. p. 145 – via BBC Genome.
  13. ^ "NBC PUTS 'QUANTUM LEAP' ON OVERTIME". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2022-05-18.
  14. ^ The 1st Quantum Leap Week commercial, retrieved 2022-05-18
  15. ^ The 2nd Quantum Leap Week commercial, retrieved 2022-05-18
  16. ^ a b "Quantum Leap: The Complete Series (Region 1)". Amazon. November 4, 2014.
  17. ^ a b "Quantum Leap - The Complete Collection (Region 2)". Amazon UK. October 8, 2007.
  18. ^ "Music Replacement in Quantum Leap – Quantum Leap Podcast".
  19. ^ "Quantum Leap DVD news: Re-Release for Seasons 1 & 2". TVShowsOnDVD. Archived from the original on 2016-04-16.
  20. ^ "Quantum Leap DVD news: Announcement for The Complete Series". TVShowsOnDVD. Archived from the original on 2016-12-22.
  21. ^ "The Series Finale That Helped Us Cope With The 'Lost' Finale And Every Other Disappointing Finale Since". UPROXX. 2014-06-05. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
  22. ^ "Greatest Series Finales: Quantum Leap's "Mirror Image" a beautiful, metaphysical swan song". PopOptiq. 2013-09-03. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
  23. ^ Lasser, Josh (2007-06-21). "Worst.. Finale… Ever…". The TV and Film Guy's Reviews. Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  24. ^ Elderkin, Beth. "Did a Fan Just Find Proof of Quantum Leap's Secret Lost Ending?". Gizmodo. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  25. ^ Movie Nights (2018-02-18), Quantum Leap LOST ENDING REDISCOVERED!, retrieved 2019-04-26
  26. ^ "Watch: Quantum Leap Lost Alternate Ending Footage Surfaces After 26 Years". ScreenRant. 2019-05-30. Retrieved 2019-05-30.
  27. ^ Mazzeo, Jeff; Trock, Gary (2019-06-01). "Scott Bakula is Happy Fans Can See 'Quantum Leap' Lost Footage". The Blast. Retrieved 2019-06-03.
  28. ^ WEINSTEIN, STEVE (7 May 1993). "'Quantum Leap' Ratings Jump on Final Telecast". Retrieved May 16, 2022 – via LA Times.
  29. ^ "QUANTUM LEAP | (all time Emmy) Awards & Nominations". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2021-04-27.
  30. ^ "Quantum Leap - Awards". The New York Times.
  31. ^ "Quantum Leap, Awards". IMDb. Based on the original citation. NBC.
  32. ^ Zeman, Phil (January 19, 1995). "Quantum Leap Comic Guide".
  33. ^ "New Leap, Tremors On Sci-Fi". Syfy. July 9, 2002. Archived from the original on July 9, 2006.
  34. ^ Holbrook, Damian (July 23, 2010). "Comic-Con: Is Quantum Leaping to the Megaplex?". TV Guide. Archived from the original on July 25, 2010. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  35. ^ Sollosi, Mary (October 28, 2017). "Quantum Leap creator reveals he wrote a movie script". Entertainment Weekly.
  36. ^ Topel, Fred (January 12, 2020). "Exclusive: NBC's Peacock Considering 'Quantum Leap' Revival As Millennials Drive 'Saved by the Bell' and 'Punky Brewster' Returns". Slash Film. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  37. ^ Hibbert, James (January 13, 2022). "'Quantum Leap' Sequel Pilot Greenlit by NBC". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 13, 2022.
  38. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 4, 2022). "'Quantum Leap': Raymond Lee To Headline NBC's Reboot Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 4, 2022.
  39. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 8, 2022). "'Quantum Leap': Ernie Hudson Joins NBC Reboot Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  40. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 5, 2022). "'Quantum Leap' Reboot Picked Up To Series By NBC". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 5, 2022.
  41. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 16, 2022). "NBC Fall 2022-23 Schedule: Friday Comedy Block Sends 'Blacklist' To Midseason, 'La Brea' Returns To Tuesday". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  42. ^ Pirrello, Phil (May 1, 2019). "Why 'Avengers: Endgame' Time Travel Troubles Can Be Forgiven". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  43. ^ Ditzian, Eric (April 1, 2011). "'Source Code': Five Hidden Pop-culture Influences". MTV. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  44. ^ Raftery, Liz (November 24, 2014). "NCIS: New Orleans' Scott Bakula Teases the Quantum Leap Reunion: "It Was a Good Day for the Old Guys"". TV Guide. Retrieved February 23, 2020.

External links[edit]