Reviews | Written by Robin Pierce 02/02/2018

QUANTUM LEAP: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION

Quantum Leap finally makes its long awaited and well-deserved Blu-Ray debut in this handsome box set comprising all five seasons.

For those new to the show, Quantum Leap was a time travel series with a difference that was shown on BBC 2 at 9:00 on Tuesday nights, debuting in early 1990. It was never a glitzy, technobabble-spouting, special effects showcase but instead was a quirky little show that very quickly garnered a cult audience.

Quantum Leap is a time travel project headed by Sam Beckett, played by a pre-Star Trek: Enterprise Scott Bakula. In his impatience to test the project, he uses himself as a guinea pig and finds himself travelling through time. If it sounds pretty formulaic as a standard U.S. sci-fi TV show so far, that’s where the similarities end.

Beckett can only move backwards through his own timeline, thus can never go further than his own birth date. Whatever time he lands in, he inhabits the body of someone in that time. Believe it or not, our favourite Time Lord wasn’t the first time traveller to change genders. Nor ethnicity.

Wherever he ends up, he encounters a person needing help, or a situation that needs to be corrected. Some of the stories are big, many are small but ingeniously subtle. These twists are often not apparent until near the show’s end. It might be unwittingly summoning the police to the Watergate Hotel in the early seventies, or suggesting a small change to a farmer named Buddy Holly that inspired him to write Peggy Sue, or even, topically, as a cab driver in the fifties, mentioning to a fare that real estate in New York could make him a fortune in years to come, thus inspiring the rise of Donald Trump.

Beckett moves from time to time, body to body, helping everyone from Mach 2 test pilots to civil rights campaigners, aided and advised by Al Calavicci (Dean Stockwell), who only appears to Sam as a hologram. The hope is, of course, that each leap will be the final one that brings Sam home to his own time and body.

As we’ve mentioned, it’s not an effects-laden show, nor is it a hard science lesson. Ultimately, it’s a gentle, feel-good show that’s both dramatic and in its own way inspirational and moralistic without being heavy-handed and overly message-laden. The conversion to Blu-ray is an eye-opener, as the show is more vivid than ever. The camerawork is exceptional, and the colours rich and sharp. Watching the show on hi-def, it’s actually hard to believe that the pilot episode is only a couple of years away from its 30th anniversary, it really has aged that gracefully and well.

QUANTUM LEAP: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION / DIRECTOR: VARIOUS / WRITER: VARIOUS / STARRING: SCOTT BAKULA, DEAN STOCKWELL / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW