Quantum Leap

  (Redirected from Quantum Leap (TV series))

Quantum Leap is an American science-fiction television series created by Donald P. Bellisario, that originally aired on NBC for five seasons, from March 25, 1989, through May 5, 1993. It starred Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett, a physicist who leaps through spacetime during an experiment in time travel, by temporarily taking the place of other people to correct historical mistakes. Dean Stockwell co-stars as Admiral Al Calavicci, Sam's womanizing, cigar-smoking companion and best friend, who appears to him as a hologram.

Quantum Leap
Quantum Leap (TV series) titlecard.jpg
GenreScience fiction
Created byDonald P. Bellisario
Narrated by
Theme music composerMike Post
Composer(s)Velton Ray Bunch
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes97 (list of episodes)
  • Donald P. Bellisario
  • Deborah Pratt
  • Harker Wade
Production location(s)California
Running time45 minutes
Production company(s)
DistributorNBCUniversal Television Distribution
Original networkNBC
Picture format
Original releaseMarch 26, 1989 (1989-03-26) –
May 5, 1993 (1993-05-05)
External links
Website (NBC)

The series features a mix of humor, drama, romance, social commentary, and science fiction. The show was ranked number 19 on TV Guide's "Top Cult Shows Ever" in 2007.[1][2]


In the near future, physicist Dr. Sam Beckett (Bakula) theorised that it is possible to time-travel within one's own lifetime, and obtains government support to build his project "Quantum Leap". Some years later, the government threatens to pull funding as no results have been made, and Sam decides to test the project accelerator by himself to save the project before anyone can stop him. He is thrown back in time, and on gaining consciousness, finds that while he physically exists in the past, he appears to everyone else as a person that he had "leapt" into and further has partial amnesia related to his own identity. A hologram of his friend, Admiral Al Calavicci (Stockwell), appears, visible and audible only to Sam, and helps to explain to Sam that he must correct something that went wrong in the past, aided with the resources of the project's supercomputer Ziggy (voiced by Pratt), as once that is corrected, he should be able to leap back to the present. Despite successfully correcting the past, Sam continues to leap randomly to another place and time within the second half of the 20th century, "putting things right that once went wrong and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home".[3][4][5][6]

Cast and charactersEdit

  • Dr. Samuel "Sam" Beckett (played by Scott Bakula, who also narrates the episodes in character) is a quantum physicist with six doctoral degrees. He grew up on his parents' farm in Elk Ridge, Indiana, with an older brother (Tom) and a younger sister (Katie). Sam's idol is Albert Einstein.
  • Albert "Al" Calavicci, USN (played by Dean Stockwell) is a womanizing U.S. Navy rear admiral and Sam's best friend, who grew up in an orphanage and was later active in the Civil Rights Movement. At the time of Sam's leaps, Al spends his free time with his lover and the project's medical technician Tina Martinez (played by Gigi Rice), who appears in the fourth-season episode "The Leap Back".
  • Ziggy (voiced by the introduction narrator, Deborah Pratt, who was also a co-executive producer of the show) is the self-aware artificial intelligence "parallel hybrid computer with an ego" that runs Project Quantum Leap, and helps Sam throughout his leaps, and appearing in the fourth-season episode "The Leap Back." Deborah Pratt also appears in person as the main character of Troian in the season 2 episode "A Portrait for Troian" which just so happens be the name of her daughter she and Donald P. Bellisario have together, Troian Bellisario. Donald appears in the same episode as Dr. Timothy Mintz, Sam's reflection who seems to be amused he has a beard. Troian appears in the season-two episode "Another Mother" as the youngest daughter of the woman Sam leaps into. As a very young child, she can see and interact with both Sam and Al as their true selves.
  • Irving "Gooshie" Gushman (played by Dennis Wolfberg) is the project's often-mentioned head programmer, who is said to have bad breath. He appears in five episodes, including the pilot and the finale.
  • Dr. Verbena Beeks (played by Candy Ann Brown) is often mentioned as the project's psychiatrist. She appears in two episodes throughout the series.

