Originally airing from 1989 to 1993, Quantum Leap was way ahead of its time as physicist Dr. Sam Beckett – played by Scott Bakula – leapt into the bodies of unsuspecting history-dwellers at crucial moments in their lives, experiencing the effects of segregation as a black man or misogyny as a young woman.
The show’s controversial finale failed to return Sam back to the future, and instead, he was revealed to be lost in the past. Fans weren’t best pleased, but speaking to The Companion – a subscription website for deep dives into retro sci-fi TV – executive producer, head writer, and uncredited co-creator Deborah M. Pratt explained that she had deliberately left space for a new show in the downbeat ending.
“That was our last fight,” she explains, referring to her ex-husband and Quantum Leap co-creator Donald. “Don was going to send him home. And I said: ‘You can’t, you can’t send him home […] If you want to keep the story going, you have to leave Sam out there in the hearts of people, leaving people thinking he could leap into their lives’.
“I started writing a project called Time Child about Sammy Jo Fuller. I actually wrote a trilogy in Season 5 where Sam leapt back three times into the same family and the second time he leapt he ended up in bed with this character and conceived a child. Then the third time he leapt in, he met her at 10 years old – a girl named Sammy Jo Fuller. So in my vision, Sammy Jo Fuller grows up. I actually have Al say, ‘Sammy is in the future with me. We’re trying to bring you home.’ That was my set-up way back in 1993, in Season Five, to say someday, Sammy Jo being his daughter might take over….”
Sadly, TV in the early-to-mid-Nineties wasn’t as amicable to a female lead as it is now and Pratt’s pitch for Time Child didn’t see fruition, but she’s not giving up hope and even has a star in mind…
“Oh my gosh, Jennifer Garner. I always felt she would be a great female Sam. She’s an ‘every woman.’ She’s funny. She does great drama. When I think of a female Sam or even Sammy Jo, I think Jennifer – in a heartbeat.
“To bring Quantum Leap back. If they’re thinking about it, now’s the time to happen. Tell people to write to Universal! Write for the attention of Pearlena Igbokwe – if anyone can bring it back, she can do it. Write! Write to Pearlena – she’s the one that’ll make it happen. That’s how we stayed on the air for five and a half years. Fans unite and write!”
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