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For fans of the '90s Quantum Leap series, the friendship between Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) and Al (Dean Stockwell), his holographic leap wingman, was one of the biggest draws the of the show. Their comedic chemistry was perfect and they forever remain a classic TV duo. Knowing it was impossible to repeat that kind of TV alchemy, Martin Gero, the showrunner of the Quantum Leap revival premiering Sept.19 on NBC, told reporters at the NBC virtual TCA panel for the series that they wanted to reframe that dynamic to be something unique for their leaper, Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee) and his holographic helper, Addison (Caitlin Bassett).
Functionally, their core dynamic remains the same: Song is the leaper and Addison is feeding him the data about who he needs to help and what to change. But in this series, Ben and Addison are also in a romantic relationship that he doesn't remember because of his leaping. Gero teased to reporters, including SYFY WIRE, it would end up becoming a huge motivator to get Dr. Song back to his own time.
"Ben will remember that he's in love with Addison pretty quick because we didn't want to stretch that out too much. Honestly, that's information the audience has, so we want to get that information to Ben pretty fast," Gero said about how and when Ben will learn about their relationship. "Then, from that point on, the relationship gets way more complex, because it's like the long‑distance relationship from hell. They're separated by time and space, not just onto separate coasts with a bad time difference," he joked. "This is a huge time difference. And they can't touch so that type of story is actually incredibly touching, very emotional and occasionally very sexy, if I do say so myself. There's a heat between these two characters that is undeniable and it's a big part of why I think this version of the show works."
Romance is great but what about the comedic elements that help lighten the leaps? Caitlin Bassett said that is absolutely going to take shape sooner than later, too."When you're looking at the old show, in the first couple episodes Sam and Al were still trying to figure it out. It wasn't until they realized what was happening, and there was a little bit of safety allowed that he's going to make it through. And that's where that real humor and charm and the space for the relationship really had time to sink in. And I think that's very reflective in this relationship," she said of Ben and Addison.
Bassett said the duo spend the first episode also trying to figure out what's going on and once that's established, their rapport will really come through. "You're really going to start to see the relationship deepen and the humor really come in much bigger ways, and I get to start having way more fun," she shared. "I'm very excited for the viewers to get that, because that's, I think, where they're going to start to see that heart again."
"But they still haven't given me a cigar; I'm asking," she joked in reference to Dean Stockwell's Al signature prop.
Quantum Leap premieres Sept. 19 on NBC, and the next day on Peacock.