Quantum Leap is coming back bigger and better than ever after a quick filming turnaround.
“We rolled into season 2 for a number of reasons. I’m really glad we did. We now have a product to put on the air. But it was really great,” executive producer Deborah Pratt exclusively tells Us Weekly about filming season 2 while the first season was still airing. “Because there were so many things that changed.”
Pratt, 71, explained that the sophomore season has many new story lines for the characters to tackle, adding, “We got to wrap up the big reason [why] Ben [Raymond Lee] left [and] we got to wrap up a lot of the underlying stories of Leaper X and really start fresh with a new direction for the show.”
Fans of the hit NBC show can also look forward to learning more about each member of the Quantum Leap project.
“We’re going to get to learn more about Magic [Ernie Hudson], Ian [Mason Alexander Park] and Jenn [Nanrisa Lee] so that they’ll be much more integrating into the leaps,” Pratt continued. “And we learn more about what information they bring to the table. It’s really an exploration of these various characters and how important they are to the program and what they bring to the program.”
The original Quantum Leap series, which ran from 1989 to 1993, starred Scott Bakula as physicist Dr. Sam Beckett who accidentally leaps through time and temporarily takes the place of a person from that time period.
In the revival, viewers were introduced to Ben after he makes a secret leap and ultimately gets lost in the past. With help from his fiancée, Addison (Caitlin Bassett), Ben attempts to figure out what caused him to jump back in time to alter history. Season 1 ended on a cliffhanger as the group waited for Ben to potentially return — which never comes.
According to Pratt, season 2 leans more into the time travel aspect of the show.
“[Time travel] is the heart of the show, which is where it has bent to in season 2. There’s a lot more about the person that Ben leaps into,” she shared with Us. “[Also] how Ben’s emotional reaction to a leap ties him to his humanity. He’s an Asian American man and how does that affect him when he’s a Black woman? What are those kind of revelations that were so key to the original series? They’re back — in my opinion — in a better way or a more exciting way or a more intimate way.”
Pratt went on to hint at some of Quantum Leap‘s big storytelling swings, saying, “I think when you’re creating any kind of TV series, you have your midseason episode that has a great cliffhanger or really goes all out. [We got] the opportunity to do that — we left the country for what will be the midseason and got to shoot on foreign soil. We actually got to go to Egypt, which was incredibly exciting. In the original show, we went to Vietnam.”
She continued: “I hope we get to do more just because it takes it to the next level. In season 1, we got to go into the future and [saw] what almost happened when Ben saved the day in a huge way. That’s a huge historic character launch that I think is really important for him to see how important he is as a leaper. As the leaper.”
Quantum Leap has previously found ways to pay tribute to the original sci-fi series. Pratt, for her part, was a writer, producer and the voice of Ziggy — the super hybrid computer — on the OG series. She has since continued to take inspiration from the ’90s version while at the same time creating something new.
“You rely on the lore because that’s why it’s called Quantum Leap. For it to be respected and be Quantum Leap, there are certain things that have to be in play,” she noted. “I believe that Quantum Leap has the capability [to grow and expand]. So this is just the baby steps into all the story lines that could come from it.”
For Pratt, the best part of bringing Quantum Leap to life has been the show’s main message.
“It is uplifting because Quantum Leap has always been about hope,” she concluded. “People are invested in this show in a whole different way than most shows. Some of it is science fiction, but some of it is just what if. I think that’s one of the most empowering opportunities that Quantum Leap has. It uplifts people and it gives them hope for a better world. If you could go back and change one thing in your own personal past, what do you think it would be? So everybody’s got a story.”
Season 2 of Quantum Leap returns to NBC on Wednesday, October 4, at 9 p.m. ET.