The original Quantum Leap is possibly my favorite series of all time – or at least a close 2nd to Dawson’s Creek. I loved the whimsy, the history, and the banter between Scott Bacula and Dean Stockwell. So, while I was very young with the series first came out I was still drawn in.
I’ve been making up scenarios on how this series could make a return myself and with friends. So, when NBC announced a reboot I was stoked. Then, seeing the casting I was even more excited. Come on, Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters) is playing a character from the original series that Sam helped!
QUANTUM LEAP – JULY 13TH, 1985
While we do not get a new rendition of the iconic theme song in QUANTUM LEAP – JULY 13TH, 1985, we do get a familiar VO opening helping to set the tone of the new series. We meet Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee) who is at an engagement party with co-workers and obviously his fiance/co-worker, Addison (Caitlin Bassett) when he gets a mysterious text saying his window is closing and he needs to go NOW!
Ben disappears from his own party, gets into the Project Accelerator, and vanishes. He comes to in a van talking to someone he doesn’t know but ends up having to be the getaway driver. While waiting for the bandits to return, Addison appears to try and help him through. We learn that, just like in the original, Ben has amnesia. He doesn’t know what the Quantum Leap project is, why he leaped without telling anyone, or even who Addison is. She also doesn’t tell him.
As the episode goes on, we see Ziggy power up, Ben on a mission to save someone, and leap to his next adventure. We also learn that the person helping Ben on this secret mission is none other than Al Calavicci’s daughter. For anyone who doesn’t, Al was the original leaper, Sam Becket’s guide on his journey. Setting us down on another mystery tunnel. Did she figure out how to find and bring Sam home? Is Sam still alive?
QUANTUM LEAP – JULY 13TH, 1985 Review
While QUANTUM LEAP – JULY 13TH, 1985 is very much a pilot in its clunkiness, and desperate need for chemistry between the characters I found myself enjoying being back in this world. Raymond Lee does a great job as the new Leaper hoping to put right what once went wrong. He’s charming and smart, and he loved seeing him trying to figure out being in someone else’s body. I also loved hearing iconic lines from the series throughout the episode.
While there is a ton of similarity in the pilot, there are also a lot of changes helping to make this Quantum Leap reboot its own. We spend a ton of time in the Quantum Leap headquarters. A place we didn’t really explore much in the original series. This means we need more characters outside of the main two and adds more groundedness to the series. Ben has a life, a fiance, and friends back home. While I’m not wholeheartedly sure it’s necessary because it takes away from what I love most about the show – seeing Ben in awkward positions trying to figure things out – I’m open to it.
I love that this is a continuation of the original story. Sam exists in this world, as well as Al. And I love that they’re bringing his daughter into this. I thought it could be Sam’s daughter, but Al’s is also a great choice. This episode is also dedicated to the late Dean Stockwell who helped catapult the original series’ success.
While there is a ton I enjoyed about this pilot, it’s not perfect by any means. Something the original series did well was balance the heaviness with levity. Quantum Leap – July 13th, 1985 is lacking in the comedy department. This, in my opinion, is partly because of who they’ve chosen to be his hologram guide. By making it Addison, she’s riddled with guilt watching Ben explore the world, unable to tell him who she really is and this drama bleeds into every scene they’re in together.
There’s a reason why Sam’s wife bowed out of being his guide. She also knew the only way for Sam to be successful is if he didn’t know he had a wife back home. I hope this reboot follows suit and allows someone else to take over. I can’t handle the sadness and longing in every episode.
The ending of the episode wraps up so quickly. It seems that just as the drama is getting started it’s over. How do we see the villain win, but then are told nope. The cops got him. Show me the cops arresting him! All this clunkiness I’m hoping is because it’s a pilot. So, now that the series gets to continue, the cast gets to play more together and the series will gel more. Personally, the perfect season 1 finale would be Ben bringing home Sam – but we’ll have to wait and see.