Raymond Lee in NBC Sci-Fi Reboot – The Hollywood Reporter

On review – difficult as episodes are only available for purchase or on the “premium” level at Peacock – the original 1989 version for Quantum Leap is an impressive one.

Because it’s a two-episode series, creator Donald P. Bellisario can watch almost the entire first 45 minutes without needing to explain. Scott Bakula’s Sam Beckett wakes up in the body of a 1956 test pilot with no memory and he must figure out his situation, as well as why he keeps talking to a man (Dean Stockwell’s Al) that no one else can see. Sure, everything is explained in the end, but there’s a long stretch where the episode just lets the audience figure things out or flounder. No pilots in 2022, especially no TV pilots, have demonstrated a comparable level of confidence.

Quantum Leap

Key point

Too much talk, not enough leap.

Sadly, that’s evident in the new NBC sequel/reboot. Pilot for this new one Quantum Leap It’s 41 minutes of near non-stop streaming and hand-holding, ensuring that both new viewers understand every aspect of the premise and that old fans understand the connection between this update and the original – no matter what. It doesn’t matter how much it ends up.

There is a lot of need for explanation in Quantum Leap Experiment that there’s no time to have a little fun with the premise, and if you can’t get instant fun with the premise like this, there’s no point. Due to tight production schedules on broadcasts, unfortunately, the pilot was all I’ve seen, so perhaps episode two marks a moment where series developers Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt (NBC still credits Bellisario as “creator”) starting to have fun? I’m still not prepared to take that leap.

The new one Quantum Leap begins 30 years after the original series ended. Under the friendly watch of the US military, Project Quantum Leap is being rebooted, complete with the supercomputer Ziggy. The team is led by Herbert “Magic” Williams (Ernie Hudson), who will be the superhero and absolutely no one else will remember from season 3 episode “The Leap Home (Part 2) – Vietnam.”

The team includes physicist Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee) and his fiancée, ex-soldier Addison (Caitlin Bassett), along with tech wizard Ian (Mason Alexander Park) and security chief Jenn ( Nanrisa Lee). The show isn’t ready to move into human trials yet, but Ben gets his start at his own engagement party when he receives a mysterious text message. Next thing you know, Ben goes to Philadelphia in 1985, where he has to stop a bombing or a theft or something, basically putting right what went wrong in hopes of taking the leap. His next step will be the leap home. This is a good theory, except that Sam Beckett never actually brought it home. Will Ben have better luck?

Like the original Quantum Leap pilot proves, viewers are smart enough to follow the plot of the franchise without any manipulation, because it is accessible and powerful. Dude travels back in time into different people’s bodies to fix things in their lives. Add half a sentence of “quantum entanglement” mumbo jumbo and nothing more is needed because nothing else will make sense anyway.

The new one Quantum Leap getting people to learn about the new software and the room that allowed Addison to appear in the past in the form of useful holograms of Ben and the military authorities and dozens of other things that I would describe as “The problem of Volume 7″. And that’s before the series begins to feature characters reminding each other of Sam and Al, showing viewers images of Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell, and making various connections between the shows.

Problem: Bakula has been posting social media posts and okay, talking about why he decided not to be on the new show. This could be a garden misdirection or a bargaining tactic. If it’s the second, allow me to do my part to help with Bakula’s negotiations: The way this new show has been structured, Sam Beckett’s on-screen presence isn’t optional. . It was essential that Sam appeared briefly in the first half of the season, appeared longer in the first season finale, and then at least became a recurring character in the second season. Otherwise, the pilot double exposure is pointless.

The pilot could have ended up with an acknowledgment of the original series’ Easter egg, a picture of Sam on a computer screen or something, and that would have appeased longtime fans. life. The gratuitous callback babbles have run out of time to give Ben and his new team additional personality traits.

Or maybe it’s time to be removed from the pilot’s episodic plot, the use of the special element about Quantum Leap brand. I’m happy to start my complaint with a hilariously bad geographic doubling for Philadelphia or the fact that for certain age-aged viewers, “Philadelphia + 1985 + Bombing” will automatically trigger associated with the infamous police bombing, MOVE, something the creators seem to have forgotten here.

But no, it’s largely a lousy first episode plot because it doesn’t make use of abilities stuck in another body of the premise and reduces the “getting right what happened” part. ” of the premise, “Bad Guy Does Bad For Emotional Reasons So Not Really Bad.” The original series taps into Baby Boomer’s rich vein of nostalgia – who is Sam Beckett if not a human? Forrest Gump time travel? – and the timelines in the pilot here say nothing about the new version that will be mined, if any.

Will all of this be addressed in future episodes and will there be storylines that offer more emotional and entertaining value from the premise of being trapped in another body? Maybe! But either you put your best foot forward in a pilot or you don’t. Despite the advantage of franchising characteristics, Quantum Leap ended up being a less special pilot than the previous NBC wannabe Quantum Leap display as Timeless or short-lived Travelergreat Quantum Leap reboot if they just called it Quantum Leap.

For Lee, this Quantum Leap seems to have a solid center in place, if other creative elements come together. He has a good mix of nerd uncertainty and complacent stubbornness, of easily flustered perplexity and gentle charisma. I can’t tell if Bassett is any good, but I love the new instructive/leap dynamic that brings all those subliminal Sam/Al voices to the surface.

Hudson, Park, and Lee played little, and I constantly realized that there was a reason the original series kept Sam’s team to a minimum, namely the more you complicate or simply expand on the current season of the show. less time. those are creative episodic stories that are indispensable for the brand.

We’ll see if, after this slick, but not entirely unsatisfactory pilot, NBC’s new Quantum Leap finally figured it out. And we’ll see how soon the “shocking” Scott Bakula will appear.

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