Thoughts about the reboot


Project QL Intern
Jul 13, 2022

New user here. Quantum Leap was one of those shows that I had a love/hate relationship with given how it ended. I discovered it part way through the third season so I missed the pilot and the early stories. I thought season 3, 4, and 5 were very strong. But given how they ended the series with the finale and the line that Dr. Sam Becket never returned home I was really dismayed. Since then I’ve heard the theories about the misspelling of Sam’s last name and I also saw the YouTube video of the supposed alternate ending. With the revival I’ve been inspired to rewatch the entire series. I finished all of seasons 1 and 2 and just watched both parts of The Leap Home. As I’ve rewatched the series and think about things that I’ve noticed during my rewatch marathon and ponder what the reboot may offer I have to ideas rambling around my head and wanted to see if anyone had any opinions:

1. Each of the original episodes contain Sam doing a voice over. One could say that it’s just the vocalization of his thoughts, but could it also be interpreted that it’s a narative by a future Sam who was documenting his thoughts during the leap. I know swiss cheese memory comes into play here but without knowing how they really wanted to show to end I don’t know that maybe he wouldn’t have remembered his leaps.

2. I don’t recall that the original series ever establish what the people who leap into the waiting room remember about their time and experiences during the leap and how the memories created by Sam during the leap are integrated. I’m just wondering what, if anything, Ernie Hudson’s Magic will remember about the leap. I gotta think it’s more than a coincidence that he’s involved with the Quantum Leap project.

3. I’m intrigued by the idea of the reboot showing more of what happens in the Quantum Leap headquarters. But since the original series mainly focused on Sam and Al, and Al was the conduit for off screen interactions between the rest of the team with the exception of The Leap Back, I wonder if the reboot may be introducing too many characters or trying to cram too much story telling into one hour. Please don’t interpret this as a criticism. Just a curiosity. I do enjoy good story telling, so if they do it well, it could add a new, previously unseen, regular dimension to the stories.

4. In the alleged alternate ending, it appears that Sam no longer leaps in to other people but leaps as himself. If the alternate ending is accurate and that was a direction the creative team wanted to pursue, might the reboot continue along these lines rather than having Ben leap into another person?

Anyway, I’m trying so hard to be optimistically excited without setting unattainable expectations. I know there’s a debate going on as to Scott’s involvement and I would like to see Sam’s story have a proper ending if he’s not going to be a regular part of the reboot.
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My understanding of the alternate ending, which was in the original shooting script of Mirror Image as confirmed to us by the late Richard Herd, and of course you can watch the footage from the filmed rehearsal, is that Sam is now carrying out his mission without a connection to Project Quantum Leap. I think he is still replacing people in time, but the people he replaces aren't going to the PQL Waiting Room.

Don Bellisario has stated many times in interviews and at conventions that Sam and Al were always slated to meet and Al was always going to be part of the Project no matter what historical changes were made. Further, he said that Season 6 would have followed largely the same formula as previous seasons. We can assume that Sam would now be able to leap home any time he wants, but is choosing to continue to leap and that would be a source of conflict and growth in the story. I figured Quantum Leaping would become Sam's day job and he'd be like a soldier that only rarely gets to go home. If they tried to pretend Mirror Image didn't happen or claim Sam is still "stuck in time", that would be pretty lazy storytelling.

The synopses of the new Quantum Leap series have suggested that "Magic" played by Ernie Hudson not only has memories of his time at Project Quantum Leap and being a leapee, but that it deeply affected and even disturbed him and bothers him to this day, and is why he is involved in the new Project.

The original show struck a balance that weighed heavily on each week's story, and VERY light on the futuristic/project goings-on. If they show the Project for 5-10 minutes every week on the new show, as much as I may be geeking out as a fan, it would give it a very different feel. Not bad, just different.

Welcome to Al's Place! :)
I'm excited for possibly having more of the Project! I always liked the balance they struck with Stargate SG-1 in that regard. You often had the main/A-plot with the team, but you'd also have a B-plot back at Command. Made things interesting and helped put a bit more tension because you'd be going back and forth between plots, so you'd have a built-in suspense as you waited to see how each story would unfold.
Huge fan of SG-1 here and am rewatching now (just finished season 8 ) as I didn't watch all the movies the first time and wanted to watch them all contiguously.
My thoughts are however hard they try to treat QL as a reboot/sequel they will always be dragged down by the nostalgic magic of the original and of course its star ..... Scott Bakula as Sam Beckett.

As many shows have tried and failed miserably these days to relaunch old classics i.e Magnum P.I, Beverly Hills cop I'm not holding out too much on this rebooted version of QL. All I ask of the producers and writers is to give Sam his closure and leap home, meet up with his daughter, wife and of course AL and moving forward be a guide to the program itself as he was the initial inventor.

I'll pass judgement on the first couple of episodes to see if it stands any chance of recapturing the magic.
Oh, I dunno. Hawaii Five-0 ran for ten seasons. MacGyver had five seasons. Magnum P.I. had four seasons before cancellation, but then NBC swooped in and grabbed up the rights. "NBC officially picked up the series for 20 episodes, expected to be split over two seasons, with the option for more episodes" (Wikipedia). Dynasty had five seasons.

The Conners is a continuation, not a reboot, so more along the lines of what QL22 is gonna be; it's had four seasons and has a fifth upcoming. The 90210 continuation that started in 2008 got five seasons. The new Fantasy Island continuation has been renewed for a second season; the iCarly continuation is currently on its second season. Fuller House had five seasons.

