31. Quantum Leap

Creator: Donald P. Bellisario
Years: 1989-1993

Lord knows I love me some time travel, so you figure a show where time travel takes place every single episode would land somewhere in the top ten. And it would, if I was doing a ranking of just TV show premises. Unfortunately, mediocre scripting and mediocre acting bring it down to merely an above-average show.

Sam Beckett basically gets to play Marty McFly teaching Johnny B. Goode to Chuck Berry every week of his life. Throughout the show he helps Donald Trump, Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, and Jackie Kennedy (by leaping into the body of Lee Harvey Oswald!), to name a few. Oddly enough, the show tends to be better when it doesn’t focus on famous people and simply has Sam helping some generic but real and deserving person. Like the time he saves his brother from being killed in Vietnam. It’s also fun when he leaps into a body of a pregnant woman.

The show does an admirable job and trying to be progressive with it’s topics, though isn’t near as daring as it could have been (e.g. having Scott Bakula kissing a man while in a woman’s body). I also like how not every episode winds up with a super happy ending. That even includes the final episode. And while Bakula and Stockwell have chemistry, I don’t find either of them all that impressive of actors, so some of the show’s dramatic moments fall a bit short for me.

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