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Quantum Leap - The Complete Second Season



DVD Release Date: December 14, 2004 (Universal Home Video)
MSRP: $59.98
Number of Discs: 3 Dual-Sided DVDs
Number of Episodes: 23
Running Time: 17 Hours, 43 Minutes
Languages: Audio: English; Subtitles: English,
Spanish; Captioning: English

Quantum Leap menu Quantum Leap menu Quantum Leap menu Quantum Leap menu

My Thoughts:

Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett led an elite group of scientists into the desert to develop a top secret project, known as Quantum Leap. Pressured to prove his theories or lose funding, Dr. Beckett prematurely stepped into the project accelerator, and vanished. He awoke to find himself in the past, suffering from partial amnesia, and facing a mirror image that was not his own. Fortunately, contact with his own time is maintained through brainwave transmissions with Al, the project observer, who appeared in the form of a hologram that only Dr. Beckett can see and hear. Trapped in the past, Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, putting things right that once went wrong, and hoping, each time, that his next leap…will be the leap home.

Quantum Leap’s second season was the point where the series really took off -- due to the high-quality of many of the episodes of the series. First and foremost this season is the episode, considered by many, to be one of the best episodes of the series, “M.I.A.”, the 2nd season finale. Sam leaps back into 1969 as an undercover cop. Al tells Sam that his mission is to tell a wife that her Navy husband is still alive, and not to marry a lawyer she met when Sam leapt. But there’s more to this than there seems -- episode 15, “Good Morning, Peoria” – as well as episode 13, “What Price, Gloria?” and episode 18, “So Help Me God.” Most of the episodes this season are incredibly good, there’s really not a week point in the season. Also this season, Quantum Leap had a few noteworthy guest stars. “Good Morning, Peoria” featured Chubby Checker as himself. That episode also featured a pre-Home Improvement Patricia Richardson. Future Melrose Place and Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross is in episode 26, “Good Night, Dear Heart.”

Universal, being consistent with their season 1 release, have kept the sleeved Digipak for the packaging for the 2nd season release. As with all Digipak setups, occasionally you may have trouble re-folding the case but, that’s nothing out of the ordinary. The front cover of the packaging has Sam and Al, standing of a hollow-foil background with various faded still images from the show, and various years – similar to the 1st season’s packaging. Back cover is similar in concept, but without the hollow-foil…The still images on the back are lined up in two rows of four. Something neglected on either cover was the mention of music replacement, something I’ll get to a little later on. The exterior of the actual disc holder is a drawing of the project computer. Interior shots art Al in uniform and Sam in drag. The art behind the discs is similar to the back cover.

Menus are incredibly well-done, in my opinion. Various stills from the season, as well as various years, fly by the animated blue background, while various clips from the season play in the middle. The short version of the theme plays throughout. There are only a couple of sub-menus - Episode Index, and Languages – in addition to the Play All button. The Episode Menu is just still images in front of the series in front of a blue-black background of Sam right before his initial leap. A rundown of the discs shows that: episodes 1-4 are on Disc 1 Side A, 5-8 on 1B, 9-12 on 2A, 13-16 on 2B, 17-20 on 3A, and 21/22 on 3B.

Video is in the 1989-standard Full Frame 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Some dirt appears occasionally--particularly noticeable in certain scenes of stock footage. But overall, the episodes look nice. Chapters are generally divided well; though beginning a chapter immediately after the theme would be of help to those interested in getting to the main episode after the teaser.

For both Quantum releases to date, Universal has included a Dolby surround track. This sounds nice, especially in multiple (5/7) speaker tracks…The audio sounds vividly better than the original airings, or the reruns on cable. There’s one large problem with the audio on the Quantum Leap set – audio replacement. Universal only scored part of the music rights needed for the set, so several songs WERE replaced. This is not marked on the packaging in any, way, shape or form. Fans of the series should note that the song Georgia on my Mind, from the VERY emotional season two finale, M.I.A., has been replaced with piano music.

The packaging said there were bonus features on Disc 3 / Side B…however; there are absolutely none to be found. Were they originally planning features but had to kill them at the last minute? Was it just a typo? No one quite knows yet, but it’s somewhat upsetting watching a set expecting special features, and seeing none.

Universal made a VERY big mistake. The FIRST song they should have tried to secure SHOULD have been Georgia on my Mind…That music, playing in the background, is what REALLY maximizes the emotion of the moment. The omission of the music essentially ruins quite possibly the most dramatic, memorable moment in the entire series’ run. This replacement, ESPECIALLY the fact that it was unmarked, is an absolutely unforgivable sin. I’m not a fan of music replacement in the first place, but to remove the 2nd most important music in the show’s 5 year run – 2nd only to the theme itself – is absurd, and Universal should be ashamed.

Otherwise, it’s still a decent set. The video looks nice in most places, the audio sounds great on a multi-speaker system, and the episodes are still a great watch 15 years later. Considering the use of single-sided discs would require a total of six discs, dual-sided was really the only viable option. There are two problems I’d like to see fixed for the third season’s set. First is the audio replacement issue…either mark it on the box, or pay for the rights – particularly to key songs in the series. Also is marking the info for special features on the box, but then not including any. That’s false advertising. For season three, I’d definitely like to see commentary on the episodes, if nothing else. Having commentary by Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell would have been great on several episodes – especially M.I.A. The Leap Home 2-parter is coming up at the beginning of the net set, and it would be great to hear commentary for that episode in particular.

I still recommend the set to ANYONE. Fans of the series; fans of sci-fi; fans of good, well-written and well-acted dramas; there should be few if anyone who wouldn’t enjoy the set. The music replacement issue is a big problem with me, but it’s still a great set otherwise.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: N/A
Menu Navigation/Design: 5/5
Overall: 3.6/5 (Would be 4.6 without music replacements)

-- Reviewed by Seth on 12/18/2004.

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