Quantum Leap Season 2 brought us a time jump for everyone except one. Dean Georgaris sat down with us to talk about this choice and much more.
You may have wondered at first if a Quantum Leap reboot was needed. Then it became clear that it wasn’t a reboot. It was a continuation of the original series. While it doesn’t include Scott Bakula (yet?), it does reference Sam and Al a lot. This upcoming episode (airs tonight, Wednesday, Nov. 1 at 8/7c) is no exception.
It’s never easy to bring a revival that fans love. Yet, this show has captured old and new fans. We sat down with Dean Georgaris, one of the showrunners of the series, to discuss the decisions for the series in the second season. Why opt for a three-year time jump for everyone but Ben?
Dean Georgaris talks Quantum Leap Season 2
Hidden Remote: It looks like you’re having so much fun with the storylines and the time periods. In the original series, Sam could only go to time periods in his life time. Why did you change that part of the lore?
Dean Georgaris: It was a decision early on in Quantum Leap Season 1. It had been 30-something years since the original project, and we wanted to show the progress of technology. We wanted to honor the original mythology but then potentially expand it in places where it felt like it made sense.
The ability to travel beyond one’s own lifetime in the past really felt like an exciting area to push the mythology and technology. The beauty of the show is that every week we’re walking a mil in someone else’s shoes. We’re exposed to important moments in history that are designed to make us realize how much we have in common. By expanding the chronology by expanding our ability to go back, I think we get a bigger variety of backdrops and a bigger variety of characters that Ben can leap into, so it felt like a win-win.
HR: How did you go about picking the time periods? We have tonight’s episode that focuses on the LA riots, but you’ve done smaller moments that people may not have heard about or are fictional.
DG: We were fortunate enough to get an early Season 2 pickup, so that allowed us to lay out the actual story for the season, such as where we wanted the characters to go and grow.
For example, we knew Magic and we knew we were going to learn how the three-year time jump impacted him as a character, and how he felt responsible for what he believed was Ben’s death and being lost in time. We said, well, what’s the episode where we’re really going to get to dive deep into why that hurt him so much? Ben and Derek, our writers, actually approached us even in Season 1 with the LA riots as his backdrop and we just ran out of time.
You’re looking into time periods in history that are going to match with the themes that you want to hit that particular week, and sometimes there is a connection and sometimes it’s hard to feel it but it’s fun.
For example, in [Quantum Leap Season 2], Episode 3, we went back to a UFO story in New Mexico. New Mexico is not necessarily a setting that leaps to mind, but that time period of UFOs leads to an episode about trust and credibility. What better way to explore trust and credibility between our two leads than having to prove aliens are real?
HR: You opted for a three-year time jump for everyone except Ben. What made you decide that three years is a good time?
DG: That was Martin Gero’s (co-showrunner) idea when we finished the first season. One of the things we didn’t want to repeat was another thriller mystery storyline. It’s not that we didn’t enjoy doing it; it’s just that we have this fantastic cast and we want to honor the actors.
In the writer’s room, we wanted to find a way to give the characters in the present time more things to do to make their stories feel more emotional. The original didn’t really do that. There was no present. So Martin proposed the idea for the time jump.
It came down for them that we would explore secrets. Ian has a secret and Jenn is complicit in that secret, and that felt incredibly exciting to write.
On the flip side, one of the things about traveling through time is that it can feel like a second. For Ben, it started as a story of “oh, I might never get home,” and now it’s an experience of “Oh, I might not actually end up with Addison. I might not ever speak to these people again.” We get to see what it feels like for him to consider it as a possibility.
HR: Will we get any flashbacks of the past three years, or learn as Ben learns?
DG: We did flashbacks as memories in the first episode of Season 2 to demonstrate that Ben was recovering his memory fully. In Season 1, he still had that Swiss cheese brain. We decided it would be really poignant if the memories came back right on the heels of the three-year time jump.
After this, we either experience it as Ben hears it or as our characters are discussing it with one another.
HR: Why decide to do it that way?
DG: The real power of time jumps is you put the characters in the right now. We could flashback to see Magic struggle, but his story is about the struggle right now. Likewise with Addison and Tom. We could flashback to their original meeting, but ultimately, their story is about the relationship now and that Ben is back. I think it was just about picking the stories we wanted to tell, and we wanted the three-year time jump’s story to be right now.
HR: You’ve brought in the idea of other leapers with Ian and Leaper X. At what point did you decide that you would have that?
DG: That’s the thing about the Quantum Leap universe. In the original show, it was Sam and his hologram, and in the first season of our show, the size of the universe was basically Ben and potentially Addison. In reality, we didn’t know how many people out there might be leaping.
One of the things that had us excited is thinking about this powerful concept of moving through time to make individual lives better. That kind of impact, and I’ll speak for myself, the idea of a guardian angel out there is very reassuring. It makes me feel better about life every day just to know it may be possible.
Quantum Leap airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on NBC. Catch up the following day on Peacock.