Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Announcing: The Quantum Leap Project!

Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Nick stepped into the Quantum Leap Accelerator....and started the Quantum Leap Project!

When did you start watching Quantum Leap?
Around the same time I discovered MacGyver (fall of 1990), though I think I found Quantum Leap a little later like '91 or '92.  It was at a similar point in the series (i.e. the later years) as MacGyver, and for both shows I wast able to catch up through reruns while simultaneously watching brand new primetime weekly episodes.

How did you find Quantum Leap?
I don't remember my first episode or how I discovered it.  My hunch is that my mother first watched it and I joined in with her.  Much like MacGyver, it became a show that I remember fondly as a source of time spent with her.

What did you like about the show?
There's a lot to like.  For starters, the concept of the show is amazingly creative and original.  We don't see anthologies (where there's a different story each episode) in today's television very often, but I like anthologies, and there aren't many shows in tv history that were as different from episode to episode as Quantum Leap.  That made for very unique and compelling storytelling as there was quite a range of episode types, from action to comedy to social commentary to scary to solemn.  And some of the episodes are quite emotional (in a good way) and powerful.

What really made the show work for me was the performance and chemistry of its stars, Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell.  Whereas MacGyver had his share of buddy episodes with Pete and Jack, he was still first and foremost a lone wolf.  With QL, however, it was a buddy episode every time out which made it fun.  Bakula in particular was just awesome in the starring role.  Like Richard Dean Anderson, he is by all accounts a great guy in real life, and that comes across on screen in the likability of his character.  And like MacGyver, Sam Beckett was a kinder, gentler hero with a conscience and someone who my younger self looked up to.

My mom and I actually saw Bakula in person when he played the father in the Civil War Musical Shenandoah in 2006. This was pretty special for my mom in particular because not only is she a big Scott Bakula fan but also because Shenandoah is her favorite play.  To top it off, the play was held in historic Ford's Theatre (where Lincoln was assassinated) in Washington DC which added some additional gravitas to the event.

Was there anything you didn't like about the show?
There were a few dark and disturbing episodes that my mom and I would skip when they came around on reruns.  There's actually one particular scene/moment that I would rate as the creepiest, most frightening thing I've ever seen on television -- I get chills just thinking about it.  It will be interesting to rewatch it now (if I can muster up the courage!) and to see if I have the same intense reaction (hopefully not!).

How well do you remember the episodes?
Not all that well.  There are a handful that I remember fairly well, but for most of them I only remember bits and pieces and some not at all.  Unlike MacGyver, I never got the DVDs and so I haven't watched it at all in 20 years.

How will the rankings be structured?
Since I don't remember the episodes well enough to do a MacGyver-style pre-rank reverse countdown, I will instead watch the episodes in order and rank them as I go like I did with Legend.  There are 97 episodes over 5 seasons, and I will continue my tradition of doing one post per 2 parter (and there's even a 3 parter), so there will end up being a total of 92 episodes to rank.  I also hope to get in touch with people involved with the show for additional commentary and insights.  Here is a link to my landing page that will be the home for the posts, episode rankings, and cast/crew conversations.

Does the show have a cool theme song?
Yes it does!

Can others participate?
Of course!  Part of what made the MacGyver Project so much fun was hearing from dedicated fans of the show, especially Mark, Al, and Highlander who commented on almost every episode and even had rankings of their own.  If anyone would like to rank episodes along with me, I will create a separate page for you, and of course comments are always welcome.

How often will the posts be?
There won't be a set timeline, just whenever I have time and I feel like it.  Sometimes with MacGyver I would let a few weeks go by between posts while other times I did 4 in a week, so you just never know.  I've hoping to have the pilot episode posted in two weeks -- first I aim to finish the final 4 songs of my Disney countdown.  I also have a few MacGyver-related posts and one podcast planned for later this month.

And so I'm really looking forward to....wait a minute, what's that feeling?!....what's happening?!....I'm having an outer body experience!....Oh Boy!!!


  1. Sounds like fun. I used to watch QL. I think I've seen them all, but it's been a while. I do have a friend who's a huge fan. I may point her this way.

  2. Hi, Nick. I think this is an excellent spinoff from your MacGyver countdown and a chance to introduce a new collection of fans to your fun and informative blog. I am looking forward to reading your posts and interviews.

  3. This sounds like fun. I'll have to seek out the DVDs and pick up the first couple of seasons before long. I know season 1 was pretty short. I watched a dozen or so episodes in 1990 and 1991 and found some I really liked and others that I was lukewarm on, but this seems like the kind of show I'll appreciate more as an adult.

    My guess is your first association with the show came in 1992 when "Quantum Leap" started airing after "MacGyver" on USA for at least a year. I could be wrong on that of course but considering QL immediately followed MacGyver beginning in 1992 that seems like a hard-to-miss access point to the series. My aunt recorded "MacGyver" for me on USA in the fall of 1992 so I caught the very beginning of a number of "Quantum Leap" episodes before the timer went off...usually just the opening descriptive narrative though.

    1. Yeah I think you'll like it. Glad to have you on board. It's also available on nbc.com, though you have to deal with the ads.

      I bet you're right about picking up on it from USA -- they must have had commercials advertising it during MacGyver. Speaking of MacGyver, I'm hoping to have a MacGyver post up by this weekend -- will be something different and probably the only people that will really like it will be the hardest of the hard core fans (in other words it's right up your alley!).