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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Quantum Leap is a sci-fi series that revolves around time travel and the idea that a visitor from the future can return to alter history. Each episode is set in a different time and place and features a new ensemble cast (aside from the two stars), which might make it difficult for younger kids to follow. The ever-changing storylines often tackle mature topics, including extramarital relationships, unplanned pregnancy, and murder, just to name a few. Despite a bit of iffy content, this show is a thoughtful, engrossing adventure that older tweens and young tweens will love.
What's the story?
QUANTUM LEAP is set in the near future (which was 1999 back when the show began). Brilliant theoretical physicist Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) is hard at work on a secret project that would enable time travel, but through an accident he wakes up to find himself trapped in the past in someone else's body, suffering from a form of amnesia that gives him only partial recollection of his own life. Without knowing why or how, Sam is driven to solve mysteries and correct past wrongs within whichever body he lands in during each episode. Sam is helped along the way by a supercomputer named Ziggy (voiced by Deborah Pratt) and a holographic version of his friend, Al Calavicci (Dean Stockwell), whom only Sam can see or hear.
Is it any good?
The writing on this series remains fresh and funny as it takes on new characters and plotlines in different episodes. And the acting is first-rate; Bakula in particular provides memorable performances as (among many others) a blind concert pianist, a pregnant teenage girl, and a Vietnam veteran amputee. He even appears as real-life characters like Elvis Presley and Lee Harvey Oswald. Viewers will love watching him adjust to the nuances of each new role and the gender-based (or species-based, in the case of one chimpanzee character) challenges each presents.
Since Quantum Leap tends to tackle some pretty mature topics (from murder to unplanned pregnancy), it isn't really suited for young kids. But it will have definite appeal for tweens and teens who can look past its now-dated look and feel.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about making amends for past faults. Have you ever done something that you still regret? What was it? If you could go back, how would you do things differently?
Families also can discuss scientific advancements. What kinds of things are possible now that weren't 20 years ago? How have science and technology made our lives easier or more enjoyable? What do you think will change in the future because of science?
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