So the reboots/continuations have been pretty darned successful, I'd say.

Unfortunately, the time has long passed for us to see a Sam and Al reunion, unless Dean's family allows the showrunners to do some kind of deepfake along the lines of a certain character in Mandalorian/Book of Boba Fett (trying not to spoil anyone who may be behind on these shows).
Certain shows can get away with a relaunch/sequel and run for a few seasons but it doesn't make them good, a perfect example is Star Trek Picard which has been universally panned as just another dark gritty adaptation of yesterday's predicted "future" ST universe which is lead by a tired old captain who is a shadow of himself. The reason its getting its 3rd season is as a tribute and it will most probably revert back to what made it great in its heyday as a winning formula.

There have been some other poor attempts for example Lethal Weapon or Knight Rider reboots.

I'm hoping QL22 does not go down the same road, IMO it's already on the backfoot with no returning original members i.e Sam Beckett or call back of others (yet) and will only call upon him when the show is in trouble or suffering a ratings crash.

I hope to be wrong and they do it justice because this is a relaunch show i really want to succeed.
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I suspect many of us old time Quantum Leap fans are concerned about the new series not living up to our hopes let alone our expectations. Having said that, just remember that time travel shows have a tough go of it on network television. The Time Tunnel got two seasons in the 60's. It had a pilot episode "reboot" in 2001 which never got picked up. I thought it was promising but I like time travel shows. Voyagers! had one season in the 80's then QL's successful five season run in the 80's & 90's. Then nothing until Timeless in 2016/17 for two seasons. If the new QL gets more than that it's probably a bonus.
Yeah they don't give time travel shows enough opportunity to catch on before cancelling them. I watched that Time Tunnel 2001 reboot with the temp music. Not bad. Shame it didn't get picked up.
Hi all,

Original poster circling back. Reading through some of these posts it seems I'm not the only one who shares some of these thoughts. I'm currently alternating between episodes of QL and 1982 Voyagers! to pass my treadmill time. I thought Voyagers! was as good as I remembered and researched it's cancellation and read that the network execs thought a news show would do better but Voyagers! actually did way better in that spot. So a lot of this does come down to the execs giving a show time. Since I originally found QL after it had started I didn't see some of the earlier episodes until they were in reruns. Watching the series from the beginning and watching the writing and the character development improve I noticed that QL, for me, seemed to find it's legs in season 3. Season 1 seemed to kind of amble down the road and introduced some would be famous people as back characters but that was about it. Season 2 did more of the same but to me some of the stories started to be have more of a personal connection, mainly to Al as we started to learn more of his backstory. By season 3 I thought the writing was pretty good because I'm part way through season 3 and I can read a synopsis of an episode and think "Gee, I don't know if that'll be interesting" but by the end I'm thoroughly hooked and enjoy the story. Looking ahead at seasons 4 and 5 I know more of what to expect and am excited to get to those stories. Hopefully the new QL writing staff is able to channel that creativity and keep the momentum of the later seasons alive from the start of the continuation.
I suspect many of us old time Quantum Leap fans are concerned about the new series not living up to our hopes let alone our expectations. Having said that, just remember that time travel shows have a tough go of it on network television. The Time Tunnel got two seasons in the 60's. It had a pilot episode "reboot" in 2001 which never got picked up. I thought it was promising but I like time travel shows. Voyagers! had one season in the 80's then QL's successful five season run in the 80's & 90's. Then nothing until Timeless in 2016/17 for two seasons. If the new QL gets more than that it's probably a bonus.

The good: Great connection to the original series. Improved PQL.
The bad: Faster paced than the original. The original also had better, more meaningful storylines. And I think it shows too much of the project. The original series had very few scenes of the future and none until the fifth season. Sam was the main character and everything was from his point of view. Other than the guy who plays Ben, I'm not thrilled with the casting choices. The chemistry between Ben and Addison is nowhere near Sam & Al.
One of the things currently missing in the reboot is any mentioning of the "waiting room" when they are in the present time at the project.

The episodes I remember from the original series where they actually showed the person in the waiting room was the JFK/Lee Harvey Oswald episodes where Sam actually leaps into various times in Oswald's life and also lept into one of the secret service men. They showed Oswald in the waiting room. With the ending Al saying something about his swiss cheese mind not remembering that in the original history Jackie was killed too.

I've just been waiting to see if they start mentioning the waiting room in the new reboot.
World Buidling

I did like the added lore of Magic saying when he was in 'Nam he felt a force asking to come in (Sam, fate or God) and when he let it, it took over (the leap) nice bit of world building on the original. It fit nicely because someone in need would feel that force (Sam if they are good, Alia if they Evil) and doesn't have to lean into the religious of the original like Magic said he had intuition and felt a presence...a religious person would feel God or angels, Magic felt a good force. It added something that the original only showed once "Double Identity" where Sam leaped into a gangster at a wedding and we learned that after he leaped they guy though it was still the day of the wedding (It was a double leap and originally supposed to be episode two but got moved back because they thought it would confuse audiences.) It seems they are going with the leapee not being able to remember their time in the future and with not showing us the waiting room that they must have a new place that the leapee goes since they have finally said that yes the body does leap. It also showed that the leapee didn't remember anything from the future, this would cause problems for future episodes like where young Al is in the future and he has to leap into himself (How would he remember his mission), the Roberto episode (at the end Sam said the next episode he would say he was abducted by aliens) The Return of the Evil Leaper (How would Albert remember Al Counseling) but some episodes always contradicted others.