How a Quantum Leap Revival Benefits from Doctor Who, Altered Carbon

Quantum Leap is one of the most forward-thinking science fiction shows in television history next to Star Trek. The series follows Dr. Sam Beckett (Bakula) who went into the quantum leap accelerator as a test subject, which allows him to time travel anywhere within his own life into different people throughout history. Given the series original depressing ending, why not make the sequel/revival be about the search for Sam from his child and make it comparable to Doctor Who and Altered Carbon? How would this be pulled off you ask? Let me explain.

How a Quantum Leap Revival Can Benefit from Doctor Who, Altered Carbon
Images courtesy of NBCU, BBC, and Netflix

During the original series run, the process swapped Sam's mind with his subject that he leaps into. He retains the subject's look but has to wait until his holographic guide Al (Dean Stockwell) can locate him to let him know his mission to change history for the better. Once the mission is completed, Sam leaps to another body. The series was literally born out of empathy as Sam leaps from a diverse range of subjects whether if it's saving someone who wasn't meant to die or at times deal with prejudice if he leaps into a POC or a woman. So in the new series, you can have Sam's child follow in the father's footsteps become a leaper him/herself. Similar to Doctor Who, the subject endures moments in time (and space) and his/her companion acts like AL, but as a holograph.

How Quantum Leap Can Learn with Swapping from Doctor Who and Altered Carbon

By going the route of Doctor Who, the series can potentially last longer than originally intended and have the benefit of swapping actors as leapers as the same character. Different actors leaping to different bodies can expand the sandbox of empathy. Think of the possibilities. We had classic episodes when Sam experiences his share of racism and misogyny because of leaping to POC and women. The premise can be flipped allowing POC actors into similar scenarios if a leap can potentially physically change a person. It's not that confusing when you think about it considering Netflix's Altered Carbon already had a similar premise as people lived in their vessels before death swaps them to another random body. The main character, Takeshi Kovacs bodies were Asian, White, and Black.

Originally created by Donald P. Bellisario, Quantum Leap despite being a show isolated to the 20th century has ironically become timeless and there's a social need for the series in the 21st century. At the very least, it should go beyond what the 1993 series finale left us having Sam fix Al's relationship with his estranged ex-wife after trying to figure out why he leaped into his adult self at his birthday. The follow-up epilogue just had a title card, which read Sam never leaped home. Bellisario wrote a more comprehensive TV movie ending, but nothing budged on the network end. In an interview in February with TV Line, Bakula said, "We all know that Sam's still out there, and I always tell people that should be comforting — that he's still out there fixing things that once went wrong" when he suspects his character is doing after all this time. The actor also entertained the possibility of having a child during his leaps back as himself. So why not update the series and expand with the elements from Altered Carbon and Doctor Who?

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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