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Meet the new leaper: 'Quantum Leap' star Raymond Lee on how Ben Song differs from Sam Beckett
"What we're trying to figure out in the show is why Ben took this leap."
At long last, Quantum Leap returns to our screens this week with NBC's hotly-anticipated revival of the beloved sci-fi property.
Serving more as a direct follow-up to the original series than a traditional reboot, the new show stars up-and-comer Raymond Lee (Kevin Can F**k Himself) as Dr. Ben Song, the latest physicist to find himself trapped in the ever-flowing stream of history. If he ever wants to make it back to the year 2022, he must hop from body to body and "put right what once went wrong," as the famous narration goes.
Recently speaking with Entertainment Weekly for the magazine's big fall television preview, Lee explained the main difference between his character and the original Quantum Leaper: Scott Bakula's Dr. Sam Beckett.
"He's different because perhaps Sam took a leap for different reasons than Ben," the actor said. "What we're trying to figure out in the show is why Ben took this leap. Also, Sam Beckett only had the help of Al Calavicci, while Ben has the help of an entire team at headquarters, and they're all trying to pull him back to the present day."
That "team" consists of Herbert "Magic" Williams (Ernie Hudson; a longtime veteran of the QL project), Addison Augustine (Caitlin Bassett), Jenn (Nanrisa Lee; head of QL security), and Ian Wright (Mason Alexander Park; the tech whiz behind the QL project's artificial intelligence program). In particular, Augustine can project a hologram of herself to the past as a way to interact with Song — à la Dean Stockwell's Al Calavicci.
Critics say the revival maintains the action, humor and heart of the original series, while updating the look and feel for modern TV. TV Line noted the "well-crafted action scenes" are where the new series shines, with TV Guide adding the new story makes some "smart changes" to the formula, with the mystery of why Ben leaped pushing the story forward.
Showrunner Martin Gero (Blindspot) is an executive producer with Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt (co-creators of God Friended Me and current producers on La Brea) Donald P. Bellisario (creator of the original iteration of Quantum Leap), and Deborah Pratt (writer, producer, and narrator on the original series).
Quantum Leap premieres tonight on NBC at 10 p.m. Eastern. New episodes will exclusively head to Peacock the day after they air.