Let’s face it: we live in a world of reboots and reimaginings, and while it’s impossible for every series to capture the magic of the the original, there will be a few that do. The new NBC Quantum Leap series manages to do just that – but a series about a man “leaping” into someone from the past to right a cosmic wrong will always have new stories to tell.
Nod to the Past
Quantum Leap isn’t so much as a reboot of the original series by the same title as it is a sequel to it. In fact, the series pays more than a little homage to the long-lost Samuel Beck, establishing that this Quantum Project was rebuilt in order to bring him home. And while actor Scott Bakula has announced that he has no current plans to return to the series, fans can’t help but hope that he makes at least one appearance in the future, if only to establish that Sam does finally come home.
However, it’s going to take a little time before that can happen, as – once again – the Project wasn’t entirely ready before someone decided to use it to start leaping. Instead of Sam Beckett, this time it’s Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee). And instead of Al, he has Addison Augustine (Caitlin Bassett). His fiancée. Not that he remembers her.
What’s Your Problem?
Ben’s first jump lands him in 1985, a getaway driver for a robbery-in-progress. Not exactly the best time to find oneself disoriented and confused, uncertain of who you are and what you’re doing there. With Addison’s help, he discovers that he’s supposed to stop the robbery and save his friend’s life. In typical Quantum Leap fashion, the would-be victim isn’t really a bad guy. Just misguided. He’s going along with the theft of the Hope Diamond because his wife is sick, and he needs the money for her treatments. Of course, Ben realizes that his murder later that evening will leave his daughter without both parents.
It’s exactly the kind of personal-stakes, feel-good story that Quantum Leap has always been known for. And on top of that, it’s just plain fun. Ben may not have Sam’s trademark “oh boy,” but Lee does a good job with what will no doubt be his perennial “what the hell have I gotten myself into this time” mild-panic. Actors Lee and Bassett play off each other well when it comes to humorous moments, such as when Addison has to tell Ben he thinks he can dance. There are also moments of subtle heartbreak, as Addison is frequently reminded that Ben has no idea who she is or what kind of history they have together. So when it comes to figuring out how to get him home – or why he leaped to begin with? He’s very little help.
Ben may not know who he is, but he’s not the only one with questions. Questions that he’s in no position at the moment to answer. The biggest question at the moment is why he leaped in the first place. Not only was he well aware that the Quantum Project wasn’t ready for human trials yet, but he also wasn’t the one slated to do the leaping to begin with. That was supposed to be Addison’s role, with him acting as voice-in-her-ear guide.
So why did he jump, in secret, on the night of his engagement party? It seems he’s working with Al’s daughter, but to what purpose remains to be seen. It’s not likely he jumped early in a misguided attempt to bring Sam home, because that’s the whole purpose of the rebuilt project. So why did he jump? What is Al’s daughter after? How did the two get involved in their secret project together? Why has Ben been going rogue in working with her, not even letting Addison in on whatever he’s doing? And how are they going to keep all this from the Pentagon, to keep from being shut down?
While Ben and Addison work on getting him home (and figuring out why he felt the need to jump in secret in the first place), the rest of the team (including Ernie Hudson as ‘Magic’ Williams, Mason Alexander Park as Ian Wright, and Nanrisa Lee as Jenn Chou) will try to unravel the remaining mysteries.
They’d better work fast, though, because Ben has made a new leap – finding himself on a rocket being shot off into space. Oh boy.
Quantum Leap airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.