Published on April 25th, 2016 | by Chris O'Connor
Quantum Leap The complete first season Blu-ray review
Summary: Living someone else's life days at a time... could be fun, if not stressful.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Quantum Leap… it occasionally shows up on a channel somewhere, typically at odd hours of the day (or night)… but I had fond memories of it. However there is a danger in returning to view something that you haven’t seen in years… but fortunately in the case of Quantum Leap as soon as the first episode started (maybe a little after the set up scene/s) I was right back to that first viewing.
As a series Quantum Leap has a great and flexible premise… Dr. Sam Beckett performs an unauthorised test on a secret project he was working on and sends himself hurtling through time and into someone elses body/life. Eventually he learns through the help of his friend/colleague (from his “present day” self) Rear Admiral Upper Half Albert “Al” Calavicci, USN via a holographic projection of himself into Sam’s current time frame, that the way to leave that body is to achieve a task… to change that person’s history.
So it goes episode after episode… a new person, a new life to experience and a problem to solve before being leaped into the next life. Initially Sam just wants to get back to his own time but as he continues to Leap from one person to the next he gains an appreciation for what he is experiencing. This format enables the show to stay fresh and really do just about anything.
Even though the notion of the show is clearly science fiction and beyond (our current) realm of possibility… it also opens the ability to deal with some very serious issues such as gender roles, to throw a fight or not and the theme of my favourite episode racial (in)equality.
Quantum Leap not only gives us a chance to see these events and get a new understanding of them, it also gives us a chance to see what it was like at the times in history when these issues were at their worst. The notion of someone of a different skin colour not being allowed to sit at the same diner counter as anyone else certainly seems ludicrous today, yet there was a time in history when that was the only acceptable situation… races just did not mix. It is arguably important to be able to watch these issues presented as they are in Quantum Leap because in some parts of the world they run the very real risk of being repeated as new hatreds and intolerances form.
The other key element working for Quantum Leaps charm is the cast Scott Bakula as Sam and Dean Stockwell as Al. Scott brings just the right degree of “every man” to be able to seamlessly switch from one person to the next, he brings a charm that follows him all the way and is very personable and likable. Dean on the other hand provides a strangely likeable “ladies man” character to life, with a wonderful air of aloofness. The third character of note is of course Ziggy… the AI computer that crunches the numbers for what needs to be done to enable Sam to leap out of the current person. Though Ziggy is only a minor character in season 1 his role does increase… but throughout this set we already get the idea that number crunching can only give you so much of an idea as to how to “fix a life”… sometimes you just have to go on instinct.
Qualitywise the disc holds up quite well… the image shows evidence of it’s time period (ie film grain and the like), it’s also very obvious when the show switches from archival footage to their own footage (most notably in the first episode with the test flight footage).
Overall a fantastic show that still holds relevance for today… well worth a look for both established fans and fans to be.