Quantum Leap-Season 1 (1989)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 2-May-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-A Kiss With History
Episode Introductions-Quantum Knowledge
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 409:16 (Case: 427)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Anita W. Addison
Debbie Allen
Scott Bakula
Donald P. Bellisario
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Scott Bakula
Dean Stockwell
Deborah Pratt
Case ?
RPI $49.95 Music Velton Ray Bunch
Mike Post


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished...

    Donald P. Bellisario definitely had his finger on the pulse of US TV in the 1980s. Along with the highly successful and long running Magnum P.I., he also brought us Air Wolf and this brilliant science-fiction series - Quantum Leap.

    The plot of the show is neatly summed up in the opening voice-over to the credits. A scientist, Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula), designs a device to travel through time, but after testing it on himself he gets lost in the past, trapped in the bodies of various people from that time era. In order to find his way home, he must undo a wrong that occurred in the past with the help of his friend Rear Admiral Al Calavicci (Dean Stockwell) and a computer called Ziggy. However, as each wrong is righted, Sam finds himself jumping helplessly into the body of another person in another time period where he must rewrite history to correct another wrong.

    I found the first season to be probably the weakest of the lot, with far too many religious overtones for a series of this nature. Thankfully, the whole divine intervention angle had been abandoned by the last few episodes, and the concentration on religious plotlines had been subverted by more traditional human drama stories. This is, after all, not Highway To Heaven or Little House On The Prairie. Unfortunately, it took the series creators a few missteps before they realised this. It takes a very brave and sophisticated creative mind to mix science fiction and theology, and the creative team behind this first season were neither at that stage.

    I do not intend to give you a full run down of each episode. Far better summaries than I could provide can be found at TV.com amongst other places. The following is simply a list of the contents of the first season as set out on these DVDs:

Disc 1

1. & 2. Genesis Part I & II – September 13, 1956 (88:55)

3. Star-Crossed – June 15, 1972 (46:12)

Disc 2

4. The Right Hand Of God – October 24, 1974 (45:42)

5. How The Tess Was Won – August 5, 1956 (46:08)

6. Double Identity – November 8, 1965 (45:34)

Disc 3

7. The Color Of Truth – August 8, 1955 (45:42)

8. Camikazi Kid – June 6, 1961 (45:34)

9. Play It Again, Seymour – April 14, 1973 (45:29)

    Quantum Leap is a great TV show, and as it progresses so too does the quality of the storytelling. While this first season is good, it is hardly indicative of what is to come. If you are a fan, you will be pleased with this set. If not, but you are a TV fan and have grown bored of the dull shows they choose to air on free-to-air here in Australia, I highly recommend this series.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is in the original 1.33:1 Full Frame broadcast ratio of the series. Unfortunately, it is an obvious R1 clone. In all fairness, you will not notice the difference on a small CRT screen or on your laptop TFT screen. But blow it up to a 50” 4x3 image and you start to see some rather nasty faults, even with all the ‘compensating’ software that the digital gadgets of today come with.

    Colour is a little washed out, but still very good for a series from this era. There are some mild shadow detail issues, but with a properly calibrated system you should be able to overcome any shortcomings in the transfer in this regard.

    The image is a touch soft, although the softness of the early episodes does clear up as the series progresses.

    There are some definite grain issues here, but this has a lot to do with the low bitrate of the transfer (with three 45 minute episodes per disc, there’s not a lot of room to have the kind of transfers we’ve come to expect from modern Hollywood movies).

    There are no glaring MPEG artefacts of the kind that make your screen a horrible glitched-up mess. However, there was a lot of moire and aliasing going on here, with some brick backgrounds a rather jagged blur and some grille plates even displaying a little macro-blocking. The episode The Camikaze Kid had plenty of these problems with the grilles on cars and textured concrete on the underpass.

    There is a fair bit of dirt here, as you would expect from a show of this era. However, none of it is such that it becomes a major problem.

    Subtitles are available in English for the Hearing Impaired. They are white with a black border, clear and easy to read, and stick pretty close to the original dialogue.

    These are apparently dual layer discs, except that I cannot find the dual layer pauses with my system for some reason. If you come across them, can you please let me know.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Unfortunately, the only audio available is the original English 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround track encoded at 192Kb/s.

    There were no problems understanding dialogue with this show, and everything was pretty much clear and easy to hear. There were some minor audio sync issues that were clearly faults from the source (hardly surprising given the age of this show and the limited technology they had to work with back then).

    The range is decent, although nothing compared to modern remixes, or even the stellar job that Paramount did for the original series of Star Trek.

    Surround information is, unfortunately, rather limited. There are some good left-to-right cues across the front of the sound field, but the rears do not get much use.

    Sadly, there is no subwoofer use, which is a bit of a shame. If you can get your system to kick some of the bass down to the subwoofer, it’s worth it. But without a top of the line processor to extend the surround range for you, you are unlikely to get much more than a limited surround field.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The main menu has various clips from the episodes and the theme in 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo.

Episode Introductions – Quantum Knowledge

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, each of the episodes has an introduction that involves an interview with Scott Bakula recalling fond (or not so fond) memories of the making of that episode:

Disc 1

Featurette – “A Kiss With History” (20:49)

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo, this is a retrospective featurette looking at the series, with interviews from the majority of the cast and crew.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Aside from the obvious PAL/NTSC and Region Coding of the two releases, I have conflicting information on what is on the R1 release of this DVD by comparison to the R4. Some reviews seem to indicate that the R4 release is an exact clone (which stands to reason given the obvious NTSC origins of the PAL picture transfer). Others seem to indicate that the R1 release only has a 2.0 Mono soundtrack in both English and Spanish. Some indicate that the R1 release has ‘hidden’ features.

    Without my own R1 copy, I am at a disadvantage here, but personally, I’m inclined to go with the theory that the R4 release is an exact clone of the R1 release. If someone knows otherwise, post me a message below – this would be greatly appreciated.

Summary

    Quantum Leap is one of the finest science fiction series to come from the mind of Donald P. Bellisario. While this first season is a little weak, it does pick up a lot in coming seasons.

    The video is pretty good for a series of this age, although the R4 release does give away its NTSC origins.

    The sound is a fairly decent 2.0 Dolby Surround. With a little playing around with your home system, you will be able to get a very pleasing sound out of it.

    The extras are fairly light on, but at least they are relevant.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDMomitsu V880N Deluxe, using DVI output
DisplayHewlett Packard ep7120 DLP Projector with 80" Widescreen HDTV Projector Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersDigital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
R1 Release - David M
R1 version -
Easter eggs - R1 - Neil
R4 Easter Eggs - Dave D (read my bio)
R1 soundtrack -