The New Quantum Leap Just Contradicted One of Sam Beckett’s Strangest Adventures

A key element of an original Quantum Leap episode doesn’t quite fit with the new series.

Ben in Quantum Leap Season 2.
Photo: NBC

This article contains spoilers for Quantum Leap season 2 episode 3.

The original Quantum Leap, despite being a show centered on time travel, was fairly grounded. Besides Sam (Scott Bakula) being able to leap into other people’s lives, the show kept its stories pretty down to Earth. Sam would help someone with a problem viewers could easily relate to. It’s part of what makes the show so beloved to this day. It was sci-fi but not TOO sci-fi.

Which is why it was more than a little strange when, in season 5 episode 6 “Star Light, Star Bright,” Sam encountered aliens. No, it wasn’t a fake out to generate interest in the episode. Sam really proves aliens are real. The story follows Sam’s leap into an old man in 1966 who’s in danger of being put in a home for believing in aliens. Despite seeing a UFO at the beginning of the story, the episode mostly makes you assume that Sam probably just mistook a “space ship” for something more reasonable.

Then the end of the episode happens and, nope, it’s really aliens. Sam, the leapee’s family, and two government agents all see a “self illuminated elliptical orb.” There’s no ambiguity here. Sam is even told he should board the alien craft just before he leaps! It’s not something the TV series ever touched on again, though a spinoff comic entitled “Time and Space” featured Sam actually meeting aliens (though its canonicity to the show is dubious at best.) 


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