‘Quantum Leap’ review: Raymond Lee stars in a modest upgrade as the 1990s series dives back into NBC.



CNN

The process of trying to both advance and repeat the original story at first becomes a leap that seems out of reach for “Quantum Leap,” a remake of one of the most provocative concepts from the NBC network’s golden years. Set after “The Voice,” the series seems destined to catch a glimpse of viewers, but despite the mystery of the series, that won’t stop some from jumping in as quickly.

Based on the original show, the concept shows a team of scientists and military personnel working on the project led by Dr. Sam Beckett (originally played by Scott Bakula) in the previous series, before disappearing in the mid-1990s.

Here, physicist Ben Song (Raymond Lee) jumps into an accelerator with a special effects upgrade, bringing a getaway driver back into the lives of others in this first episode of 1985.

As in the previous series, the show has great fun setting up the historic moment, with songs from the likes of David Bowie and Duran Duran setting the mood. (This also happens to be the year before the Fox network debuts, so happier times for NBC in terms of its place in a less competitive TV landscape).

Here, however, Ben’s leap proves a mystery to his colleagues, including his fiancee Addison (Caitlin Bassett), who appears as a hologram to help him in this narrative, even as the team back home is working to decipher why he took the risk. notification and how to bring.

Recently appearing in “Top Gun: Maverick,” Lee plays a solid lead, and the oscillating between past and present adds a bit of dimension to the frame, still with the procedural component before Ben jumps into helping another person every week. a new setting. At home, a career military man (Ernie Hudson) leads the group, and Addison struggles with Ben’s lost memories and what to tell him about their relationship.

However, “Quantum Leap” distinguished itself at the time by using an ambitious format to explore social issues and history. Even then, the show was never a big hit, though it ran for five seasons before ending unceremoniously.

While the premise stood out at the time — it represented the unorthodox swing that late NBC executive Brandon Tartikoff liked — the formula of using the past as a window into the present feels less distinctive now, and balancing that with the series component. feels a little tense when first flushed.

Recycling popular titles has become a tried-and-true method of slicing through the programming clutter, and by that measure “Quantum Leap” starts with a certain advantage. But the clock is already ticking, and in today’s television environment, time may not be on his side.

“Quantum Leap” premieres September 19 at 10pm ET on NBC.