The Quantum Leap reboot on NBC is faithful to classic science fiction

Addison and Ben look shocked while driving a getaway vehicle.

Addison (Caitlin Bassett) and Ben (Raymond Lee) prepare for impact.
picture: Ron Batzdorf/NBC

It’s been nearly 30 years since then Scott BakulaDr. Sam Beckett has disappeared over time (and from the airwaves), but Quantum leap– A popular show during five seasons – has since maintained a cult following. It’s no surprise that NBC has Dip back into time travel well with Restartwhich is being shown for the first time today.

This is new Quantum leap It is actually a sequel in addition to being a reboot. Sam and his companion Al (The late Dean Stockwell, to whom the first episode is dedicated), both are referenced by the new characters, and the show’s unreliable sci-fi tech supercomputer is still called Ziggy. But Quantum leap 22 is, at least in its infancy, a more elaborate production. The cast, which includes a lab team that toils nowadays, is bigger; Production values ​​are as ingenious as what you would expect to see from the 21st century prime time NBC series; There is also a back plot that goes beyond the jumps of the main character who is poised to introduce inflated intrigue into the actions.

However, “July 13, 1985” is still the first episode of a new show, and therefore he spends a lot of time explaining what is going on to viewers. Fans of the original series will remember episodes that opened with a spoken introduction explaining its concept as well as the title sequence featuring scenes from Sam’s adventures – plus, Sam was given audio exaggerations to explain what he was feeling (usually confused) while trying to figure out a) who “jumped” at him , b) where and when he was, and c) who was supposed to help him in that particular period of time, which would lead to his next short journey through space and time. He wasn’t entirely alone – he had Al, a hologram that only Sam could see and hear, and who would appear with his mobile devices that connected them to Ziggy’s vast repositories of historical knowledge – but he didn’t know how to bring it home.

The new show is, well, very similar once it gets past its setting. The book begins with an on-screen text that quotes the opening of the original series: “In 1995, theorizing that one could time travel in one’s own life, Dr. Sam Beckett got into the Quantum Leap accelerator and disappeared. After years of trying to bring it home, the project was abandoned. In the end… even now.” In short, we meet Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee Made for loveAnd the Top Gun: MaverickAnd the Kevin was the same F**k) and his fiancée, Addison (Caitlin Bassett), who happens to be his co-worker at a top-secret military lab that employs time-travel freaks. Magic (GhostbustersErnie Hudson) is the chief benefactor, along with fellow eggheads Jane (Nanrisa Lee .).) and Ian (Mason Alexander Park). They’re all friends and we first met them at Ben and Addison’s engagement party, a joyful evening until Ben, who was getting text messages from someone who insists he’s “running out of time!” peaces out to… Hop on to the Quantum Leap accelerator, although it’s not ready to be used by anyone without making some major bugs.

Jane (Nanressa Lee), Magic (Ernie Hudson), Ian (Mason Alexander Park), and Addison react to something a long time ago.

Jane (Nanressa Lee), Magic (Ernie Hudson), Ian (Mason Alexander Park), and Addison react to something a long time ago.
picture: Ron Batzdorf/NBC

Naturally, this seemingly idiotic decision freaks everyone out, including Ben himself, who pops up in July 1985 with amnesia (a side effect of leaping), something that Addison—who’s able to follow him through time as a hologram, just like Al followed Sam—helps him cope with, though she doesn’t explain her personal relationship with him (she does, however, inform him that she was supposed to be the one doing the time-traveling). Thanks to glimpses of media—did any circa-1985 theater programmer ever decide to screen a double-feature of The Goonies and St. Elmo’s Fire? What would that audience even look like?—we soon learn he’s in Philadelphia and is a dude named “Nick” who’s about to serve as a getaway driver for an elaborate heist. With Ziggy’s help, Ben and Addison are able to piece together what’s going down; it involves a big explosion and the Hope Diamond, but—like the intricacies of the time-travel tech that got Ben there in the first place—the crime is really a MacGuffin. As in the original Quantum Leap, the real reason for “July 13, 1985″ is so that Ben can help one specific person who’s been wronged by the timeline, and set things right.

If this sounds like a violation of everything you know about time travel, especially the part about not meddling with the past, lest you irrevocably alter the present—well, Quantum Leap has a different point of view. Going by this first episode, the new series will keep to the original show’s general take that fixing a wrong in the past can actually improve the future. We won’t spoil Ben’s first mission, but we will note that as far as leaps go, it’s a pretty easy one for him: Nick is around Ben’s age and seems to be a bit of a lone wolf, and a city circa 1985 isn’t too jarring of a setting. As Quantum Leap fans will remember, Sam often woke up in circumstances that required immediate quick thinking beyond “oh boy, who am I?”—including being a Black man in Los Angeles on the day of the Watts riots, a pregnant teenager, a horror author who meets the actual devil, a psychiatric patient receiving shock therapy, Lee Harvey Oswald, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Sam’s own Civil War-era great-grandfather, A chimpanzee about to be sent into outer space.

Ben meets a man (Michael Welch) who needs his help.

Ben meets a man (Michael Welch) who needs his help.
picture: Ron Batzdorf/NBC

It’s not yet clear if Ben’s special journey will be too surprising, or if it will go wild among the characters who offer the show a chance to engage in both social commentary and outright goofballery. It’s also unclear how the show would handle things if Ben jumped on someone who already has a romantic partner, as Sam often did – and how Addison might react to that. In the first episode, at least, Ben doesn’t have any voiceovers, so we don’t get to know his state of mind as he grapples with his strange new circumstances.

While there is already a lot going on with Ben’s problem-solving scheme, Quantum leap He explains that why he jumped before the machine was ready would become an important mystery. He just left an encrypted video message behind, and the time travel version of Ben has no memory of 2022, so he can’t provide any insight. With Project Government tycoons already breathing anxiously, the team he left behind must puzzle over their motives, and the secrecy surrounding their actions, and discover a mysterious partner who is sure to recover further as the show progresses.

In general, there will be a lot to absorb, especially if you are not already familiar with the classic series. But Ben is a lovable hero who retains the qualities of Sam Beckett for being a friendly, quick-thinking, very obsessive person who really wants to help people. Rhythm, amplified by quick editing and impulse music, keeps things moving even during exhibition avalanches. It remains to be seen whether Quantum leap She’ll put her focus on inter-charitable journeys through time, as the original series did, or if she’s going to keep dividing her attention between past and present — although considering the cast, especially with a star like Ernie Hudson in a lead role, that seems likely. Will the end result yield a lot of cuts between the lines, or will the show branch go out and bring Ben home at some point, allowing Addison and the others a chance to do some jumping? And will Dr. Sam Beckett himself appear somewhere along the way? We’ll head over to find out… and also to see if Quantum leap 2.0 can dare to top that chimpanzee ring.

Meet Ben Bodour

Ben as “Nick” meets a man named Ryan (Michael Welch) in 1985.

Quantum leap Premieres tonight at 10PM ET and PT on NBC; It will be broadcast the next day on Peacock.

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