Settling down and hearing the words “Ziggy” and “Leap” leap from the TV made my heart flutter, a childhood memory of a golden age when Sam and Al were leaping around putting right to what once went wrong, hoping that the next leap would be the leap home for Samuel Beckett. Only this time the faces of Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell were not facing me. Who were these imposters? Why is Winston from Ghostbusters talking about time travel? Who is this, Ben? Why has QUANTUM LEAP all of a sudden become all polished and shiny?
Ah yes – we are in remake territory, but as this new team correctly understands just how loved and cherished the old team are, it’s basically a redo that tips its hat into the past now and again, just to keep the “leaper” fan-base happy. Thankfully they have already put one thing from the past right by correcting the spelling of Sam’s name in the title sequence (unlike the original finale) that reminded us of the fact that the guy we all loved in the early 90’s is still lost out there, leaping from life to life.
But it’s OK! We now have Ben Song to root for. A guy who is totally different to our Sam, who takes himself way too seriously, yes, it’s only the first episode and it’s not fair to judge from one mission, but I already miss the wit and charm of old, where is the narrative in which we get to know what he is thinking and feeling? Why did it feel so bland when he leaped for the first time ever? Was it because the storyline was weak or the fact that this new lead just lacked the energy and innocence to carry this project.?
Leaving his fiancée, a woman who was supposed to be the one to “leap”, but Ben jumped in ahead, with a head full of secrets which he has now forgotten because all devoted fans know that one of the side effects of leaping is “Swiss cheese” memory – bad move Ben! And now that Addison has become the new Al, a hologram that only Ben can see and hear, instead of the fun and jovial banter that carried the original show through five wonderful seasons, we now have a loved up couple in which one remembers and the other doesn’t and if anything like we know from the past glories, Ben will have to do some serious kissing in some missions, how will Addison cope? Does this Quantum Leap fan care enough?
Mistakes are made throughout this new redo! While the original pilot show had the foresight and confidence to let the viewer find out themselves who Sam really was, in which a simple fishing trip was all we needed back then to explain why Sam kept on seeing this strange guy called Al, this 2022 version felt as if it spent most of its 45-minute running time explaining all the ins and out, totally forgetting the one aspect that all fans of old loved – FUN!
Over exposition to the point, it became ridiculous, Ben’s first leap in which started with him as a getaway driver for a bank raid – cue police chase to get the action fans onboard before settling down and figuring out that he was there to save a guy’s life was overshadowed by what was happening back at the Quantum Leap HQ. It was always a nice little treat to see Al back in his own time frame in what was only a few minor moments in a 97-episode run as the show was all about Sam and the person he had become and the year in question. The character of Ben who has already got a huge amount of pressure on him for following in the footsteps of such a TV Icon, felt like a sideshow in his own tale and not showing him fully leap into the new person for the next episode – instead showing him go all blue, before cutting towards more plot drivel in the future, before cutting back again to witness him being launched into space, lost all the momentum that the show once gained. Even if you were watching a weaker episode of Sam’s – and even the diehard fan will admit there were a few- the hook was always waiting to see what the next adventure awaits as the show set itself up for the next episode. Watching Ben’s second leap, being cut into a gap, poor. poor decision which I personally hope is not the norm for this new version.
There are curious moments that just about makes me not want to give up quite yet on this new time-travelling tale. The arrival of Janice and her connection between old and new will delight the devoted and the fact that Ernie Hudson is playing the character of MAGIC, a guy who Sam himself leaped into in the episode The Leap Home, Part II which suggests that this has to be revisited at some point.
So, while I am not yet feeling the love and already miss the charm that the original had in spades, Quantum Leap 2022 still has a few time jumps yet before I decide for good if Ben and Co can at least bring some of the delightful joy I once had while watching and despite Bakula’s claims that he has no part in this version, the way the plot is setting itself up, there must be an end game to where Sam Beckett finally returns home, if this doesn’t happen on the second attempt, I think all fans will be uttering the famous words…..