In each episode, a different cast of guest characters appears, mostly the ones who would have interacted with the person Sam replaces with his leaps. Several other characters are referred to regularly throughout the series, but are mostly unseen.



The main premise for Quantum Leap was inspired by such movies as Heaven Can Wait and Here Comes Mr. Jordan, as well as the 1960s TV show The Time Tunnel. It also may have evolved out of an unused Battlestar Galactica story that was proposed for the Galactica 1980 series.[citation needed] Series creator Donald P. Bellisario[4][7] saw its concept as a way of developing an original anthology series, as anthologies were unpopular with the networks.[4]

The series ran on NBC[8] for five seasons, from March 1989 through May 1993.


The theme for the series was written by Mike Post.[4] It was later rearranged for the fifth season, except for the series finale episode, which featured the original theme music. Scores for the episodes were composed by Post and Velton Ray Bunch.

A soundtrack album was first released in 1993, titled Music from the Television Series 'Quantum Leap' , dedicated to John Anderson, who played Pat Knight in The Last Gunfighter. It was released by GNP Crescendo on CD and cassette tape.

No. Track[9] Composer(s) Length Episode
1 Prologue (Saga Sell) Mike Post, Velton Ray Bunch
Deborah Pratt (voiceover)
2 Quantum Leap (Main Title) Mike Post 1:15
3 Somewhere in the Night Scott Bakula 3:32 Piano Man
4 Suite from the Leap Home Velton Ray Bunch 3:37 The Leap Home, Part 1
5 Imagine John Lennon 3:05 The Leap Home, Part 1
6 Sam's Prayer Velton Ray Bunch 1:52 A Single Drop of Rain
7 Blue Moon of Kentucky Bill Monroe 1:41 Memphis Melody
8 Baby, Let's Play House Arthur Gunter 2:13 Memphis Melody
9 Shoot Out Velton Ray Bunch 3:03 The Last Gunfighter
10 Medley from Man of La Mancha Scott Bakula 6:18 Catch a Falling Star
11 Bite Me Velton Ray Bunch 3:29 Blood Moon
12 Alphabet Rap Dean Stockwell 2:05 Shock Theater
13 Suite from "Lee Harvey Oswald" Velton Ray Bunch 14:55 Leaping on a String
14 Fate's Wide Wheel Scott Bakula 3:05 Glitter Rock
15 A Conversation with Scott Bakula Scott Bakula (interview) 12:02
16 Quantum Leap (Prologue and Main Title Reprise) Mike Post, Velton Ray Bunch 2:20


Broadcast historyEdit

The Quantum Leap series was initially moved from Friday nights to Wednesdays. It was later moved twice away from Wednesdays to Fridays in late 1990, and to Tuesdays in late 1992. The series finale aired in its Wednesday slot in May 1993.[4]

The most frequent time slot for the series is indicated by italics:

  • Sunday at 9:00–11:00 pm on NBC: March 26, 1989
  • Friday at 9:00–10:00 pm on NBC: March 31, 1989 – April 21, 1989
  • Wednesday at 10:00–11:00 pm on NBC: May 3—17, 1989; September 20, 1989 – May 9, 1990; March 6, 1991 – May 20, 1992
  • Friday at 8:00–9:00 pm on NBC: September 28, 1990 – January 4, 1991
  • Tuesday at 8:00–9:00 pm on NBC: September 22, 1992 – April 20, 1993
  • Wednesday at 9:00–10:00 pm on NBC: May 4, 1993

In the United Kingdom, the show began on BBC Two on February 13, 1990,[10] airing Tuesday evenings at 9:00 pm. The final episode was scheduled to be aired on June 14, 1994, but altered schedules after the death of British dramatist Dennis Potter earlier that month delayed the airing until June 21, 1994.[11] Repeat episodes continued on the channel at various times until December 28, 1999.[12]

