We’re late with our blog post this week – blame Dennis. Since we recorded and dropped our episode Tuesday talking about the casting of Raymond Lee as Dr. Ben Seong, we learned later Tuesday that Ernie Hudson has been cast as Herbert “Magic” Williams. Then Wednesday, news break with the rest of the main cast.
We’re excited about all of this, but we’re particularly intrigued by the casting of Caitlin Bassett. This is will mark her television debut. She is former military. After leaving the armed forces, she studied at the Stella Adler Conservatory and was later selected for the ABC Discovers Talent Showcase.
Like we said, this week’s episode almost feels like old news, but take a listen as we talk about what we know about Raymond Lee, talk about the pros and cons of nostalgia for the old series, reveal our big “secret” (you probably already figured it out), and make some fun “fan wank” guesses.
Welcome to Quantum Leap: Revisited with Fate’s Wide Wheel – our capsule-sized reviews of the classic series. Our mission is to rank the show on a scale of 1-10 based on five different categories – writing, directing, acting, production values, and mythology. Each category is weighted based on importance – writing, directing, and acting are each worth 25% of the average, production values are 15%, and mythology just 10%. Our original reviews sought to stimulate discussion, contextualize the episode based on when it was set, when it aired, and when our discussion took place. Of course, we also provided background information and our personal opinions of each episode. That, and a whole lot more. We’re proud of those reviews and they will continue to be available for listeners in our archive. Meanwhile, we wanted the opportunity to revisit the episodes with only our opinion of the categories above – giving listeners a compact rating of each episode of the classic series in the lead-up to the premiere of the new series in the Fall of 2022. Have our opinions changed? For the better? For worse? Will this new rubric yield results that surprise even us? Step into the accelerator and find out as Fate’s Wide Wheel revisits Quantum Leap – one leap at a time in 30 minutes or less.
We’re setting aside the start of our promised capsule reviews of the series (*ahem* classic series) to take a moment to talk about diversity.
We’ve heard that word come a lot on Quantum Leap forums the last few weeks as the casting call for the series was released, and that release was confirmed to be genuine. Some fans of the classic series are already saying what’s to come is “too woke”. This past week, our co-host, Sam, got into a civil debate with a fellow fan on Twitter after posting an essay on the matter.
Have a listen, and we’ll be back with our promised capsule reviews next week.
I’m often curious when I read comments such as these. I wonder where it’s coming from. Why is there an issue with a notion of diversity and representation? Why do those that make these comments tend to fall back on the rhetoric of “as long as it’s good, I won’t care”? If that were truly the case, would the view be held to begin with? Wouldn’t they simply wait until the show premieres and then rail against the perceived quality of the program? Or is there something deeper at play?
Is there some sort of inherent threat in the diversity of a casting notice? Could it be that a creator’s intent to share a non-normative roster of characters impedes on some deeply rooted belief that the world must look like the beholder? And if so, where does that leave the youngster of Middle Eastern descent that’s only seen people that look like them portray terrorists or racially insensitive caricatures? What a privilege people that look like me have had to see their heroes share the outward – and in most cases inward – characteristics of myself. But wouldn’t be better for all of us if we saw a broader tapestry of stories and characters out there? Wouldn’t we all find something special in that diversity? Wouldn’t the privileged be able to do away with prejudices influenced by decades of stereotyping? Wouldn’t the marginalized be able to sit up a little straighter in seeing their heroes look like them? Wouldn’t their confidence grow knowing that society doesn’t only see them as the bad guy or the third person from the left? And wouldn’t the privileged be more accepting of those that were different from them knowing that they had much more to offer than being a bad guy or background noise? Wouldn’t we find a more harmonious balance of cultures and viewpoints in knowing that a world such as the one envisioned by this simple casting notice implies?
