Quantum Leap: The Revival's Messiness Doesn't End With the Leaps

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The best bet when rebooting a show nowadays is to make an entirely new show with new characters and locations. Keep the premise but change everything else.

Introduce one or two characters from the original show if you feel adventurous.

It is not always a safe bet, so it's best to keep it fresh.

Drink's On the House - Quantum Leap

Even with all these changes, there is no guarantee the show will be hit. Sometimes, things go wrong.

When making Quantum Leap (2022), the creators ticked all these boxes, but sadly, things went wrong.

Forging Ahead - Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 8

The show features an American lead of Asian descent, while the original featured a Caucasian American. This was a critical development aiming at making Asian Americans more visible in the media.

That might be the best decision the show made.

It features two more Asian characters in the main cast, which is always welcome.

Raymond Lee knocks it out of the park as Dr. Ben Song. He delivers a stellar performance even when working with the flimsiest format in television currently.

The Lightbulb Moment - Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 8

Television has changed in the twenty-seven years since Quantum Leap has been on the air. Nowadays, everyone is focused on making "weekly episodes." These are episodes where a conflict is introduced at the beginning and resolved by the end. Almost every show currently airing follows this format.

That concept is explored in this article here at TV Fanatic.

For most shows, it works, but Quantum Leap is not any other show.

It features myriads of mysteries which is a huge negative for it. Who is Dr. Sam Beckett? Where is Dr. Sam Beckett? Who is Dr. Ben Song? Why did Ben leap? Why is he leaping in that pattern? To which point was he leaping? These are just some of the mysteries in the show.

The Dip - Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 1

It renders the show too mysterious for the viewer to fully grasp what is happening. Every leap seems like a reset, and we are right back where we started. There's a weekly conflict to resolve and absolutely no answers to the questions we need to be answered.

Even when one mystery is explained, three more rise to take its place.

In the many years since the show has been off-air, many other shows have more or less dealt with the issue of time travel. They have raised the bar on what we know and expect from time travel shows.

The biggest question is; how are Ben's actions not having any effects in the present reality?

Beer in Hand - Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 5

We have been introduced to complex problems such as travel paradoxes and the ripple effects of altering the past. We have come to accept these things as logical, but the show doesn't address them even in passing.

Dr. Ben literally saves people's lives. People who were supposed to die but went on to live having careers and families. It is mighty irresponsible to ignore this.

That makes the show feel half-baked.

And it doesn't end there.

Since we have no explanation as to why Ben leaps into the people he leaps, there is no real way to estimate the stakes in every leap. It feels like he's just going to leap, save a life and be on his merry way. Soon, it all becomes predictable.

Teaming Up - Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 1

Apart from Dr. Ben, there is no other character that we care about. They couldn't be any different from Ziggy, all running on code.

They have no lives outside the program. To a certain extent, they all are insufferable that a computer could do a better job of simulating.

Another weird thing that has happened on television is insane pilots. Pilots are developed in a way that they must get the viewer up to speed in the shortest time possible and then set up the story for the next episodes.

Pilots are packed with so much information it is dizzying. Instead of taking time to develop the story over a couple of episodes or even an entire season, the pilot must do the job.

Addison is Here for Him - Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 5

We jump into the middle of the story without knowing who these people are. We don't know their history, peeves, or relationships.

Addison and Dr. Ben feel like two strangers who just met. There is no chemistry between them. Despite the actors' best efforts, it is not there. Granted, that one doesn't remember the other, but still. We don't know enough about them because we don't know them. Why do we care whether they end up together or not?

All these factors combined make for a forgettable viewing experience guaranteed to underwhelm at every turn. It leaves the viewer with more questions and a general feeling of a lack of satisfaction.

Quantum Leap could better explain some of the things viewers need to know before taking them on a wild goose chase, scrambling to join the dots and hoping something discernible emerges on the page.

It's a Look - Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 4

Not knowing where and when Ben is headed is enough of a mystery. We need explanations for why he's leaping into these people out of billions.

The show decided to be lazy and zero itself into leaping in the 19th and 20th centuries. It has been established that Ben can leap -- although he shouldn't (another mystery) -- outside his lifetime. Why not leap into the 17th century?

If we are to assume that these leaps are not random, why is he restricted to leaping into people localized within North America? I'm sure people in Asia could use him at any time.

Some might even be his ancestors in Korea. Everyone's ancestors -- apart from Native Americans -- at one point didn't live in North America.

To Infinity? - Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 2

The best bet is to assume that it's all random, and if it is, why does he need to go through all of them to save Addison? And save Addison from what?

We have seen this with shows like FBI: International, where there is no innovation in writing. It's a case of coloring while not coming remotely close to the margins. There is so much the show could do if they were ambitious enough.

Only eight episodes have aired; before the show returns, it needs to improve. I will keep watching because once in a while, a great episode airs, but there are many shows to watch nowadays. There is also this thing of watching a shipwreck.

Changes are necessary if the show will survive this cutthroat world of television. Otherwise, it is doomed to fall into the bottomless pit of cancelations, despite running with an excellent premise.

In the Nick of Time - Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 6

We would love to hear your thoughts on this, so leave a comment about what you think.

Remember, it is yours to watch Quantum Leap online if you want to test our theories right here on TV Fanatic.

Denis Kimathi is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He has watched more dramas and comedies than he cares to remember. Catch him on social media obsessing over [excellent] past, current, and upcoming shows or going off about the politics of representation on TV. Follow him on Twitter.

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Quantum Leap Quotes

Time goes by / I live my life / Traveling down the road / Open my eyes to clear blue skies / But I’m feeling all alone / A one-way ticket / That’s the price you pay / Another day / Another song / Traveling on / But I’m making my way back home

Carly and Jamie

Ben: Some people assume that because I’m a physicist, I can’t be romantic. What they don’t realize is science is romance.
Jenn: Yeah, I’m sorry I asked for that speech now.
Ben: I’m serious. Take the law of entanglement. Once two particles experience a shared state, they’re no longer separate entities. They exist as one, even when separated by great distances.