Friday, June 8, 2012

Leaping Backward

This has been fund-raising week at our local PBS station, so none of the shows I usually record to watch in the evening has been on.  As a result, I’ve been channel-surfing for alternate entertainment.  I was pleased a few nights ago to stumble across a station that every night airs two episodes of the late 80s/early 90s show Quantum Leap.

The hero of Quantum Leap, Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula), tried to build a time machine, but when he used it he unexpectedly leaped into another person in the past.  (His personality did, anyway.)  The first time that person had lived through the events in the episode, something terrible happened.  Through Sam’s intervention, this time around disaster was averted, and as soon as that was a certainty (during the last 5 minutes of the program), Sam leaped into another individual in distress.  During the 5 years the show ran, Sam leaped into men, women, children, people of other races, and a vet who had lost both legs in Vietnam.  Every episode had the same basic plot – people in trouble, people saved, Sam leaps on – but the writers were a seemingly inexhaustible font of distressing situations and ingenious resolutions, and Scott Bakula was funny and endearing as the displaced scientist.

Because the show had a new cast every week, practically every not-yet star in Hollywood appeared on it sooner or later.  One of the shows I watched last night, in fact, featured the pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston with her original nose and bouncy brown hair, while the other starred the young Brooke Shields.  Talk about a time machine...

I didn’t get to watch Quantum Leap very often when it was originally on because I was in grad school for most of that period, with very little time for television of any sort, so I’m going to enjoy the back episodes for at least a few weeks.  A little nostalgia every now and then never hurt anyone.

"Trapped in the past, Doctor Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, putting things right that once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home." ~from the intro to Quantum Leap 

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