The first three episodes of Quantum Leap are out at the time I’m writing this, but I wanted to get a head start since it’s after midnight and start writing my thoughts on the show. I loved Quantum Leap, it’s a piece of the late 80s that transcends space and time and still remains a great show to this day. The chemistry between Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell was fantastic, not to mention Deborah Pratt as Ziggy. But nearly 30 years later can the people at NBC recapture that charm?
Nope, and I doubt they ever had any intent to.
Quantum Leap kicks off 30 years after the moderately unsatisfying ending to the original show where Sam Beckett never came back from the leap. An ending a lot of people hated and one that was the result of the show ending before its planned sixth season and having to come up with something to tie it all up. Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee) starts up the Quantum Leap program decades later and for reasons unknown to his coworkers and himself, makes a leap back to 1985. The first season will naturally be about Dr. Song slowly gaining back his memories as the team tries to pull him back to the present, all while doing good deeds for the people he leaps back into.
The show stars Raymond Lee as Ben Song, and I say “stars” with heavy quotation marks. It feels like the creators had no faith in the writer’s ability to fill a 45 minute episode because this version of Quantum Leap spends far less time focusing on its star actor. Dr. Song is accompanied by Addison Augustine (Caitlin Bassett) who acts as this show’s version of Al, supervising Song and making sure he gets where he needs to go. Also on the cast is Mason Park as Ian Wright, a nerd, as is head of security Nanrisa Lee as Jenn who doesn’t get a last name, and Ernie Hudson as Herbert Williams, the head of Quantum Leap and a holdover character from the original show.
There’s too many people on this show. The biggest problem I have with Quantum Leap is that it spends too much time focusing on the present storyline and the mystery of why Song changed the program and made an unauthorized leap without telling people why. Oh and they all suck. The chemistry between Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell was great, the two actors playing off of each other and feeling like real people with real personalities. Bakula had real emotions and had real encounters with the people he met. Quantum Leap feels like people reading a script with no direction or understanding of human emotion. It’s all flatly delivered, robotic, janky dialogue filtered through a formulaic AI and meant to sound as inhuman as possible.
None of the characters have chemistry between one another, particularly Dr. Song and his fiancée Addison Augustine. Raymond Lee is the only person in the show with real charisma. I actually feel bad for Lee because he has the weight of the world on his shoulders holding up the show and they’ve relegated him to the b-plot in his own series. Which shows how utterly inane the concept behind this show is and how little the creators care about it, that the quantum leaping is a backstory on the show called Quantum Leap. The question of why Dr. Song wanted to leap to a specific point in time can’t possibly be as good of a payoff as they think it is, and we’ve already confirmed that Scott Bakula isn’t coming back even as a cameo.
Unsurprisingly a lot of the showrunners, directors, and writers have portfolios consisting of CW and ABC drama shit, shows so formulaic they’re basically written by a Madlibs paperwork. The original Quantum Leap made an effort to have the audience care about the characters, and you felt like Sam Beckett actually cared about them too. He helped people because yes, it was the best way for him to make a leap and possibly get home. But he also really wanted to help people. Ben Song barely seems interested in the people he leaps into or the problems he encounters outside of seeing it as a puzzle to complete to move on. The characters in the leap are barely humanized.
I suppose it helps that the original Quantum Leap had wholly relatable and down to earth stories for the most part. Beckett finds himself in the suit of a jet pilot but the plot is less about the piloting and more about saving his wife’s child. He enters into the body of an adult man with Down’s Syndrome and has to save him from being institutionalized in the 1950s. It spawned the now-infamous “I’m retarded?” scene that got pass around as a meme. It got crazy from time to time, but the focus was about the characters over the action. The new show meanwhile has high speed car chases, bombs exploding, and the second episode takes place in space. The plot twists are dumb and many have no bearing on the plot or the characters.
Will I continue watching Quantum Leap? I don’t know. I originally thought the big twist would be that Dr. Song discovered Sam Beckett’s location and made this leap to pull him out of the timeline. But now I’m pretty sure that the big twist is going to be that he figures out somehow that Addison dies or died and goes in to the leap to save her, but obviously he can’t tell the team because they’d be too emotionally invested.
Quantum Leap is the Burger King of shows. Boring and the same thing Peacock has put out a million times a day. I wouldn’t kick that Mason Park out of bed for eating crackers if you get my drift.