Quantum Leap - The Complete Second Season
DVD | Box Set
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Leap into another thrilling season of the extraordinary, Emmy Award-winning time-travel series, Quantum Leap. Reunite with Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula), a scientist who never knows whose body he is going to "leap" into next or when, where and at what moment in time he may find himself. Who will he be next? An undercover cop. A blind pianist. A harassed secretary. It's up to Sam to change the history of each person for the better, and hopefully complete the mission that will someday take him home. Accompanied by a wise-cracking, womanizing holographic guide, Al (Dean Stockwell), Sam's twisting the hands of fate with each heart-pounding, action-packed adventure. And now, you can make the ultimate date with destiny with all 22 Second Season episodes of this groundbreaking series - available on DVD for the first time ever. Loaded with a time-stopping roster of guest stars including Michael Madsen, Janine Turner and Chubby Checker, this is one highly anticipated leap you can't afford to miss!
From the Back Cover
Leap into another thrilling season of the extraordinary, Emmy Award-winning time-travel series, "Quantum Leap." Reunite with Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula), a scientist who never knows whose body he is going to "leap" into next or when, where and at what moment in time he may find himself. Who will he be next? An undercover cop? A blind pianist? A harassed secretary? It's up to Sam to change the history of each person for the better, and hopefully complete the mission that will someday take him home.
Accompanied by a wise-cracking, womanizing holographic guide, Al (Dean Stockwell), Sam's twisting the hands of fate with each heart-pounding action packed adventure. And now, you can make the ultimate date with destiny with all 22 second season episodes of this ground-breaking series--available on DVD for the first time ever. Loaded with a time-stopping roster of guest stars including Michael Madsen, Janine Turner and Chubby Checker, this is one highly-anticipated leap you can't afford to miss.
- All 22 episodes from the 1989-90 season
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Well, 12 years later, Mill Creek has rereleased Season 2, and I am thrilled to find that the original music has been restored to every episode! (I've watched them all now and can confirm this!). So if you own the 2004 Universal release, throw it in the garbage now and order the far superior 2016 Mill Creek release! If you don't own a copy yet, make sure you are ordering the 2016 version, as they are both grouped together on the same ordering page.
With that most-important item out of the way, a more traditional review:
Video quality: variable. For the most part, the video quality is very good, with nothing too distracting (at least to my layperson's eyes), but there are scenes once and while on the set, but particularly in many scenes in one episode ("Catch a Falling Star) which just don't look good to the point of distraction. I don't know whether it's something about the original source material or the DVD mastering process (compression?) or some combination. It's unfortunate, but it's certainly not unwatchable.
Extras: none. The original Universal release didn't have any either, so nothing's been lost here. It would have been really nice to have some extras, but if all the spare money int he budget had to go to music rights, I can certainly forgive them for not producing some extras for this set.
The actual show: These versions of the episodes are exactly how the show originally aired, which is significant given that many episodes were re-edited in their reruns (see below for more on that). Having first seen the show during summer reruns of this season, this is actually the first time I have seen a few of these episodes in their original form. The acting, writing, and production values of this show are extremely high all around, but I think the glue that holds it together is the two regulars who consistently give great performances and make their characters nuanced and likeable - their scenes together are always great. I feel like the show was still finding its way a bit in this season, but still produced consistently good episodes - I don't think there's a single one I'd call bad. There are certainly some stand-out episodes, though: for me those top ones would be: "Catch A Falling Star" (where Sam leaps into a stage actor involved in a performance of Man of La Mancha that thematically echoes his own situation while encountering someone out of his own past), "So Help Me God" (where Sam leaps into a Southern lawyer and tries to defend a black woman who has pleaded guilty to murder), "Good Night, Dear Heart" (where Sam leaps into a mortician and tries to solve a murder of a young woman which no one else seems to think is a murder), and the final episode "MIA" (where Sam tries to stop a woman from meeting a future husband while her current husband is MIA in Vietnam). These are all pretty powerful episodes, and there many more that come close.
Final note about an oddity: Viewers who didn't see this show in its original NBC run will no doubt be puzzled by the fact that some episodes end with a lead-in (leap) into a different episode than the one that is next on the disc . This is not a mistake. In the original run, whenever the following week was scheduled to be a rerun (usually from the first season with this set), the prior week's episode led in to the rerun instead of the next new episode, and in turn, the last rerun in the sequence ended with a lead-in to the next new episode. (These lead-in leaps from the reruns would have made great extras...). In this season, in particular, this is very interesting in that all the season one episodes were rerun during the course of season 2, but since the special effects, opening titles, and font for the credits of the show were considerably changed in the second season, all the first season episodes were reedited with updated special effects, opening titles, and fonts for the credits. These updated versions aren't available on any DVD release, but you can get a glimpse of the updated special effects whenever one of these second season episode leads into a rerun from the first season.
Season 2 includes some of my favorite episodes, including 'Catch a Falling Star,' (the Man of La Mancha episode), 'Good Morning, Peoria,' (Sam teaches Chubby Checker how to Twist), 'Sea Bride,' (a very predictable love story, but fun nonetheless), and 'Honeymoon Express' (a circular episode where Sam's leap has a direct impact on whether Project Quantum Leap can continue).
Also notable in this season, Sam's leaps include issues of racism and prejudice. In the episode 'Jimmy,' Sam leaps into a young man with Down's Syndrome and must work to resolve relationship issues in the family. Bakula's sensitive portrayal should help anyone with bias see what a person with this disability might experience. And in 'The Americanization of Machiko,' Sam's character has brought home a Japanese war bride, and he must work to keep his family relationships while allowing his new wife the freedom to be herself.
Okay, so Universal didn't pay the royalties to be able to release all the same period music that was in the original broadcast version of the show, but I just can't imagine how that adversely affects the acting and the stories that are told. Ignore it. You'll be happy you did.
Dean Stockwell won a Golden Globe for his work during this season of Quantum Leap and it shows! Any fan of the series should be sure this set is in their collection.
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