Where am I? Who am I? When am I? Those are just some questions that will be answered each week as Quantum Leap returns to NBC.
It’s been nearly 30 years since Dr. Sam Beckett (played by Scott Bakula) entered the Quantum Leap accelerator traveling through time, place, and people until one day vanishing. Now, physicist Ben Song, (Raymond Lee) steps into his footsteps and the accelerator kicking off a whole new series of adventures.
Do not worry if you are new to the world of Quantum Leap, while the new series exists in the same narrative universe as the original series, it is made to be enjoyed by old and new fans.
“You can start fresh,” explained Showrunner & Executive Producer Martin Gero during a recent NBC TCA press tour. “And then slowly, over the course of the season, there’s an enormous amount of backstory and mythology from the original show that we’re really excited to share with fans. But it’s done in a way that will feel like a different view on past events for our old fans, so it’s new information for them. And for our new fans, it just feels like we’re still in the middle of the story and it’s coming out organically.”
With a new series comes a new time-traveling physicist, this time Dr. Ben Song (Lee). He knows his character is following the footsteps of Beckett, two very different but similar characters. “I think what connects Ben Song and Sam Beckett are the main tenets of their belief in doing good and what it means to be empathetic,” said Lee. “Through that, as they pass through bodies, they’ll have a joint experience of agreeing on the fact that they’re both doing right with what once went wrong.”
The series revolves around empathy, putting viewers in the shoes of an array of different people from all walks of life and time periods. Ben Song is our guide on a trip through humanity, literally. According to Gero, “The four tenets of Quantum Leap are hope, heart, humor, and history. And Ben really inhabits the first three of those. He’s an incredibly hopeful character. He has a tremendous heart. The show is about empathy at its core, and he has a ton of that to give.”
Lee explained how excited he was to take on this project, because of the vast amount of variety it offers up on a weekly basis. “I’m checking off a bucket list with every episode. It’s an actor’s dream to not only be in different periods with different projects but to do it all in one. It’s the roles of a lifetime. I’m having so much fun. And, yeah, it’s been a blast so far, and I anticipate that it will continue to be a blast.”
The cast also includes Caitlin Bassett as Addison Augustine, the hologram guide of Ben (similar to the role of Al played by fan favorite Dean Stockwell in the original) Ernie Hudson, Nanrisa Lee, and Mason Alexander Park. All of which had their own unique answers to the question, where and when would they like to travel in time. “To go and observe my great-grandmother in those times in Korea in the early ’20s,” chose Nanrisa Lee. Mason Alexander Park quickly decided on two, “I would probably either say 1920s Weimar Cabaret in Berlin. Or 1961, I would go back and see Judy Garland perform at Carnegie Hall.”
Caitlyn Bassett, a self-proclaimed nerd, “America in particularly just prior to World War I and during World War I. I think that era is so interesting to me, because basically everything that happened there is everything that’s playing out right now — like, the powers that be, all of that. I think the nerd part of me would really like to go back there and kind of see how the chips fell.”
For Ernie Hudson it was the 1960s. “The ’60s – just in terms of I think I could have had more fun. I mean, it was a period that a lot of things were going on. I’d love to revisit and get a different perspective of it.”
And of course someone had to dig deep and choose to go way back – all the way back to the turn of the century. Not last century – this century, chose Raymond Lee. “I would go back to the early 2000s. I know that’s not too far back, but, man, it was a fun time. Sugar Ray was on the radio,” Lee said.
No matter what time period you are interested in seeing, it is a possibility on Quantum Leap. So tune in each week to see a new place and time through a different set of eyes. The series will premiere Monday, September 19th, at 10:00 PM and will be available the following day on Peacock.