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Quantum Leap - The Complete 2nd Season Review




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Rating
Video:   7/10
Audio:   8/10
Extras:   0/10

The song is missing
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
12/14/2004

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 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 second season of Quantum Leap aired 22 episodes in the '89-'90 season, making it the first full season for the series (season 1 consisted of 8 episodes, including the double-length pilot). Universal has released this in a 3 disc set (double-sided discs). The packaging looks the same as season 1.

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 feature stock footage which is noticeably poorer quality and stands out like a sore thumb. The special effects shots look a bit dirty, probably because the film was run though a few times to get the shot. The discs contain a "play all" feature, but there aren't chapters set right after the opening.

Audio

Season 2 of the series contains a Dolby Surround audio track, just like season 1. It sounds great, especially for a series that's 15 years old. There are some great panning effects, and nice use of the rear speakers to achieve their desired effect. Subtitles are provided in English, French and Spanich.

Season 1 contained all the original music used in the series (at least according to fans), so some were shocked to discover some of the songs were substituted in season 2. I didn't make an episode by episode substitution list, but focused on a few episodes. The episode "Good Morning, Peoria" had Sam leaping into the body of a radio DJ, and a lot of period music was used in the episode. Thirteen songs were used in the original episode, but only 6 made it o the DVDs. Some of the licensed songs (such as "The Twist") were reused in other scenes, replacing original music by the Isley Brothers (Shout), while other "muzak" was used instead of songs by Elvis Presley and other artists. Some fans received their copies early and were extremely upset that "Georgia On My Mind" was removed from the emotional finale of season 2. One fan who wrote me described the scene as a defining moment in the series that has been destroyed for the DVD release. I sympathize with the fans of the series, and this is yet another example of a series that's affected by music licensing issues. I feel Universal should have included a line referencing the music substitutions on the back of the box as many other studios have done.

Extras - How we rate extras

The packaging mentions that there are bonus features on Disc 3 side B, but there aren't any.

Summary

I knew Universal would price this set (22 episode) the same as season 1 (8 episodes), so I wasn't surprised when it was finally announced. I hate to say this, but I wasn't expecting all the music to be included in the set, though I'm saddened by the replacement of such a key song in the series ("Georgia On My Mind"). We all hear about how music licensing affects various shows, but some changes can sting more than others. It can be extremely difficult for studios to license older music, especially when some episodes use so many songs, but I feel the studio has to be upfront with consumers by including replacement information on the outside of the packaging. Consumers can be more forgiving when they're tipped off to these changes, and I expect to hear from some very upset Quantum Leap fans over the next few days as they experience the changes for themselves.

Music changes aside, Quantum Leap season 2 is some outstanding television. I enjoyed watching Sam leap from person to person, and watching him change the future.


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