Quantum Quality

Lily with the letter QOh boy!  With it being Television Thursday and the dreaded letter Q, of course today’s post is about the sci-fi dramedy Quantum Leap.  Although I don’t know if dramedy was an actual term when it aired in the early 90’s, it’s an apt way to describe this show’s perfect mix of laughs and serious issues.  If you’re unfamiliar with Quantum Leap, the show’s opening does a perfect job of explaining the premise:

Scott Bakula was perfectly cast as time-jumping Sam Beckett.  He was slightly bumbling, always earnest, and had a warmth and charm that allowed him to slip into people’s lives in order to right the wrongs.  And Dean Stockwell as the Exposition Fairy, uh, I mean Al, was such a quirky, fun character who delivered his weekly info dumps in an entertaining way.  

Besides Al’s antics, a lot of the humor came from Sam leaping into a new body each episode, since it never happened while that person was asleep, but at the most inconvenient time for Sam to be trying to figure out who the heck he was now inhabiting.  At the end of each episode, after Sam and Al had solved the problem in his current body’s life, he would leap into another body and deliver the infamous, “Oh boy!” line.

Because of the humorous setups, it would be easy to blow Quantum Leap off as a silly little show, but there was plenty of drama since Sam only jumped into the lives of people who were in trouble in some way.  And since the time jumping only occurred within the span of Sam’s life (1953 forward), there was a lot of sociological and political unrest to drive the stories.  For example, there were plenty of giggles seeing Scott Bakula wobbling around in a dress and heels the first time he jumped into a woman, but the episode addressed the emotional impact of sexual harassment.  

Since I’m such a sap, I often teared up at the ends of episodes as Sam finally fixed the people’s lives.  It was always such a heartwarming moment, but kind of heartbreaking, too, since Sam never got to stick around and savor the happiness of the people he’d helped.  As soon as he fixed the problem, he immediately leaped into the next problem.  But as bad as that was for Sam, it was great for the audience.  If you’ve never watched Quantum Leap, you should check it out on Netflix.

Did you watch Sam Beckett leap through time?  How would you like to jump into people’s lives to fix them?  How Quaint is Lily with her Q?


Medeia Sharif's picture

I've never seen this show. I remember seeing commercials for it, hearing other people talk about it...and I never managed to see it.

Ophelia London's picture

I've never seen the show either. I think I was still watching MTV exclusively back then. :) But now it might be time to add it to my Netflix queue. A lot of my friends talk about it. Sounds cool.
Thanks for the suggestion!! And great blog. Happy A-Z April!!

John Holton's picture

I never watched the show myself, but I knew quite a few people that did. Maybe I will at some point, since I tend to like Donald P. Bellisario's shows. On the other hand, I ran a collaborative fiction mailing list, and one particularly difficult individual played Al Calavicci, so I'm not sure I'd really appreciate it.

Susan Kane's picture

We loved Quantum Leap! Scott Bakula really found his niche with this show. Love your post!

jesstopper's picture

Quantum Leap was a college favorite! Thanks for the Scott Bakula memories!

michelle's picture

I remember Quantum Leap quite clearly... a great series!
It was always frustrating when Sam was whisked away and into the next body (even though we knew it was gonna happen...)

Chris Kelworth's picture

Yeah - I loved this show when it was first on. I haven't actually watched a rerun in a while, but I have fond memories - and it was great to hear Scott and Dean talk about it in a Q&A panel last weekend! (They came to the Wizard World Comic con show in Toronto.)

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Quantum Leap really was a fun show, and I'm glad to hear other people remember if fondly.  If you didn't get a chance to watch it back then, I'm pretty sure it's available on Netflix. 

Ida Chiavaro's picture

I completely forgot about this show Jocelyn, I used to love it.  Great contronym post for Atoz 2013 too.

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