If any present is ripe for a reboot, it’s Quantum Leap. The unique 1989-93 NBC collection had an irresistible premise — a hapless scientist is caught touring by time, inhabiting a distinct stranger’s physique every week till he rights a fallacious of their lives — and it stays an authorized cult traditional to at the present time. So it was solely a matter of time earlier than NBC determined to leap once more, and the brand new reboot (premiering Monday at 10/9c) does supply some nifty updates on the unique. Different elements are clunky, although, and NBC could have to preserve tinkering to get this one proper.
We choose up 30 years after the unique present’s Sam Beckett was misplaced in time, with physicist Ben Tune (Raymond Lee) main a staff that’s restarting the Quantum Leap venture. By way of a mysterious mishap, Ben quickly finds himself in the identical place Sam did, leaping into random individuals’s lives and determining on the fly what he must do to maneuver on. Ben additionally has a hologram companion like Sam had with Al — however this time, it’s Ben’s fiancée Addison (Caitlin Bassett), who’s additionally a fellow member of the Quantum Leap staff. He can’t bear in mind her, although, attributable to leap-induced amnesia, and that bittersweet twist provides the reboot an intriguing emotional wrinkle that the unique collection lacked.
It’s within the well-crafted motion scenes the place this Quantum Leap actually shines. Within the premiere, Ben leaps right into a getaway driver for a Eighties housebreaking ring and shortly finds himself in a Child Driver-style automotive chase, evading cops in a van with a wobbly stick shift, and later, he’s tasked with defusing a lethal bomb because the seconds tick down. Plus, the particular results get a glossy improve, with Addison utilizing a futuristic virtual-reality setup to hyperlink into Ben’s timeline. The dialogue, although, isn’t as glossy: The housebreaking subplot is hampered by drained tough-guy clichés and sappy plot developments.
The reboot additionally provides equal time to the staff at house, with Ben backed up by a quippy group of scientists straight out of a criminal offense lab from a CBS procedural. Their scenes are full of breathless exposition and tangled technobabble, and we get extra solutions than we ever bought from Sam and Al — however do we actually wish to know all that? We didn’t have to know why Sam Beckett was leaping all over; we simply loved watching him do it. The premiere units up numerous mythology-laden mysteries for us to puzzle over, like nearly each present has to do today. However by making an attempt to overexplain every little thing, it threatens to damage what made Quantum Leap so enjoyable within the first place.
It’s onerous to say how the reboot may develop from right here, since NBC solely despatched out one episode to critics. Will the tales get higher? Will the staff scenes get much less awkwardly expository? I truthfully couldn’t let you know! However Lee does show himself a worthy successor to Scott Bakula, juggling motion, comedy and drama with ease. His appreciable chemistry with Bassett, and Ben and Addison’s distinctive bond, are the largest promoting factors to date, one episode in. We’ll simply should see if the remainder of the collection can leap as much as the place they’re.
THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE: NBC’s Quantum Leap reboot has a captivating star and slick motion scenes, however will get slowed down by corny dialogue and dead-end mysteries.