- Raymond Lee plays Dr. Ben Song on NBC’s “Quantum Leap.”
- Scott Bakula, who starred as Dr. Sam Beckett in the original sci-fi series, offered his thoughts on Instagram.
- Bakula said it had “nothing to do with” and wished the new show “good luck and good luck.”
LOS ANGELES — Raymond Lee plays a physicist in the remake of NBC’s “Quantum Leap,” but his theory-quoting character, Dr. Ben Song, seems a far cry from the Nabeesh stereotype.
The first sign is his ’70s wardrobe, a funky burgundy plaid shirt with lapel draped over warm gray polyester pants. A more obvious sign: Song is worried about getting hit during the upcoming professional boxing match.
“Dr. Bin Song is no ordinary physicist,” he explains to me on a filming break, “and he is definitely not a fighter.”
Instead, Song is a time traveler in “Quantum Leap” (premiering Monday, 10 EDT/PDT), the reboot of the beloved 1989-1993 science fiction series that featured Scott Bakula as Dr. Through space and time, to replace seemingly random people to correct the mistakes of the past.
Contemporary Song physicist captures the time travel experience conducted by Beckett and his Project Quantum Leap hologram cohort Admiral Albert Calavecchi (Dean Stockwell) in the original series..
Dean Stockwell:Emmy-nominated Quantum Leap actor dies at 85
How many jumps:Returning to the NBC lineup this fall
Time travel – on this day in the body of a promising young boxer from the 1977 era in an episode that aired October 4 – explains Song’s concern. He does not inherit the skills of the body he inhabits. “He’s always out of his element,” he tells me.
It also explains the strong 1970s appearance that includes a 1972 Chevrolet Malibu convertible in which Song rides to watch the scenes outside the Sheraton Universal, which has been convincingly converted into a Las Vegas casino filled with neon light.
All this is temporary. In season one, Song will stand up to a jewel-stealing getaway driver in 1985, a space shuttle astronaut in the ’80s and in the body of a woman (in the fourth episode next month). The Ziggy supercomputer that ran the Quantum Leap project is back, with upgrades to extend time travel beyond Beckett’s age.
“Talk about canceling the cast. And there’s no limit, we’re talking about prehistoric possibility,” says Lee, who offers a completely different cast for each episode. “Every week is like a whole new movie.”
Bakula focused on the return of “Quantum Leap,” posting an OG photo on Instagram on Thursday from the 1989 episode, with Beckett as a boxer, to “quiet rumors” and repeating that it had “nothing to do with the new show.”
“A lot of you have asked me in recent months, ‘How do you do QL without Sam? (or Al, for that matter). Well, I guess we’re about to find out. “Good luck and a good jump,” wrote Bakula, wishing the new show “good luck.”
As Bakula pointed out, there are notable deviations from the original series, including the Korean-American series Lee, 35, in time for his first leading role in the series, (After appearing in “Kevin Can F**k himself” and “Top Gun: Maverick” on AMC).
The originally popular “Sam and Al” romance has also been replaced by a romantic affair between Song and Addison Augustine (Caitlin Bassett), his fiancée and fellow Quantum Leap project.
“We didn’t want to do another ‘Sam and Al’ show. That would be crazy because the last show was so perfect,” says Martin Gero, the executive who produced the series along with creator Donald Bellisario and Deborah Pratt. We’re continuing in the same world, but we’re telling our own story that will totally go against the previous show.”
Romance is complicated. Song heads into the time travel machine early for mysterious reasons, slipping away during the couple’s engagement party. Addison can continue in 3D, but Song has no recollection of his past or his fiancée.
“This relationship brings a whole new dimension,” Lee says. “And there’s one aspect he doesn’t even remember. It’s like ‘fifty first dates’ every time they meet.”
The updated version will bring viewers to HQ with Ziggy’s computer for the first time, where she meets the team led by Herbert “Magic” Williams (Ernie Hudson), who once vaulted with Beckett.
While Stockwell passed away at the age of 85 in 2021, the series appears to be paving the way for Bakula’s re-emergence, despite the stars staying away from the new series. Beckett never returned to the present in the original series finale, presumably floating there in time. Beckett appears briefly as a hologram in the first episode of the new series.
Jiro says appearance is up to Bakula. “He’s in control of that, not us. It’s just a matter of when and if he wants to participate. The show is very special to him for so many reasons.”
Until then, Song Lee will be jumping in, correcting small and big moments from history. Traveling has risks beyond the obvious, as Lee discovers while filming a jump scene from a ’72 Chevrolet Malibu.
He slammed the car door to me, looking shocked when the wide sleeves of his polyester twill jacket were pulled along with the massive closing door.
“I got my sleeve stuck on the lock knob, it’s one of the things you can’t prepare for. It was like, ‘What’s going on?'” ‘ he says to me, laughing. “With this show, you really have to be vigilant.”
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