The summer is almost over! It's sad but true. As we look ahead to the leaves changing colors in Central Park and kids going back to school, let's spend the last fleeting moments of the season talking about the oldest show on our list, Quantum Leap.
“Theorising that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Doctor Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished... He woke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own, and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so Doctor Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home…”
This is the introduction of Quantum Leap, the oldest and last television show we'll talk about this Sci-Fi Summer. It's also how each episode began. At the end of each episode, Sam Beckett would "leap" into a new situation, new body, and new life. His goal? To right what once was wrong. Unlike the other shows I've been blogging about, watching Quantum Leap was a brand new experience for me. I vaguely remember seeing bits and pieces of it here and there, but I never actually sat down and watched the show properly. I was only seven years old when the show premiered in 1989, so... it might have been a little bit over my head at the time. To better get a sense of the show, I watched how it ended during its fifth and final year. I was worried at first that I might not like the show. Some people had to talk me into it. As my co-worker Karen said, "Any episode when he's a woman is my favorite."
In the six episodes that I watched, Sam did quite a lot. In "Revenge of the Evil Leapers" he races to stop a villainous woman from the future named Zoey from killing a fellow quantum leaper that she was trying to corrupt as a hologram. In "Memphis Melody" — Sam finds himself living the life of Elvis Presley, attempting to convince another singer to follow her dreams and reach for the stars. But the best episode I saw? Definitely had to be "Goodbye Norma Jean." In this one, Sam finds himself in the body of a driver working for Marilyn Monroe shortly before she started filming The Misfits. At the height of her popularity and celebrity, he finds Marilyn despondent and depressed. He tries to convince her that life is worth living... and falls in love with her as a result.
Both Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell would later go on to have starring roles in other sci-fi shows, the former as the captain of Star Trek: Enterprise and the latter as an evil Cylon on Battlestar Galactica.
Public Space, Above and Below (Audio)
Carol St. Pierre (Audio)
Wole Soyinka (Video)
Harold Bloom (Video)
A.B. Yehoshua (Video)
Mark Salzman (Video)
Backstage with COLM TOIBIN (Video)
Backstage with Karen Armstrong (Video)
Derek Walcott (Video)
Zadie Smith (Video)
Siddhartha Mukherjee (Video)
Backstage with Edwidge Danticat (Video)
Backstage with SLAVOJ ZIZEK (Video)
Jay-Z: Decoded (Video)
KEITH RICHARDS: Life (Video)
JOHN WATERS: Role Models (Video)
A Tribute to GEORGE CARLIN (Video)
FERRAN ADRIA: A Day at el Bulli (Video)