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Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator ... and got too old

By Seth Freilich | Industry | August 7, 2010 |

By Seth Freilich | Industry | August 7, 2010 |

I wasn’t terribly bummed about missing this year’s Comic-Con until last night, when I found out there was apparently a “Quantum Leap” retrospective panel. I’ve made no bones about the fact that, flaws and all, “Quantum Leap” is one of my all time favorite shows. Scott Bakula was at the panel … actually, he was the panel. It was just a moderator and Bakula, who was making his first Comic-Con appearance, apparently, since being there in ‘95 to promote the atrocious Lord of Illusions. During the panel, Bakula shared some interesting mini-factoids, like the fact that George Clooney auditioned for the show three different times and Malcolm Mcdowell originally auditioned for the role of Al. What a decidedly different show it would’ve been with Al Calavicci talking about the ol’ in-n-out. …Actually, I guess that’s not much different from what we did get.

Bakula also said that, like many fans, he hated how the show ended:

We didn’t know it was the last show when we shot it. Don wrote it so if the show continued, it could, or if there was a chance of a film or TV film, it could go in that direction. I’ll never forget my son, who was 10 years old at the time, bursting into tears. He said, “that’s so unfair — you never got to go home.” But that’s what the show as about — Sam sacrificing his life so help someone else.

I recall creator Don Bellisario saying, even before the show was canceled, that Dr. Beckett would never go home, and I actually quote like that ending, particularly because, as Bakula says, it was a conscious choice made by Beckett, to some extent. So I didn’t have any problem with that part of the finale. It was all the gobbledy-gook in the rest of the episode that left me flat. And lo these many years, we fans have waited for a proper good-bye. Which Bakula sayswe might just get:

The good news is that Don is working on the film script and has a big time Hollywood producer who wants to do it … It’s about time. But what I always thought would happen, happened … [that he’s now too old for the role]. But Dean [Stockwell, who played Al] and I will have a part in it somehow.
Don did say that as he was writing, he told me he was having trouble, “getting you and Dean out of my head.” But I know he will do it.

Well that’s not exactly as exciting as one would hope. I’ll give Don the benefit of the doubt and assume that, generally, he can put a good script together for us. But what happens when that script is touched by the “big time Hollywood producer?” Because most of the “big time Hollywood producers” I can think of are complete tits. Sure, there are some good ones, and some great ones, but the odds are stacked way in favor of this anonymous producer being of the “I want a big fucking spider” ilk, right?

But more importantly, Bakula is too old? That’s nonsense. In fact, the most interesting thing I can think of for a “Quantum Leap” movie is precisely with an older Bakula, time/world weary after who can imagine how many leaps and, Al’s advancing age, now facing the likelihood of soon doing it without his best friend. That sounds like a fantastic start to a “Quantum Leap” movie, particularly given the work Bakula has recently been doing on “Men of a Certain Age” (and Stockwell, of course, was wonderful on “Battlestar Galactica”). In fact, it sounds like the makings for what could serve as a legitimate conclusion for the series. But someone else playing Dr. Beckett, or some other leaper being the focus of a passed torch, or whatever way this thing may shake out? I can’t say that leaves me dancing in anticipation.

And now, Meatloaf brings you your Season 4 tribute:

Actually, before we go, let’s listen to the good Dr. Beckett belting out some Quixote (I’d fucking love to see Bakula in “Man of La Mancha”):

And let’s close it out with the cheese-tastically glam “Fate’s Wide Wheel!”

(Source: blastr)

Seth is a Senior Editor and sometime critic. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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