Reboots have been in vogue for the past decade. They are an easy way to start the production of a TV show or movie. To take an existing fan base and use it to propel your projects seems like a no-brainer. Why build an audience from the ground up when you can use one that is already there? It seems easy, and if done right, the harvest of riches could be considerable. However, if you do it wrong, you better get ready for the disdain and anger of the fans of the original. Let’s review Quantum Leap, a new TV show that tries to stand on the shoulders of a giant.
Quantum Leap is a TV series developed by NBC and stars Raymond Lee, Caitlin Basset, Ernie Hudson, Mason Alexander Park, and Nanrisa Lee. The series tells the story of Dr. Ben Song, a physicist who has been working for a long time on the Quantum Leap project. Song is about to get married to Addison Augustine, who works with him on the project. Song’s life seems to be going uphill, but suddenly he steps into the Quantum Leap machine and jumps in time, into the body of another person. Why Song stepped into the machine is a mystery, but he will need to find his way back home.
Without a doubt, Quantum Leap is one of the best science-fiction TV series ever produced and one of the best American TV shows ever produced as well. The charm, excitement, and quality of the show cannot be underestimated. The show starred Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell and ran through time for five seasons full of stories that, people wanted to see, but more than that stories that the people wanted to see these two actors in. Casting is 50% of the job, many directors say, and it seems like if you don’t have the right cast, well, things might not go the best way.
This is the big problem of Quantum Leap, the new 2022 version. The cast is fine, but it cannot be compared to the gigantic amount of charisma and grace that the original two protagonists brought to the table. Raymond Lee and Caitlin Basset step into the shoes of the two main characters in the show. This time, the dynamic between these two main characters is very different, and while this adds something refreshing to see, it also makes things a bit more cliché than they were supposed to be.
The show tries to be more than just a normal reboot; it also tries to be a sequel, or what we in the industry call, a soft reboot. Serving not only as a new beginning for the property but also as a sequel to the original Quantum Leap series. The original series left the story very open-ended, and we never got to know if Samuel Beckett managed to get back home after that last episode of the series. So, there is potential for Bakula to come back in that role, which would be amazing, and something that fans expect from this new version of the show without a doubt.
Stockwell, the other protagonist of the original series died recently, so his character cannot be in this revival, but the series is still trying to tie his character to what is happening right now. If they are not successful in doing it, it could be a big blow for the show. The series is keeping most of the reasons why this story is being told a secret. However, we expect that the creators of the show know that they are handling characters that people have loved for decades. So there should be a lot of respect involved in these procedures.
Visually, the show stands as a very standard network show. You can really feel the difference between a show that is being produced by and for a streaming service and this show that is produced for a more traditional broadcast network. There is this quality to the show that makes it feel dated, but also brings a lot of charm to the table. Lee and Basset might not have the charm and acting chops of the original protagonists but, at least, the production is helping that the show doesn’t feel like a complete cash-grab.
In terms of the narrative, this show does the work when it comes to setting up a mystery that could carry this first season completely, but that also could overstay its welcome if not handled correctly. The premise of the show allows for this perfect “case of the week” story structure, and they better make good use of it. The show has the potential to become one of those shows you can just watch randomly and still have a good time. Network television 101.
This new version of Quantum Leap lacks the powerful duo that made the original so good, but the production values and the story are good enough that not having a strong protagonist could be forgiven. Who knows? Maybe the actors will find a way to make their characters click as the season progresses.