Quantum Leap is back… sort of. It’s been nearly 30 years since Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished.
Now, a new team, led by physicist Ben Song (Raymond Lee), has been assembled to restart the project in hope of understanding the mysteries behind the machine and its inventor.
Everything changes, however, when Ben makes an unauthorized leap into the past, leaving the team behind to solve the mystery of why he did it. At Ben’s side throughout his leaps is Addison (Caitlin Bassett), who appears in the form of a hologram only Ben can see and hear. She’s a decorated Army veteran who brings level-headed precision to her job.
At the helm of the highly confidential operation is Herbert “Magic” Williams (Ernie Hudson), a no-nonsense career military man who has to answer to his bosses who won’t be happy once they learn about the breach of protocol. The rest of the team at headquarters includes Ian Wright (Mason Alexander Park), who runs the Artificial Intelligence unit “Ziggy,” and Jenn Chou (Nanrisa Lee), who heads up digital security for the project.
As Ben leaps from life to life, putting right what once went wrong, it becomes clear that he and the team are on a thrilling journey. However, Addison, Magic, Ian and Jenn know that if they are going to solve the mystery of Ben’s leaps and bring him home, they must act fast or lose him forever.
In the first episode, which aired on Monday night July 13 1985 during an engagement party for Ben and Addison, we are introduced to the key characters of the show. After receiving a series of mysterious texts, Ben sneaks away from his own engagement party to hop into the Project Accelerator for an unauthorized leap.
Before leaping, he managed to scrub the security footage of himself and the mystery texter as well as leave a video message for his new fiance. With “Swiss cheese” brain, Ben finds himself to be the getaway driver (Dax Campbell) of a robbery. His fiance, Addison appears as a hologram, much like the original Sam Beckett had Al (Dean Stockwell) to help him make decisions based on the calculations of the temperamental AI named Ziggy. In this iteration, Ben has uploaded an update of a secret new code for Ziggy and she is unavailable for the beginning of his leap.
As mentioned, Ben has “Swiss cheese brain” and has no idea why he chose to leap without the support of his team and has no recollection of his life with his fiance. It is revealed that SHE was the one training to be the one leaping, and Ben was supposed to be the hologram guide.
As the leap progresses, Ben makes choices against Ziggy’s calculations and manages to create the desired outcome and leap into the next episode just like the original series. Much like the original series, this new Quantum Leap features a revolving door of talented actors for each stand-alone story per episode.
While the exact identity of the mystery texter, who was involved with Ben’s unauthorized and unplanned leap, it is revealed that they have ties to someone from the original show and it is implied that this mystery will be investigated and revealed throughout the series as it progresses.
Unfortunately, no one said “oh boy.” When Ben began his leap into 1985, he said, “what the…” and when he began his next leap at the end of the episode into an astronaut he said, “Oh sh…” and no one else managed to slip in an “Oh boy!”
The tiniest bit of homage paid to the original, along with the premiere episode being dedicated to Stockwell, who passed last year, might not be enough to keep fans of the original Quantum Leap engaged, but it’s possible NBC is attempting to score a brand new audience previously unfamiliar with the popular series which ran from 1989-1993.
In the original, it turned out to be God who was behind Sam’s leaping. Time will tell if that is same reason for Ben’s journey.
Martin Gero serves as executive producer along with Dean Georgaris, Don Bellisario, Deborah Pratt, Chris Grismer, Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt.
Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, produces in association with I Have an Idea! Entertainment, Belisarius Productions and Quinn’s House Productions.
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Joia DaVida reports on the entertainment industry in both Chicago and Los Angeles.