Quantum Leap

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Quantum Leap TV Poster Image
Classic sci-fi series hops and skips through time.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive messages

Sam's goal in each episode is to right a wrong done in the past, and he strives for honesty and treats everyone he meets with respect. His upstanding nature helps counteract Al, who can come across as a tad sleazy and sex-obsessed.

Positive role models & representations

Sam demonstrates curiosity, perseverance, and empathy.

Violence

Depending on the episode's plot, the show may include gunfire or fistfights.

Sex

Kissing and mild groping scenes, as well as some suggestive language and insinuating looks. Al is an oversexed single guy who comments on women's figures and talks about his need to "get some."

Language

Infrequent uses of very mild words like "hell."

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

Most episodes show characters smoking, as Sam's travels take him through the 1950s, '60s and '70s, when it was more prevalent in public places. Scenes set in social situations also include alcohol, but only adults partake.

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.

User Reviews

Parent of a 7 year old Written byCHFoster February 25, 2011
Adult Written byE S December 16, 2017

Good Opportunity to Discuss Difficult Topics

This show follows the adventures of a time-traveling scientist (Sam) as he "leaps" through different events during the 1950s through 1980s. These lea... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old August 29, 2013

Great series

We started to watch this series with my 9 year old sister and there is some swearing although nothing that bad. The main problem is there is one scene where som... Continue reading

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?

  • How do the characters on Quantum Leap demonstrate curiosity, perseverance, and empathy? Why are those important character strengths?

TV details

Character Strengths

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