Home mediaEdit

Universal Studios has released the entire, digitally remastered, Quantum Leap series on DVD.[13][14] Some controversy arose when fans discovered that many songs had been replaced from the soundtrack due to music rights issues. For the fifth season, Universal included all of the original music. Music Replacement in Quantum Leap – Quantum Leap Podcast Quantum Leap on DVD: The Missing Music List (Seasons 1-4) - Al's Place Quantum Leap Online Community

On April 13, 2016, Mill Creek Entertainment announced that it had acquired the rights to the series and re-released the first two seasons on DVD on June 7, 2016.[15]

On February 7, 2017, Mill Creek re-released Quantum Leap - the Complete Series on DVD and also released the complete series on Blu-ray for the first time.[16] The 18-disc set contains all 97 episodes of the series, as well as most of the original music restored for all seasons.

Season - DVD name Episodes DVD release date
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season 1 - The Complete First Season 9 June 8, 2004 November 8, 2004 May 2, 2005
Season 2 - The Complete Second Season 22 December 14, 2004 October 31, 2005 February 7, 2006
Season 3 - The Complete Third Season 22 May 10, 2005 December 12, 2005 June 7, 2006
Season 4 - The Complete Fourth Season 22 March 28, 2006 June 26, 2006 November 2006
Season 5 - The Complete Fifth Season 22 November 14, 2006 December 26, 2006 February 21, 2007
Seasons 1–5 - The Complete Series
(The Complete Collection)
97 November 4, 2014[13] October 8, 2007[14] N/A

Final episodeEdit

At the end of season five, Bellisario was told to write an episode that could serve as a season finale or series finale, as whether Quantum Leap would be renewed was unclear. The episode contained some answers to long-standing questions about the show, but contained enough ambiguity for a season six. However, when the show was not renewed, two screenshots were tacked on to the end of the last episode; one read that Al’s first wife Beth never remarried, so they were still married in present day and had four daughters. The last screenshot said Sam never returned home. The finale was met by viewers with mixed feelings.[17][18][19]

A few years after the airing of the finale, a script for an alternate ending was leaked on the internet. It implied that Al, through encouragement of his wife Beth, would become a leaper to go after Sam and that they would be leaping into the future. Bellissario has said no script exists and that he does not know where this idea came from. However in 2018, fan Allison Pregler purchased screen shots taken from season five that contained some shots of Al and Beth together; this implies that part of the alternate ending was, in fact, shot and gives credibility to the alternate-ending scenario.[20][21] In May 2019, a video of the lost footage was actually uploaded to Reddit by a contributor with the handle Leaper1953.[22] How this person obtained the footage is not known publicly. Scott Bakula confirmed that several endings were shot and that the footage was authentic.[23]


Despite its struggling start with poor broadcast times,[4] the series had gained a large 18–49 demographics of viewers.[citation needed] The finale was viewed by 13 million American households.[24] In 2004 and 2007, Quantum Leap was ranked number 15 and 19, respectively, on TV Guide's "Top Cult Shows Ever".[1]


Along with 43 nominations, Quantum Leap received 17 awards (listed below).[25][26]

