Quantum Leap: Season 1
DVD | Box Set
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Get ready to join Dr. Sam Beckett on the adventure of many lifetimes! Who will he be this time? Mafia hit man. Air Force test pilot. Professional boxer. Sam does it all in Season One of the groundbreaking, 5-time Emmy award-winning series.Scott Bakula plays Sam Beckett, a time traveler who never knows whose body he is going to "leap" into next and at what moment in history he may find himself. Sam is joined by a helpful but easily distracted holographic guide, Al (Dean Stockwell) who assists him on his missions and aids Sam in his ultimate goal of returning to his own life in the present.
They'll be dancing (well, leaping maybe) in the streets now that the first season of Quantum Leap, voted one of the 25 best cult series ever by TV Guide, has come to home video, a decade after its final year (1994) on the air (the pilot episode was released on DVD in '98). And why shouldn't they? This is a show, called "an imaginative diversion" by one critic, with a good premise that's cleverly and skillfully conceived, written, acted, and produced--ample evidence of which is spread out over three discs, each containing three episodes (plus some fairly meager extras) from the first season.
Scott Bakula, in the role that made him a star, plays Sam Beckett, a scientist who's part of a time-travel experiment that "went a little... ka-ka." Unable to return to his own time, and aided only by Al (Dean Stockwell, whose rapport with Bakula is one of the series' most appealing elements), his cigar-smoking, peculiar-dressing, sex-obsessed, holographic "enabler," Sam "leaps" unpredictably from one time period and person to another, usually completely out of his element (as a pilot, a boxer, a cowboy, an English lit professor, even an elderly black man in segregated '50s Alabama) and always in a situation that needs to be "made right" before he can leap onward. Generous helpings of humor, drama, physical action, and sentimentality (this is TV, after all) keep things moving, as do references to many other classic films and genres (Driving Miss Daisy in "The Color of Truth," Casablanca in "Play it Again, Seymour," boxing in general in "The Right Hand of God") and what creator Donald Bellisario calls the occasional "kiss with history" (Sam crosses paths with the young Buddy Holly and Michael Jackson, among others). It doesn't all work, as Quantum Leap occasionally becomes too cute and facile for its own good. But that and the set's paucity of bonus material (limited to one passable featurette and brief episode intros by Bakula) are the only real shortcomings of a boxed set that will likely earn multiple spins in the DVD player. --Sam Graham
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"That's the Way I Like It" by K.C. & The Sunshine Band; "Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas; "Do The Hustle" by Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony.
GOOD MORNING, PEORIA:
"All Shook Up" by Elvis Presley; "Maybe Baby" by Buddy Holly & The Crickets; "Yakkety Yak (Don't Talk Back)" by The Coasters; "Jail House Rock" by Elvis Presley; "Shout" by The Isley Brothers.
THOU SHALT NOT:
"Locomotion" by Little Eva; "Killing Me Softly" by Roberta Flack.
"Louie, Louie" by The Kingsmen (even though you can see characters mouthing the words in the episode); "Surfin' USA" by The Beach Boys; "I Can't Help Myself" by The Temptations.
"Call Me" by Blondie; "Shake It Up" by The Cars; "He's So Shy" by The Pointer Sisters.
"Big Girls Don't Cry" by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons; "The Twist" by Chubby Checker.
LEAPING IN WITHOUT A NET:
"Tequila" by The Champs.
"Runaway" by Del Shannon; "Dancing In the Streets" by Martha and The Vandellas.
"Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding; "This Guy's In Love With You" by Herb Alpert and His Tijuana Brass Band; "Someday We'll Be Together" by Diana Ross & The Supremes; "Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers; "Georgia On My Mind" by Ray Charles.
-- UPDATE TO REVIEW -- July 2016 --
MILL CREEK ENTERTAINMENT has just released a new version of Season 2 DVDs which includes ALL of the originally broadcast music INTACT! I just purchased the MILL CREEK set and can verify this! QL fans can finally rejoice! Link below:
Quantum Leap - Season 2
5-star to MILL CREEK! 5-stars to Quantum Leap! 1-star remains for the horrendous Universal release of 2004.
-- ORIGINAL REVIEW from 2004 --
** The following review applies to the UNIVERSAL STUDIOS release of Quantum Leap DVDs in 2004. If you want all the original music, then buy the MILL CREEK ENTERTAINMENT release of June 2016. **
Dear me, where do I start? So much to complain about. :(
First thing I noticed was that the box image is obviously faked. Scott B.'s and Dean S.'s heads are pasted on the bodies of models. Just inspect Sam's neck and you'll see the joins! One must ask: WHY?!?!
Next, I opened the box, and frowned at the photo of Al, which is not even from Season 2! Unfortunately, my disappointment grew as I open the foldout further. The pocket for the booklet is just an advertisement for other Universal box sets, which if they get the same shoddy treatment as QL then I will be steering way clear of.
And what's this? Only three DVDs? Can Universal get any cheaper than this, to give us 3 x double sided DVDs instead of the usual 6 x single discs?
The actual video transfer is something of a disappointment too. Not only do we have the "cut original music", as mentioned by others (WHICH IS HUGE! see below), but there are numerous visual crackles and pops from the original film present throughout. Absolutely no cleanup was done here. I realize this series was filmed before digital recording came into vogue, but so was my Abbott and Costello box set, and they cleaned up nicely! No one put any effort in here. That said, the transfer is of good color and is fairly crisp, although with a few sequences looking a little grainy. It still looks better than VHS.
The back of the digi pack states "Bonus Material" on the B Side of Disc 3. Well, it ain't there! Nada, as Al would say.
Now... The Music: This is the biggest disappointment of them all, esp for longtime fans. It's not just "Georgia On My Mind" that has been removed, which you might think because other reviews focus on mentioning this song. Fans should be aware that the ENTIRE SEASON has been edited to remove virtually all of the original soundtrack. This is unforgivable. To me, the music was the heart and soul of the era Sam was in. It immersed the viewer in that time period, as was as important to the show in this respect as, say, clothes of the period. Without it, things just fall flat.
Here's a list of what's missing:
"Disco Inferno" - 3 songs deleted
"Good Morning Peoria" - 7 songs deleted
"Thou Shalt Not" - 2 songs deleted
"Animal Frat" - 3 songs deleted
"Another Mother" - 4 songs deleted
"All-Americans" - 4 songs deleted
"Leaping in Without a Net" - 1 song deleted
"Maybe Baby" - 2 songs deleted
"MIA" - 5 songs deleted
Total = 31 of the original songs have been deleted and replaced by generic musak.
Someone at Universal should be fired for making this decision. At the very least, making mention of these edits should be noted somewhere on the outside packaging. Instead, we are misled and told it is the "Complete" season.
All in all, this box set is a huge disappointment. I bought it (along with season 1) to replace my aging, fuzzy, VHS TV copies. To this end, I must conclude that while they are better visual quality than my VHS tapes, this set is in no way "complete" or even a valid replacement. I was expecting a lot more from something I intend to keep and enjoy forever. I guess I'm just going to have to keep my VHS tapes a while longer.
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