Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for : Quantum Leap!!

"Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the quantum leap accelerator and vanished. He awoke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own, and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so, Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home."



In going through the alphabet to see if this theme could support the A to Z Challenge, my pick for "Q" was a no-brainer. Quantum Leap has always been one of my favorite shows for many reasons....I'm a sucker for time-travel stories, I'm a huge sci-fi nerd as well as I like "period" type shows/stories. Throw in the fact that they took the time travel theme to a whole new level and did something that hadn't really been done before, and I was hooked from the get go.



I've always considered this the "little show that could". At first, I think, it had a tough time finding it's target audience and, to be honest, I'm not sure if it ever, truly, did, but it found enough of an audience to keep it alive and kicking for five awesome seasons. I mean, it had quite a few obstacles to overcome, the least of which was the confusion of just how, exactly, Dr. Sam Beckett bounced around time.

Dr. Sam Beckett (played by Scott Bakula) was the head of a government funded time travel experiment in the New Mexico desert. Here he had brought together the best minds on the planet as well as built a ego laden supercomputer named "Ziggy". Ziggy was fed every scrap of knowledge that there was and knew she (it thought of itself as a 'she' as well as having a female voice interface) was the smartest thing on the planet. She helped Dr. Beckett and his team create Project: Quantum Leap. When the government threatens to cut the funding, due to lack of tangible results, Beckett decides to try a test run....on himself. Now, the intro states that he "vanished", but.....not really. Basically, what Beckett did when he traveled through time (or "leaped", as they called it) was switch places with someone else....usually the person he was "sent" to help. He kept his own body, but some sort of aura kept him looking like the original person. Dr. Beckett was lost in the time stream until Ziggy was able to get a lock on his unique brain patterns and send help.


The "help" was in the form of a hologram that only Sam could see and hear.....a hologram of his friend and government contact, Admiral Al Calivecchi (played by Dean Stockwell). Did you ever notice that almost every show Donald P. Bellisario produces always has some sort of Naval character in it? Anyway, Al was a womanizer who had lived quite an interesting life before joining the Navy and raising up the ranks. An orphan who ran away to the circus, he had been married four or five times and had a wealth of life experience to help Dr. Beckett along his way. Al informed Dr. Beckett that Ziggy was working on a way to get him back home, which was 1990-something, if I remember correctly. Anyway, until they could get him back, he was to help those who had stumbled in history and help them "put right what had gone wrong".

The main problem, though, was that Sam had what they termed a "swiss cheese" memory due to the time leap. He could remember some things, but not others. As the show went on, his memories filled in and he remembered he was a child prodigy, held six doctorates, could speak six languages and knew four dead ones, and a martial arts expert. Oh yes....and that he had a wife waiting for him back in the future.

When Sam looked into the mirror, after a leap, he'd see the face of the person he had leaped into. Most of the times it was a man but, sometimes, it was a woman and, once, a monkey. Even though Sam could see Al, the holographic chamber where Al stood was in the Project facility and the person who Beckett had switched places with was kept there, in the "Waiting Room". The white walls and futuristic look of the room had many of the switched people thinking they had been abducted by aliens after they got back to their rightful bodies.  I think this was where a lot of the viewers got confused and put off many who weren't  true sci-fi fans.

When he's informed that even Ziggy can't figure out a way to get him back and he's still leaping around, Sam becomes convinced that God is steering him to who needs help and that theme continues all the way to the end of the series.

I could go on for pages about the ins and outs of this show and the themes/issues it addressed, but I'll spare you that and just say if this one of those shows you've never seen before, give it a look....I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Honorable Mentions: The Quest, Quincy, Q.E.D

Tune in Monday for the tale of a made up p.i. named after a typewriter....

22 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Had a great cast. Just never got into it. I think I was busy with life at the time. Maybe on NetFlix I'll catch the entire series.

klahanie said...

Hi human, Mark,

Right on "Q", I show up. My human loved that show and he reckons, what with the cost of air travel, it would be a good way to get around. Then again, does he want to end up in some trailer park in Alabama.

Somewhat reminiscent of Time Tunnel.

Pawsitive wishes,

Penny, the friendly host of the Alphabark Challenge! :)

Robin said...

I loved this show. I agree about many people just not "getting it." The same can be said for the show "Early Edition." Man, I loved that show but when I talked about it people thought it was ACTUALLY a news show. It drove me crazy. I was like, "No. No. No. It's about a guy who gets tomorrow's news today. Get it? He gets the paper a day early and then spends the day trying to "fix" something." Alas, it didn't last long enough either.

