Classic (-ish) TV Shows: VOLUME 1 --- Quantum Leap and My Brother

We all have those shows. The ones that make a difference in your life. The ones that have an impact on you and stay with you forever. The shows that change the way you act, think, and view the world. I write this blog for the love of these type of shows. The shows that changed my life and the shows that had THE impact. 

Here we have is one of my “classic” shows. I came of age in the 1990s, being born in the late 1980s, so most of my favorite shows are mainly from the 1990s/2000s. They are the ones that really affected me. They are shows like Quantum Leap (this installment), Sliders, Stargate SG-1, Star Trek Voyager, and so on. What makes them “classic”? Simple enough… they are no longer with us outside of the world of re-runs, DVD box-sets and Netflix. 

This series is something that is close to my heart. Let’s get to it…

 photo from NBC website

photo from NBC website

My brother, Sean, introduced me to science fiction. One of my earliest memories is of watching Quantum Leap with him in our living room. I was probably in elementary school and he was explaining the concepts of the show to me. I was fascinated. The ability to go back in time and change anything was awe inspiring to elementary school me. By the time I was introduced to Quantum Leap it was living in reruns. The show, which began in 1989, was only on television for four years and was cancelled in 1993. Taken far too soon from us. I never cared about that. To me it was all new and absolutely amazing. 

 photo from Amazon.com

photo from Amazon.com

Quantum Leap focused around the scientist, Sam Beckett, played by Scott Bakula. Beckett finds himself trapped in time, “leaping” from person to person and time period to time period. Beckett is being sent to “repair” history. The premise of the show is that he can not control where he goes and it was a consistent mystery of the show. Why that place? Why that time? Who is controlling the seemingly uncontrollable ride? The top theory was that it was a higher power. With the help of his team, Al (Dean Stockwell) and Ziggy, he figures out the puzzle of why he is in that place at that time and what he needs to fix. At first, Beckett is unable to remember or understand why he is there, because of his "swiss-cheese memory" from leaping. With Al's help he is able to rebuild much of his memory and work towards completing his goal and mission. The ultimate goal is to get back to his time and to his life. The show included storylines like the JFK assassination, protecting Marilyn Monroe, Beckett’s brother’s death in Vietnam, and the creation of Michael Jackson’s moonwalk. It also covered social issues like infidelity.

So why would a little kid, no more than 6 years old when introduced to this show, be so interested and so fascinated? I would ask my brother questions about what was happening with the leaping and the sci-fi portion of the show. But, I would also be fascinated by the history and cultural challenges the show faced. Looking back, I learned so much from this show and it influenced my later fascination with history. It also deepened my bond with my brother. Many have said an 8 and a half year age difference must have made it difficult for us to build a relationship, but it is shows like Quantum Leap that helped that to develop. He taught me about the scientific theories of time-travel as it related to the show. He explained the conspiracy theories of JFK’s death and the importance of John Lennon. Some of the best memories of my childhood are with my brother in our living room watching Quantum Leap, Star Trek, Sliders, SG-1, and SeaQuest DSV. Those moments helped make me who I am and, no matter what, I will treasure those moments and these shows forever.

Quantum Leap on IMDB

Quantum Leap on NBC

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