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iFeature | The Stars of NBC’s QUANTUM LEAP on the Season Finale

Feb 21, 2024

by JC Alvarez

The Second Season of the hit NBC original series QUANTUM LEAP is skating headlong into a finale that might leave our heroes lost in time, and thanks to series stars RAYMOND LEE and ERNIE HUDSON it’s sure to live up to its legacy!


Nowadays how often can anyone admit that they make the time to commit to event television? That once time-honored practice of gathering in front of the television set (now a full-widescreen flatscreen hovering over the center console) and watching a primetime show as a family. It’s practically an ancient and lost custom in the advent of mobile devices and streaming services. When you can indulge in your entertainment from wherever you are, it makes it less probable that you might find any other reason in the world to watch anything together.

It might surprise a lot of folks to know, that even though, the entertainment landscape is somewhat devoid of any programming that is even suitable for family viewing, NBC has landed a hit, revitalizing a hit from their vaults that has proven a fan-favorite again, with an entirely new generation. 

Quantum Leap created by Donald P. Bellisario, debuted on March 26, 1989, ran for five seasons on NBC, and starred Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell, a pair of unlikely time travelers on a mission to correct historical mishaps that could have otherwise had significant implications to the timeline if left unchecked. The series was a mixed bag of adventure, drama, and humor, with an amount of social commentary set against a fanciful science fiction premise. The series developed a fan following that would make Quantum Leap one of the most beloved series in the genre.

Whether simply on its nostalgic factor or the rigors of managing the isolation brought upon by a global pandemic, when NBC revived the series in 2022, it immediately resonated with its audience. Rather than reboot or revise it, the creatives behind the new series, Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt decided to present this version as a proper sequel, set thirty years after the original. With an ensemble cast starring Raymond Lee as Dr. Ben Song, and Ernie Hudson (of Ghostbusters franchise fame) as Herbert “Magic” Williams, the director of the Quantum Leap Project, the series has enraptured fans old and new.

“It’s not lost on me every single day what an honor it is to just be in this role,” Quantum Leap’s star Raymond Lee shared. “The show that came before touched so many people’s lives.” Fans of the Bakula/Stockwell version have embraced this new series, wholeheartedly. The actor enjoys that they get to be an “extension” of that series. “The original was so iconic,” series regular Ernie Hudson admitted he was a fan. “It was great. We recognized that we couldn’t do I reboot, but to move forward 30 years into the future makes sense.”

In this episode of the “Out Loud & Live!” podcast, the series writer/executive producer SHAKINA and guest-starring actor WILDER YARI discuss the legacy of the show, and navigating the waters of science-fiction storytelling to tell authentic stories that will resonate with the audience.

SHAKINA also elaborates on her role as a transgender advocate now playing a significant part in capturing stories within the realm of experience of the LGBTQ+ community.

Leaps Ahead!

The new show, which airs Tuesdays on NBC at 10 pm, streaming next day on Peacock, will be running full-speed into its two-hour Second Season Finale on Feb 20, from 9 - 11 pm ET/PT) and will have our heroes facing some pretty harrowing circumstances. The plug has nearly been pulled on the quantum project, which would have left Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee) stranded in the time stream, much like his predecessor, Sam Beckett (Backula). If not for his trusty ally in leaps, Addison (played by Caitlin Bassett) Ben would be lost in the sauce of living a new existence week after week.

For Lee, it’s like being in a brand new movie, in an entirely different genre from one script to the next, an otherwise daunting circumstance that this actor finds most alluring. “It’s kind of the best!” Lee says, ”All of our talented writers are such nerds, and so excited.” Audiences never know what to expect on Quantum Leap as Ben’s journeys land him in homages to classic disaster films like The Towering Inferno or heart-stopping adrenaline epics like Days Of Thunder. “Our showrunners say that it’s like making a pilot every week!”

Tonally the show has to remain consistent, especially given the often complex meandering of science fiction, but the world of Quantum Leap is something Lee and the rest of the cast understand. “I attribute a lot [of the show’s success] to Raymond Lee,” Hudson says. “He’s such an ‘everyman’ and I can’t imagine anyone not being able to relate to Raymond — he’s such a wonderful spirit.” It’s a wonderful complement, especially given Hudson’s repertoire from appearing in the Ghostbusters franchise to Netflix’s hit comedy Grace and Frankie. 

For Lee, it’s a great challenge, especially working to keep it all together. “Our guest stars are a lot of the time, the main stars of the show, so I have to find a way to fit into their story and their time-period. I’m the one that has to bend.” It’s that flexibility that has given the show, its nimble bit of escapism that is entertaining and engaging.

The second season also allowed the showrunners and its talented writing team to dig into the various characters running the operation, including Mason Alexander Park, who plays Ian Wright, the lead programmer who has rebuilt “ZIGGY”, the AI responsible for Ben’s leaps. Nanrisa Lee is Jenn Chu, the head of security, and one of Magic’s closest confidants. “The original depended on Scott and Dean, and their personalities — which was so much fun.” Hudson elaborated, “I like that we get to be a part of a team, and the complications that come with that because if you really could leap around in time, there would be a lot going on. A lot of people want to take control. That’s very powerful!”

Cliffhanger, Much!

With the Second Season skating into a finale with an adventure-packed two-hour event, audiences are wondering just what the group has up their sleeves! “There’s a lot going on,” Hudson revealed. “It’s going to be a very critical time for Magic. He relies so much on the team, and Magic realizes he’s got to do something different.” Hudson’s character resigns his commission as the head of the group, so that the remaining members can work to bring Ben home, but will they? “I think a lot of the questions that people have been wondering will be answered, but it’s a great ending and beginning.”

For Raymond Lee, out of respect to the fans, he would prefer not to divulge too much of the 2-hour finale. “I’m so grateful to all of our fans for sticking with us through all of these episodes, and it’s all going to pay off and leave you wanting so much more.” Both actors also recognize the unique attribute of their show, and how Quantum Leap is bringing families together. It’s a show that is shared now from one generation of original fans to their kids. Lee believes, “It’s a show that everyone can watch, and you learn something from it.” 

And for Hudson, he’s grateful to continue to add to its legacy: “At the heart of it, [Quantum Leap] is trying to reach the humanity that we all share, that’s really important to me.” With its hopeful and inspired excitement, it’s time that we all took the Quantum Leap and get caught up on Peacock, as the 2-Hour Second Season Finale prepares to turn the tables on Tuesday, Feb 20 beginning at 9 pm EST.

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