February 10th, 2008

tesseract

Fandom Appreciation Post: Quantum Leap

Work, work, work. Have been working a lot this weekend, and am getting a lot done, hurrah! Did have a little break when Amanda and Jeff came over for lunch (they brought Indian food, mmm) but am feeling the need for another break. And so, I bring you: a Fandom Appreciation Post. In which I post an entry in appreciation of one of my many fandoms.

Today's fandom: Quantum Leap, that multifaceted sci-fi wonder that ran for five seasons back in 1989-1993 (Yes, I own all five seasons. What?).

Quantum Leap is a favorite of mine for several reasons. One is that I used to love watching it when I was home sick from school. That's actually how I first discovered it. One of the networks (maybe Sci-Fi? I don't remember) used to air multiple (rerun, I assume) episodes during the day, and one day when I was home sick, I discovered it, watched a couple, and was hooked. It was smart, interesting, touching, and frequently funny. After that I used to tape them for days when I wasn't staying home from school, and eventually amassed quite a collection of episodes on VHS. Ah, VHS. Those were the days. :)

Another reason is that the premise of the show was really fun and made each new episode pretty unique for a formula show, and the attitude and message of the show was heartwarming and often powerful (Bellisario et al. used the show to deliver messages regarding their stance on social and racial inequality, sexual harrassment, environmentalism, and so many more issues over the years. (See, "The Color of Truth," "The Americanization of Machiko," "Animal Frat," and...oh, basically most of them.) There are a ton of strong statements wrapped up in the "fun" parts of the show.) I have to admit that I may have shed a tear during some episodes of the show. It was also fun to find the historical references, which were sometimes obscure and sometimes the main point of the show (see, "Lee Harvey Oswald").

The third reason is the two main characters of the show, Dr. Sam Beckett and Admiral Al Calavicci. Sam was, of course, the Perfect Man. He was a genius (5? 6? Ph.Ds), a doctor, an artist (piano, dancing, singing, etc.), an athlete (in sports and martial arts) an empathetic and caring figure, and a humble person. And also he was gorgeous. Al was a great comedic foil, a true "character," what with his fun clothes and his crazy stories and his off-beat humor; and, as it turned out over the course of the story, a man with an amazing life (orphan, astronaut, Navy admiral, etc. etc.) who was as caring and concerned as Sam, if not as openly. And of course the two together were about the greatest thing since sliced bread.

The fourth reason, of course, is the fantaaaaaaastic actors who played Sam and Al. Not only are they both great actors in their own right, but the way they worked together made it seem like they really were a couple of best friends who would do anything for each other, which was one of the neat parts of the show. Also they were frequently hilarious when playing off each other in the comedy scenes. Also they were kind of adorable.

(Pls. note: Gratuitous posting of pictures is inevitable. LJ-cuts used in pity for those scant few who may not want pics of Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell clogging their friendslist. Whoever you may be. I can't fathom.)

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Scott Bakula was a fortuitous choice for Sam - after all, the guy is, as well as being an attractive and talented actor, also an athletic man who can sing and dance on a professional level (and I believe he's also an accomplished piano player, but I may have my facts wrong there...), so he was perfect for playing about 3 billion different characters a season. (Apparently, they used to try to think up new and crazy situations to put him in on the show. On one of the DVD extras (sadly there are only a few), he said that, essentially, the writers used to go, "How can we kill Scott this week? Oh, here's an idea! Let's make him a champion boxer! Or hey, how about a trapeze artist!" and then Scott would have, like, 2 weeks to learn how to box. Heh.)

Random fun trivia IMDB tells me about Scott Bakula:

"The white streak in his hair appeared when he was four years old. He had been helping a neighbor paint, and his mother thought he had gotten paint in his hair." (Really? That's so weird! He's like the male Rogue.)

and

"His father-in-law (Chelsea Field's father) once sold a horse to William Shatner." (Hee!)

and

"Ran the Los Angeles Marathon on March 6, 2005 in 4 hrs 10 mins 41 secs." (Wow.)

Oh, and have I mentioned that Scott Bakula is H-O-T? He is.

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As for Dean Stockwell, he is, well, DEAN STOCKWELL. I mean, the guy's been acting onscreen since he was 9 years old (although he first went on stage in a Broadway play at the age of 6!), and he's still going strong. He's got fantastic comic timing and delivery, and I have to admit, even though he was about, what, 53 at the beginning of Quantum Leap's run, he was a pretty good looking guy for 53. :) Which isn't surprising, because (lo, Google is again my Source) he was pretty adorable as a child and attractive as a young man.

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So, in summary, Quantum Leap had a good premise, insightful and often intense plotlines, charismatic and attractive actors, many serious messages, and a ton of funny or feel-good moments. Why wouldn't you be a fan?