The Cowards at NBC Are Rebooting ‘Quantum Leap’
So NBC just gave away that their name stands for “Nothing But Cowards.” They intentionally waited for the great Dean Stockwell to die first before having the balls to commission a pilot for a reboot of Quantum Leap, where Stockwell played Scott Bakula’s hologram friend and adviser, Al Calavicci, while wearing outfits louder and more outrageous than a boombox speedo.
Perhaps NBC saw that episode where Stockwell played the biblical devil, decided that he was a bit too convincing in that role, and tried to avoid bringing his wrath upon them. So now that task falls to us because, goddammit, can we please stop with all the reboots? Yeah, it worked with Cobra Kai, but that was based on a series of very goofy movies, so even if Cobra Kai was a The Producers-like scam, the worst that would happen is the show ending up with about the same level of quality as the original films. Quantum Leap doesn’t have this kind of safety net.
It’s pretty common to misremember the show as basically a proto Forrest Gump where Bakula’s Dr. Sam Beckett charmingly blunders his way through historical events and meets famous people with a big dumb grim and his “Oh boy…” catchphrase. But that was NOT the show. Quantum Leap dealt, albeit a bit white savior-y, with systemic racism, misogyny, and the dehumanizing treatment of handicapped people, among many other serious themes.
Christ, in one episode, a senile older lady kills her son to stop him from beating on the Black woman whom he supposedly loved but couldn’t be with because it was in Louisiana in the 1950s, so he took that frustration out on her with his fists. To borrow from another ‘80s time-travel franchise: This is heavy. Quantum Leap was very heavy stuff. But it wasn’t deliberately edgy. It could be quite subtle in its exploration of the not-so-great parts of humanity, especially when it came to showing how easily prejudice can be internalized by its victims. The reboot, on the other hand, seems to be more interested in literally the least interesting part of the original show: Dr. Beckett’s MacGuffin time-travel technology.
According to official reports, the pilot will be set 30 years after the series finale and deal with a new team that discovers project Quantum Leap “in the hopes of understanding the mysteries behind the machine and the man who created it.” Goddamnit. They’re going to try and explain how quantum leaping works. They’ll try to apply logic to a silly plot device that nobody ever cared about. God Almighty, they will probably use the phrase “quantum entanglement” a minimum of 20 times in the pilot, every one of which will require 100 takes to film because the instinct to look into the camera and wink after delivering that line will be too strong.
This is the equivalent of rebooting Gilligan’s Island in order to explore the mystery of why The Professor couldn’t fix the boat when he could make a radio out of coconuts. To be clear: he could repair the boat but chose not to because he was a wanted man back in the states for genetically engineering a sentient winged penis that urinated on everything … The Peecock. Call me, NBC, if you’re interested in acquiring the TV rights to that idea. Look, obviously, we can’t really judge the Quantum Leap reboot before actually watching it, but we can make tiny guesses (or “quantum leaps,” if you will) about what we can expect. And based on all the information we’ve been given so far, what we can expect is a show with about the same level of quality as my upcoming project: The Peecock. Yeah, NBC called me while I was writing the article and greenlit it.
Follow Cezary on Twitter.
Top Image: NBC