Year Award Category Winner(s) Episode
1989 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Cinematography for a Series Roy H. Wagner Genesis, Part 1
Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series Virginia Kearns Double Identity
1990 Quality TV Award Best Actor in a Quality Drama Series Scott Bakula
Golden Globe Award Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series,
Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV
Dean Stockwell
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Cinematography for a Series Michael W. Watkins Pool Hall Blues
1991 Quality TV Award Best Actor in a Quality Drama Series Scott Bakula
Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Drama Series Dean Stockwell
Edgar Award Best Television Episode Paul Brown Good Night, Dear Heart
DGA Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series' - Night Michael Zinberg The Leap Home, Part 2 - Vietnam
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for a Series Gerald Quist
Michael Mills
Jeremy Swan
The Leap Home, Part 1
Outstanding Cinematography for a Series Michael W. Watkins The Leap Home, Part 2 - Vietnam
1992 Quality TV Award Best Actor in a Quality Drama Series Scott Bakula
Golden Globe Award Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series - Drama Scott Bakula
1993 Quality TV Award Best Actor in a Quality Drama Series Scott Bakula
Young Artist Award Best Young Actress Guest-Starring in a Television Series Kimberly Cullum
ACE Award Best Edited One Hour Series for Television Jon Koslowsky A Song for the Soul
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Individual Achievement in Editing for a Series,
Single Camera Production
Jon Koslowsky Lee Harvey Oswald

Other mediaEdit


  • Barrett, Julie, The A–Z of Quantum Leap. Boxtree Ltd., London 1995. ISBN 0-7522-0628-1
  • Chunovic, Louis, Quantum Leap Book. Boxtree Ltd., London 1993. ISBN 1-85283-866-3
  • Schuster, Hal, The Making of Quantum Leap. HarperCollins, London 1996. ISBN 0-06-105438-0
  • Dale, Matt, Beyond the Mirror Image. TME Books, UK 2017. The limited edition first print hardcover was funded via Kickstarter in late 2016 and included both black & white and colored pages. Due to popular demand, the book was reprinted, though the 2nd edition did not include colored pages and came with a book jacket/dust cover.


Innovation Publishing produced a series of comic books that ran for 13 issues from September 1991 through August 1993. As with the television series, each issue ended with a teaser preview of the following issue and Sam's exclamation of "Oh, boy." Among the people into whom Sam found himself leaping in this series were:[27]

Issue Title Person Date
1 "First There Was a Mountain, Then There Was No Mountain, Then There Was" High school teacher named Karen Connors in Memphis, Tennessee March 25, 1968
2 "Freedom of the Press" Death row inmate named Willie Jackson, who must prevent a murder on the outside June 11, 1962
3A "He Knows If You've Been Bad or Good ..." Part-time Santa Claus, who goes by the name of Nick December 20, 1963
3B "The Infinite Corridor" Student at MIT named Matt Randall, who is researching quantum physics April 2, 1968
4 "The 50,000 Quest" Contestant amid the quiz show scandals August 15, 1958
5 "Seeing is Believing" Newspaper reporter/columnist, who responds to a girl seeing a UFO November 14, 1957
6 "A Tale of Two Cindys" Teenaged girl with an identical twin sister February 12, 1959
7A "Lives on the Fringe" Professional golfer with the Mafia after him 1974
7B "Sarah's Got a Gun" Bus driver, who discovers child abuse May 19, 1953
8 "Getaway" Bank robber, while the leapee tours the project with Al 1958
9 "Up Against a Stonewall" Sequel to "Good Night, Dear Heart": Stephanie Heywood is released from prison after serving 12 years for manslaughter. June 22, 1969
10 "Too Funny For Words" Stand-up comedian, who befriends a fading silent movie star June 13, 1966
11 "For the Good of the Nation" Doctor studying the effects of LSD on human subjects July 1958
12 "Waiting" Gas-station attendant with a lot of time on his hands April 24, 1958
13 "One Giant Leap" An extraterrestrial aboard an orbiting spaceship June 5, 1963
[14] "Two Dweebs and a Little Monster" Not published

Few of the comic stories referenced episodes of the television series, with the exception of the ninth issue, "Up Against a Stonewall".

