Several months ago, I shared an idea I had about rebooting a classic sci-fi TV show, namely Quantum Leap. If you want, go check it out again for yourself.
Since that time, I’ve had a few people pop by and check it out. I’ve had a few people offer comments. But I got one last week that kind of made me sit up and take notice. Jason K. had this observation:
The only thing that you left out was the Evil Leapers and Lothos. I think that was an aspect of the story line that they could have pursued more. I would modify it slightly, and make them the reason why John was denied access to his dad’s equipment was because an agent from Lothos was the one denying them. Have Al come out of retirement right at the perfect moment to stop them from shutting down the new project. Even get him to have the project sponsored by the government.
You know what? Jason is absolutely right. I didn’t bring up the Evil Leaper and Lothos. In my defense, I hadn’t finished my binge-watching of the series on Netflix when I wrote the original post. I knew about Alia and company, but they weren’t fresh in my mind at the time.
But after I came across the Evil Leaper episodes (Deliver Us from Evil, Return of the Evil Leaper, and Revenge of the Evil Leaper), they started rattling around in my brain a little. Jason’s comment last week made me realize that any reboot would naturally have to include the Evil Leapers. They would add something that a straight reboot of Quantum Leap wouldn’t have: a mythology.
The more I thought about my idea of rebooting Quantum Leap to feature John Beckett leaping through time, setting right what once went wrong, each time hoping that he’ll be able to rescue his father, the more I liked it. Problem is, I saw a deficiency in the idea. Nowadays, it seems like every sci fi show needs some sort of deeper mythology to it. I’m not entirely sure that a show where every episode is a one-off story would cut it anymore.
The presence of Evil Leapers, folks who are trying to make things worse, would add a great layer of deeper mythology to it.
But the question naturally arises: who on earth are the Evil Leapers? Where did their computer, Lothos, come from? Why are they doing what they’re doing?
So here’s the backstory I would propose, something that would be unveiled gradually throughout the series: after the original Quantum Leap project was put in mothballs by the government, someone (we’ll call him Mr. Rex for now, just because we need to call him something) bribed his government contacts to get his hands on the plans and schematics for Ziggy, the accelerator, the waiting room, all of it. Mr. Rex’s goal is to recreate the time travel experiment but to use it for his own personal profit. Working in secret, Mr. Rex created Lothos and began training folks like Alia and Zoey to go into the past and change things “for the better.” By which I mean that things are better for Rex. I’m thinking that Mr. Rex would be the head of a soulless corporation that benefits from human suffering in some way. That might be too on-the-nose, but that’s what I’ve got.
Now, just as Quantum Leap seemed to be taken off-track by God or Fate or Time, Mr. Rex’s little time travel experiment attracts the attention of an evil power. I’d say the Devil, but then, the original show was always a little vague about what was sending Sam leaping through time. Mr. Rex either wittingly or unwittingly allies himself with this evil power. They’re able to make quite the impact on history until their best Leaper, Alia, slips out of their clutches thanks to the interference of Sam Beckett. For the first time, the head of the project realizes that they could lose everything.
That’s why Mr. Rex sends a team back to interfere with Sam’s final mission. In other words, they’re the reason why Quantum Leap got shut down. Obviously, this little detail wouldn’t be revealed for a few seasons.
Everything seems to be going good, but that’s when Rex learns that John Beckett is trying to resurrect Quantum Leap to find and rescue his father. He is able to initially block John’s efforts, but John and Sammy Jo are able to get their hands on the original equipment. Rex dispatches agents to try to stop them, but those agents are, in turn, foiled by Admiral Al Calavicci (thanks for that idea, Jason!). Al gets Quantum Leap restarted and now, it’s not only a race to rescue Sam from being lost in time, but they’re also trying to uncover Mr. Rex’s identity and shut down Project Lothos (for lack of a better name).
So going forward, some of John’s adventures would be one-off, stand-alone stories. But some would have John crossing paths with Leapers from Project Lothos. Occasionally, we’d probably also see Sammy Jo having to investigate leads in the future. And eventually, it would come to a head.
So what do you think? A good inclusion? Got a better name for Mr. Rex or Project Lothos? Or an idea for who Mr. Rex really turns out to be (dun-dun-dunnnnnnh!)? Let me know in the comments!