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'Quantum Leap' producer teases ‘Ziggy Quantum Computer 2.0’ for NBC sci-fi revival
Producer Deborah M. Pratt primes fans for ‘a true Quantum Leap episode’ in NBC’s sci-fi revival pilot.
Quantum Leap is one of those classic sci-fi series that comes with a built-in fan base; a loyal following of viewers eternally drawn to the heady, spacetime-tripping themes that made the original NBC show starring Scott Bakula such a hit.
Now the series could be bounding back to the small screen with a pilot for a revival ordered at NBC, and it’s packing some of the same creative talent behind its late-1980s and early-1990s predecessor. Pioneering sci-fi creator Deborah M. Pratt was deeply involved in the original series — not only as a producer and writer (with 25 episode credits to her name plus another 15 as a co-writer) — but as the voice of Ziggy, the smart AI who ensures Dr. Samuel "Sam" Beckett (Bakula) always made it through the wormhole in one piece, along with his pal Al (played by the late Dean Stockwell).
Pratt is returning for NBC’s upcoming series revival, which features a new team led by Dr. Ben Seong (Kevin Can F*** Himself veteran Raymond Lee) and unfolds three decades after Sam first “stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished,” according to the pilot description. Sitting down recently for a lengthy interview with The Companion, Pratt shared some insights on how the revival will continue to put a sci-fi spin on the original series’ social commentary — without, of course, giving away too much of the overall plot.
Check out an excerpt below:
Pratt covers a ton of ground in the full 93-minute talk, bouncing from fun behind-the-scenes peeks at everything from a pitch for a 1980s Quantum Leap game show to trying to audition for the part of Princess Leia. You can check out Pratt’s complete interview at The Companion.
Previewing the new series’ pilot episode, Pratt said she had to hand it to showrunners Steven Lillian and Bryan Wynbrandt: “I think they captured, first of all, the fact that Raymond Lee who is South Korean is playing Doctor Seong [...] I think that that’s a huge step forward that will bring in more global storylines. But again, I can’t tell you his backstory and all that kind of stuff. But the episode is a true Quantum Leap episode, and it’s an homage to the series in that sense. The characters that they have created for the show, I feel like are strong and interesting.”
The original series’ avid fandom is no accident, having grown from the same boundary-testing science fiction formula that earned Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek a permanent place in fans’ hearts. Pratt said she’d love for Quantum Leap to achieve a similar kind of cross-platform success, with a rebooted series serving as the initial jumping-off point…so to speak.
“Everything that Star Trek could do, Quantum Leap can do,” Pratt said. “I think we should do a series of movies, I think we should do a series of series, and this is very much the first step into that world. They had a lot more money than we did, oh my God. So they got to play on a whole other level. That I think is beautiful in the sense that... and Ziggy is there. So that’s really cool. Ziggy Quantum Computer 2.0.”
She’s talking, of course, about the return of Quantum Leap’s AI with an ego, though this time it’ll be surrounded by fresh new faces. Starring Lee alongside Ghostbusters icon Ernie Hudson, Nanrisa Lee (Bosch), Mason Alexander Park (Cowboy Bebop), and newcomer Caitlin Bassett, NBC’s new Quantum Leap is written and executive produced by God Friended Me co-creators and current La Brea producers Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt, alongside Martin Gero (Blindspot). Original Quantum Leap creator Donald P. Bellisario and Pratt are also executive producers.
The Quantum Leap revival is current at the pilot stage at NBC, but if it eventually does make it to screen, we've already got plenty of thoughts on what we’d love to see.
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