Possible continuationEdit

Occasional announcements of plans to revisit or restart the series have been made. In July 2002, the Sci-Fi Channel announced its development of a two-hour television film based on Quantum Leap, which it was airing in reruns at the time, that would have served as a backdoor pilot for a possible new series, with Bellisario as executive producer.[28] During the TV Guide panel at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International, Scott Bakula said that Bellisario was working on a script for a projected Quantum Leap feature film.[29] In October 2017, Bellisario confirmed at the L.A. Comic Con that he has finished a script for a feature film.[30]

NBC has also stated they have considered a potential relaunch of Quantum Leap for its upcoming Peacock streaming service, according to NBC's head of program planning and strategy, Jeff Bader.[31]

In popular cultureEdit

Adult Swim's Robot Chicken has parodied the show on at least two occasions, once showing the character of Sam Beckett leaping into a woman who appeared to be a sex worker.[32] On another episode, a character is shown 'leaping' into other characters, and his reflection is not his own. This episode also features an opening theme similar to Quantum Leap.[33]

Seth McFarlane's Family Guy has referenced the show on at least three different episodes. In "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Fonz", Peter Griffin is shown going door-to-door as a Jehovah's witness and says that Jesus, "would travel from place to place putting things right that once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap would be the leap home"; then the show cuts away to an animated Jesus 'leaping' into a scene.[34] In "The Kiss Seen Around the World", Al the hologram is shown entering a scene as he would on Quantum Leap and character Neil Goldman asks, "Al, why haven't I leaped?"[35] In the episode "Back to the Pilot", Stewie says he learned the rules of time travel by watching the show.[36]

On June 16, 2016, Scott Bakula made a brief reprise of his role as Sam Beckett on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Colbert made a reference to an episode where Sam Beckett has leapt into the body of a 1950s New York cab driver, whose comment about investing in New York real estate is heard by a young Donald Trump. Using a handset to talk to Ziggy, Colbert leaps back as a hologram to help Sam Beckett attempt to change the future.[37]

The show is referenced in Avengers: Endgame, when Scott Lang and James Rhodes try to explain time travel to Bruce Banner through the many times it's brought up in pop culture.[38]

Source Code, a 2011 science-fiction action thriller film, was directed by Duncan Jones. Jones said in reading its script that he was reminded of Quantum Leap and as a reference to the show, cast Bakula in a voice cameo role, including giving him one line of "Oh, boy" in the script.[39]

Special episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise ("Detained") and NCIS: New Orleans ("Chasing Ghosts"), both series that feature Bakula as lead, have included Stockwell as a guest star to reunite the two actors from Quantum Leap. Further, "Chasing Ghosts" was directed by James Whitmore Jr., who had directed a number of Quantum Leap episodes.[40]