We’re back this week to discuss more of what we know about the new Quantum Leap pilot, including the recent announcement that Helen Shaver will serve as both the pilot director and Executive Producer. We also have some more inside details thanks to our source – who we are lovingly calling ‘The Observer’ – at NBC:
Details on Ziggy and the Handlink
How they’re going to address Al’s absence in light of Dean Stockwell’s passing
More hints on how the producers hope to incorporate Sam Beckett and other original characters into the new mythology
Then, of course, Sam & Dennis make with some serious “fan-wank” with some speculation with the tidbits we do have. Along the way, we talk about the Handlink as the original smart phone, the 80s/90s TV trope of sassy AI computers, and a lamentation of how it only took four years after its cancellation for Knight Rider to get a reboot attempt.
Here we go! We’ve got official confirmation from our source – our Observer – of numerous facts about the Quantum Leap pilot. We break down the confirmed cast notice and get into as many specifics as we can for each character. We also address aspects of production and story. And, perhaps biggest of all, we give the best answer we can about THAT question: Is Scott Bakula going to be involved. Longtime listeners, you will not want to miss this episode and if you’re just joining in, this is the perfect place to start.
Truer words were never spoken. We have come to the end of the televised adventures of Sam Beckett – at least, for now. Cokeburg, PA, August 8, 1953. Sam Beckett walks into a bar, orders a beer, looks in to the mirror, and everything changes. Arguably the most momentous episode of our beloved series, we give you an equally momentous – in size, anyway – episode of Fate’s Wide Wheel. And we welcome back our very first guest, Jessica Conger, to discuss all the ins and outs of the series finale. Plus, Dennis and Sam give their usual overview after Jessica leaps out. We cannot begin to thank our listeners enough for coming along on our journey as we become the first Quantum Leap podcast to complete the whole series and maybe, just maybe, we aren’t even done yet… In the meantime, enjoy our thoughts on “Mirror Image”.
It’s the penultimate episode of our beloved show. Nothing to get all shook up about… Dammit… TV guide worthy puns abound as Sam leaps into an 18-year old Elvis Presley on the verge of discovery… Well, according to Project QL time, that is. Of course, nothing is ever easy for Sam as he makes a mess of things almost immediately and has to fix things to ensure Elvis’ success while also making life a little better for young Sue Anne Winters. We talk about the King’s place in pop culture, grappling with his influence and those that influenced him in an age where cultural appropriation is very much under scrutiny, and how he has impacted both of our lives. Couple that with our usual tangents and some preparation for the final episode, and you’ve got one super-sized Thanksgiving weekend podcast!
Only three episodes to go, Leapers! We’re back with with our re-watch of “The Leap Between the States”. Sam secedes from the regular rules (thank you, TV Guide, for that brilliantly horrible pun), and leaps back almost a hundred years further than his own lifetime, into the life of his great-grandfather, Captain John Beckett, of the Union army. After the initial shock of finding himself in an era he was never meant to travel to, Sam finds himself in a somewhat “Back to the Future”-esque plot where he must make sure his great-grandfather and great-grandmother get together as intended. He also gets involved with the Underground Railroad and former slave, Isaac – who will go on to have a very, very important descendant. Plus, this episode wouldn’t be complete without a dastardly Confederate villain, right?
As always, we deconstruct the episode and examine how well it holds up to present day viewing. Also going well off-topic (Us? Never!), and discuss the 2020 presidential election. (We recorded this just one day after the race was called for President-Elect Biden.)
Just four TV episodes remaining of our beloved series! This week, we’re chatting about “The Beast Within”.
First mistaken for a “Bigfoot” creature upon leaping in, Sam is actually Henry Adams, a Vietnam vet living in the woods of rural Washington. He must prevent his fellow vet, Roy, a fellow vet, from succumbing to a seizure the following night, and meanwhile, helping to heal a troubled friendship with another vet who they both served with in the overseas conflict.
We deconstruct the last mostly non-gimmick episode of the series. But we have a lot of thoughts about the notorious one gimmick this episode has! Sam Fain has some strong feelings in particular. Do the final moments derail the whole episode?