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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Quantum Leap
The Complete Collection
Seasons 1-5


Starring: Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £149.99

Certificate: 15
Release Date: 29 January 2018

Physicist Sam Beckett finds himself trapped leaping through spacetime with his holographic guide Al during a time travel experiment that went wrong. Beckett takes the place of a different person in a different time period each week where he and Al have to correct historical mistakes before moving on...

While I have fond memories of Quantum Leap (I was 19 when it first began broadcasting in 1989) I never actually made a conscious effort to ensure I watched it every week (yes, kids. This was broadcast in the days before you could binge watch shows). Over the years I have seen a fair few episodes (in fact I think I may have reviewed some of the VHS video releases when I was reviews editor at DreamWatch) and I was looking forward to see how well the show had aged.

In truth I think this is probably creator Donald P. Bellisario's (Magnum, P.I.; Tales of the Gold Monkey; Airwolf) best series from that time. It's certainly the one that's aged the most gracefully, but then this probably has a lot to do with the fact that Sam leaps around from decade to decade, so its late '80s / early '90s production values are hard to spot. Even the music isn't typical of its production time.

I'm actually reviewing this Blu-ray release before having watched all the episodes (I'll update the review once I've finished them all) because I wanted to get the review out before the release date. I'm currently working my way through season three, so I've pretty much watched half of the show so far.

Originally I was planning on watching a disc a day, but I got so caught up in the show that I wound up watching one disc during the day, taking another disc home in the evening and then watching 2-3 discs each day over the weekend.

Around about the halfway mark of Season Two things start to get a little too predictable. It starts to look like a "jump of the week show" with no real back story of Sam and Al's personal history. There are a couple of hints at Sam's past when he rings his father, who died when he was younger, and lays to rest some of the ghosts of the past. And there's a scene in a later episode where Sam starts to remember that he had an older brother, before he finally realises that he died in Vietnam.

But as the show progresses he does interact in events in his own and Al's lives, which helps to give the series a new twist. In addition, some characters that are only mentioned in the early seasons finally make appearances as the show progresses. These include Ziggy, Irving "Gooshie" Gushman and Dr. Verbena Beeks.

Looking back on the show now, it seems as though one of its early aims was to capture the magic of Back to the Future in the establishing episodes. In addition to the obvious going back and changing the past element, throughout its run the show offered little brushes with fame (like Marty McFly helping to influence Chuck Berry's 'Johnny B Goode' in Back to the Future). In Quantum Leap, Sam also influences some musical directions. In season one he helps a young Buddy Holly with his song title for 'Peggy Sue' and when he accidentally bumps into a young Michael Jackson he gives him the inspiration for some of his dance moves for the future.

Season two sees Sam give Chubby Checker his big break by inspiring him the dance moves for 'The Twist', while rescuing his demo from rejection. And, while not music related, he also performs the Heimlich manoeuvre on Dr. Heimlich.

There are a number of notable guest stars too, including Teri Hatcher (who would go on to star as Lois in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman); and Robert Duncan McNeill (who is better known for playing Tom Paris on Star Trek: Voyager).

Extras are not overly impressive and appear to be from the DVD box set release of 2014. We get A Kiss With History: Remembering Quantum Leap (20 min, 41 sec - which interviews Bakula, Stockwell and Bellisario on the show); The Fans (2 min, 09 sec - where the fans devotion to the show is praised. It's what kept it on the air for so long. In addition Stockwell thanks them for helping to raise money and give him his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on his birthday.

If you fondly remember this from your childhood, you might be surprised to discover that it's aged fairly well. If you loved the show as a kid it's certainly worth picking up and reliving a little of the magic.


Darren Rea

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