  1. ^ a b "TV Guide Names the Top Cult Shows Ever". TV Guide. June 29, 2007.
  2. ^ "TV Guide Names the Top Cult Shows Ever | TV Guide". TVGuide.com. 2007-06-29. Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  3. ^ Cerone, Daniel (July 15, 1990). "'Quantum Leap' is Scott Bakula's Idea of an Actor's Dream". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Jenkins, Shelley (April 28, 2008). "Donald P. Bellisario Interview". Archive of American Television. Published in the article on April 12, 2012.
  5. ^ Connor, John J. (March 30, 1989). "Review/Television; Comeback for Wimps in New Series". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Chunovic, Louis, The Complete Quantum Leap Book, Citadel Press (1995)
  7. ^ O'Connor, John J. (November 22, 1989). "Review/Television; An Actor's 'Quantum Leap' Through Times and Roles". The New York Times.
  8. ^ Carter, Bill (October 1, 1991). "NBC Defends Move on 'Quantum Leap'". The New York Times.
  9. ^ "Quantum Leap - Soundtrack". Amazon.com. November 19, 1993.
  10. ^ "Quantum Leap". February 13, 1990. p. 41 – via BBC Genome.
  11. ^ "Quantum Leap". June 21, 1994. p. 80 – via BBC Genome.
  12. ^ "Quantum Leap". December 28, 1999. p. 145 – via BBC Genome.
  13. ^ a b "Quantum Leap: The Complete Series (Region 1)". Amazon.com. November 4, 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Quantum Leap - The Complete Collection (Region 2)". Amazon.com. October 8, 2007.
  15. ^ "Quantum Leap DVD news: Re-Release for Seasons 1 & 2 - TVShowsOnDVD.com". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 2016-04-16.
  16. ^ "Quantum Leap DVD news: Announcement for The Complete Series - TVShowsOnDVD.com". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 2016-12-22.
  17. ^ "The Series Finale That Helped Us Cope With The 'Lost' Finale And Every Other Disappointing Finale Since". UPROXX. 2014-06-05. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
  18. ^ "Greatest Series Finales: Quantum Leap's "Mirror Image" a beautiful, metaphysical swan song". PopOptiq. 2013-09-03. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
  19. ^ Lasser, Josh (2007-06-21). "Worst.. Finale… Ever…". The TV and Film Guy's Reviews. Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  20. ^ Elderkin, Beth. "Did a Fan Just Find Proof of Quantum Leap's Secret Lost Ending?". io9. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
  21. ^ Movie Nights (2018-02-18), Quantum Leap LOST ENDING REDISCOVERED!, retrieved 2019-04-26
  22. ^ "Watch: Quantum Leap Lost Alternate Ending Footage Surfaces After 26 Years". ScreenRant. 2019-05-30. Retrieved 2019-05-30.
  23. ^ Mazzeo, Jeff; Trock, Gary (2019-06-01). "Scott Bakula is Happy Fans Can See 'Quantum Leap' Lost Footage". The Blast. Retrieved 2019-06-03.
  24. ^ WEINSTEIN, STEVE (7 May 1993). "'Quantum Leap' Ratings Jump on Final Telecast" – via LA Times.
  25. ^ "Quantum Leap - Awards". The New York Times.
  26. ^ "Quantum Leap, Awards". IMDb. Based on the original citation. NBC.
  27. ^ Zeman, Phil (January 19, 1995). "Quantum Leap Comic Guide".
  28. ^ "New Leap, Tremors On Sci-Fi". Syfy. July 9, 2002. Archived from the original on July 9, 2006.
  29. ^ Holbrook, Damian (July 23, 2010). .com/News/Comic-Quantum-Leaping-1020879.aspx "Comic-Con: Is Quantum Leaping to the Megaplex?" Check |url= value (help). TV Guide.
  30. ^ Sollosi, Mary (October 28, 2017). "Quantum Leap creator reveals he wrote a movie script". Entertainment Weekly.
  31. ^ Topel, Fred (January 12, 2020). "Exclusive: NBC's Peacock Considering 'Quantum Leap' Revival As Millennials Drive 'Saved by the Bell' and 'Punky Brewster' Returns". Slash Film. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  32. ^ Adult Swim (2011-12-20), Quantum Leap | Robot Chicken | Adult Swim, retrieved 2019-04-18
  33. ^ Adult Swim (2014-12-12), Quantum Leap Nerd | Robot Chicken | Adult Swim, retrieved 2019-04-18
  34. ^ 0111holmesdj (2011-02-17), Family Guy Quantum Leap, retrieved 2019-04-18
  35. ^ Hayden McQueenie (2015-01-14), Al Calavicci on Family Guy, retrieved 2019-04-18
  36. ^ Back to the Pilot, retrieved 2019-04-18
  37. ^ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert's official YouTube site. Uploaded 16 June 2016. Accessed 24 June 2016
  38. ^ Pirrello, Phil (May 1, 2019). "Why 'Avengers: Endgame' Time Travel Troubles Can Be Forgiven". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  39. ^ Ditzian, Eric (April 1, 2011). "'Source Code': Five Hidden Pop-culture Influences". MTV. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  40. ^ Raftery, Liz (November 24, 2014). "NCIS: New Orleans' Scott Bakula Teases the Quantum Leap Reunion: "It Was a Good Day for the Old Guys"". TV Guide. Retrieved February 23, 2020.

External linksEdit