Quantum Leap was a breakthrough idea – tell thoughtful stories in a variety of situations and eras like an anthology, yet keep a face people can follow from episode to episode with its own story. Dr. Sam Beckett “leaps” into the lives of different people, hoping to fix something that happened to them and make their lives better. Sounds corny, but some of the episodes were simply amazing. The second season (22 episodes) was released on DVD last week, and I got the chance to review it.
If you’ve never seen the show, you don’t need to watch most episodes in any particular order – they generally stand alone. Even the premise is repeated in the opening to give you a sense of what is going on. I actually didn’t catch the show until the second season started (the first season was only 8 episodes), but I was instantly hooked.
I don’t know what the deal is with the intro segments. It’s been a long time since the original airings, and subsequent syndicated airings appear to have used a modified version of the later season intros (starting around season 3 or 4 I think).
First episode has no intro, but starts with Al defending the project funding in front of a committee, providing a “reintroduction” of the series to viewers for the second season.
The rest up until “Another Mother” have an intro monologue by Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula), with scenes from a previous episode, presenting an ironic introduction to the current situation. After that the one I remember was narrated intro along with the desert flyover and exterior building shot. The first of these featured a male narrarator, then subsequent intros featured a female voice. Can anyone remember if these are the original intros?
Also, trivia wanted – I think I’ve seen that building (the white one that appears suspended between two hills as seen in intro on the later episodes in this set) somewhere else, as if it was a stock exterior shot – can anyone identify it?
Highlight episodes: “Good Morning, Peoria” with Patricia Richardson (Home Improvement), with same as a DJ fighting for the right to play Rock & Roll; “Jimmy” where Sam leaps in to a mentally disabled man (a character featured in later episodes); “Catch a Falling Star”, with Sam as a understudy in “Man of La Mancha” (a personal favorite); and “M.I.A.”, with an interesting twist on what Sam is there to do.
Packaging: Outside slipcase is pretty sharp with a silver reflective coating. Inside the 3 double-sided discs come in a folder. The insert was simply an ad for other DVDs – no guide. Episode list was on the outside of the folder. See “Extras” for a gotcha. 3/5
Video Quality: Dust artifacts can regularly be seen. As far as I can tell, the video was not run through any cleanup before the transfer, but it looks at least as good as the original airings. 3/5
Extras: Nonexistant. None are advertised for this set, making this category hard to score, but nowadays at least a little something is expected. AND, on the list of what is on what disc, “Bonus Materials” is listed on Disc 3B, but there is nothing to be found on the disc itself. We’ll leave this as a N/A score.
Navigation: Rather simple menu listing the four (or two for the last side) episodes with a “Play All” feature, and a description of each episode. One nice feature is a complete Episode List that lists all the episodes and where they are located. 2/5
Overall feature: A ingeneous concept with an excellent cast and execution. 5/5
Final score: 3.25 out of 5, not counting the lack of extras. 2.6 if we demand extras been included.