Andrew Leon said...

I loved Quantum Leap. It was one of the only shows I watched during my TV blackout period, although I always recorded it. I don't think I made it past the 3rd season, though.

I'm drawing a blank on R, though it feels like I ought to know it.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I never watched this but I've always thought I would at some point. I like Scott Bakula.

Lynda Dietz said...

I used to love that show. It was just so cleverly done.

Dee said...

I remember this show! I watched it sometimes, it had an interesting concept!

Recently I came across a joke saying that the fake sign language interpreter in Nelson Mandela's funeral was actually Sam Beckett. Haha.

sdk_2010 said...

Brilliant series this was. Lost its way towards the end a little with the other leaper, but founds its way back to the path. Dean Stockwell is a legend and Scott Bakula really found his niche here, I dont think he will have the same effect in his new show (also from Bellisario) NCIS New Orleans. Funny you chose this for "Q" as last year my "Q" was the Quantum Leap Accelerator itself. See here - http://smurfdok.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/oh-boy/

mshatch said...

I loved this show, too, and the ones where Sam ended up in a woman were pretty darn funny. And of course the opening line...Oh boy, said so many different ways, was priceless :)

Lisa said...

I watched this show a few times and, going by no such thing as coincidence, just watched the first episode on Netflix two days ago!!!! I'm going to see if I can make it through the entire series... Great post and I had no idea about all that back story and detail. Can't wait to see the one where he's a monkey!

Leslie S. Rose said...

I was a fan of this show. My brother and I set up secret signals in case we were ever stuck in a quantum generator and would possibly meet up in other times.

Tara Tyler R said...

i never watched quantum leap, but i went back thru some letters...
odd couple was one of the greats
and the new zoo revue - i totally remember that old show as a kid! freddy!

lots of fun fond memories here =)
thanks!

CA Heaven said...

Never watched the series, but I happened to pick quantum leap as the q-post as well, but with a slightly different twist >:)

Cold As Heaven

Mark Means said...

@Alex: It's well worth the time :)

@Penny: Yep, very Time Tunnelish...which is a good thing :) Keep Gary in line, will you?? :)

@Robin: Oh yes, Early Edition was another "q"uirky show that didn't quite get off the ground. I liked it, though.

@Andrew: Yeah, it sort of went downhill near the end, but the final episode helped tie things up nicely.

@Susan: I think you'd like this one, for sure!

@Lynda: Yes, it sure was. Like I said, one of my favorites :)

@Dee: LOL...yes, I saw that one too..very appropriate :)

@sdk: Agreed and I didn't care much for most of the 'evil leaper' thing, but agree it came back strong :) Great blog post for your theme last year, by the way.

@mshatch: Heh, yes the gender bending episodes were always very interesting....especially the one where he was pregnant :)

@Lisa: Thank you and stick with it, even though the bumpy episodes, it's still a great series.

@Leslie: Now that's some great planning! :)

@Tara: Thanks and I'm glad the help with the trip down memory lane :)

@CA: Wow, yeah, a bit more cerebral than mine, for sure :)

Jaimie Ramsey said...

I've never watched this but this is the second A-Z post I've seen mention it, and I like scifi, so maybe I should give it a shot. :)

Stopping by from jaimieramsey.com. :)

randi lee said...

I was way too ridiculously obsessed with this show, Mark--and probably still am!!

jaybird said...

I loved this show as well. Quantum Leap was always tuned into at our house!

Maurice Mitchell said...

A great series, but the finale was a headscratcher. I heard they loved making Bakula dress in drag.

Christine Rains said...

Woo-hoo! Loved this series.

Heather Musk said...

Quantum Leap has always been one of my favourites. I like watching it now and keeping my eye out for all the guest actors who are so well known now. Jennifer Aniston I believe was a guest at one point, amongst others.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Hey Mark, I'm browsing blogs because there's no way I can catch up on all the posts, and this one definitely leapt up at me (see what I did there? lol)

This series was too awesome to explain. So many of them left me in tears, or with shivers down my spine. The JFK episode was amazing, with such a cool twist. I feel a boxset coming on!

Arlee Bird said...

This is one of my favorite all-time TV shows. I've got the complete series on DVD. So creative and fun!

I'm now following your blog. I can't believe I wasn't already following.

Lee
An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out

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