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Quantum Leap - The Complete 1st Season Review




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Rating
Video:   7/10
Audio:   8/10
Extras:   2/10

Before Enterprise...
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
6/05/2004

As head of the Project Quantum Leap, Dr. Sam Beckett decides to test it out before it's ready, and steps into the accelerator. Sam leaps into the body of Tom Stratton, an air force test pilot, and finds his memory has been Swiss cheesed. He can remember bits and pieces, but can't figure it all out. Al, someone who worked with Sam on the project, appears to him as a hologram and explains that the project has gone awry. With the help of the computer, Ziggy, they calculate the probability of events Sam has to change in order to leap, with the hope that he'll leap back home. Sam never knows who he'll be, or where he'll leap next.

The first season of Quantum Leap premiered on 3/26/89 as a double-length episode, and ran for another 7 episodes. The show won an Emmy for "Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series" in its first season, and would take home 4 others in future seasons. It was a popular sci-fi series and still has a cult following.

The set comes in a 4 panel digi-pack with a place for a booklet, however, the set doesn't come with one. Please don't get freaked out when you don't have a booklet in your set. I should also point out that the forced trailers that were in some recent Universal releases (Law & Order Season 2 and Northern Exposure) are absent from this release. Thanks for listening, Universal!

Video

I think Universal does a fairly nice job with their TV transfers, and Quantum Leap looks really nice. The episodes contain some specs of dust here and there; some scenes being worse than others, but they look good for the most part. Some episodes, such as the pilot, feature stock footage which is noticeably poorer quality and stands out like a sore thumb. There's the occasional line down the frame in a scene, or a slight flicker to the picture, but these are few and far between. With odd numbered episodes in the discs you can expect a layer change during an episode on each of the discs. The discs contain a "play all" feature, and there are chapters set right after the opening of the show.

The pilot is also double-length, and not the two episodes that would have aired later when the show was syndicated.

Audio

Every once and awhile a company makes a mistake, and it's a good thing. Everything from Universal lists the audio of Quantum Leap as only being mono; the retailer site lists it, the press site lists it, the consumer site lists it and the back of the box lists it. I've been bummed about the mono track since I first read about it, but I'm happy to say they're all wrong. These DVDs don't contain a mono track, they contain a really nice Dolby Surround track. There are some really nice panning effects, like Al's car, or the jets in the pilot. The music sounds great coming from the rear speakers as well. Speaking of the music, the fans have been asking "will this contain the original music?" since this was first announced. Good news, it does. Songs like "Hound Dog," "American Pie," and "Takin' Care of Business" are in there, and they sound great. There are English, French and Spanish subtitles for the episodes.

Extras - How we rate extras

Quantum Knowledge: Episode Introductions (8:50)
Scott Bakula shares a little story about each episode. The default for this feature is "on," and it'll play if yo select an episode, or if you choose "play all." You can't select this feature separately though; it has to be played at the start of the episode.

A Kiss With History - Remembering Quantum Leap (20:39)
Scott Bakula, Dean Stockwell, Donald P. Bellisario (creator/executive producer) remember their time on the show. They cover the auditions, getting the show picked up, the stories told in the episodes, and the fan reaction to the show.

Easter Eggs
There are some Easter Eggs hidden on these discs, and they're very hard to find (I found 1 of them, and I searched for a long time).

Summary

This is a cool show that stands up quite well 15 years later. Because each episode is a period piece, the hairstyles and clothes are constantly changing so it doesn't look "1989." The special effects look a bit cheesy now, but that's easily overlooked because the stories are so great. I watched the show on and off, and I remembered catching a few of the episodes in this set.

The set is priced a bit high, and contains few extras, but the music is intact and the episodes look nice. I can't wait until they release season 2, the first full season of the series.


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