Look: It would probably be hyperbolic—slightly—to describe Donald P. Bellisario’s Quantum Leap as the most perfect television show in the history of the medium. Sure, the show’s premise, which saw a handsome scientist with a killer singing voice leap through history fixing various tragedies, is an infinite sandbox allowing writers and actors to play with pretty much any idea they liked. Sure, the chemistry between Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell was immaculate, bordering on divine. Sure, we still whisper “Oh, boy” to ourselves any time we find ourselves in a suddenly sticky situation. But there are probably better shows out there! Somewhere.
All of which explains our squealing, giddy excitement at news today, reported by Deadline, that NBC has moved forward on a reboot of the classic series, which ran on the network from 1989 to 1993, and then on USA in reruns for years after, and then in our heads, on a loop, until the day we ultimately die. Said reboot is being masterminded by La Brea’s Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt with help from Bellisario (who’s since become, with the aid of his NCIS franchise of shows, one of the kings of network TV) and former QL EP Deborah Pratt.
All that being said, there are a few caveats that diminish our joy at the reboot’s announcement today. First and foremost, of course, being the recent death of Dean Stockwell, who played Al, a guy from the future who helped Dr. Sam Beckett navigate whichever historical era he was stuck in on any given week. Stockwell’s funny, grouchy performance as the helpful hologram was integral to anchoring the series, and not having him around for at least a cameo can’t help but detract.
Similarly: While Scott Bakula has said he’s aware of the reboot—it would be impossible not to be, we imagine, given the NCIS: New Orleans star’s continued association with Bellisario projects—he’s not involved in the reboot in any way at present. That actually sort of tracks, since the ending of the original series definitively states that Dr. Beckett never returned from his sojourns through time. But still: You gotta get him in there somewhere, right?
The Quantum Leap reboot has been given a pilot order by NBC.