The boys are back in time

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The Independent Culture
I'm still not buying one. I don't care if they are re-running Quantum Leap (10pm, Sky One) from the beginning, I'm not having one of those things on my roof. Sky-less fans will have to make do with their fix from BBC2, which is already re-running the series from the beginning at 6pm on Thursdays. So much for consumer choice.

The series is what is loosely described as "cult viewing". Normally this is just Jacksonspeak for "repeat", but in Quantum Leap's case it's certainly true to say that there are those of us who go out of our way not to miss it. Mind you, there's more to cult status than mere popularity: there are plenty of people who never miss Jeremy Beadle, but no one would ever describe him as a cult...

Quantum Leap's body-hopping formula is perfect cult material. Like Captain Kirk or Doctor Who, Sam can turn up in any period, any milieu, any situation, so a varied diet is assured. Unlike either of them, he is blessed with glossy production values, inventive human interest scenarios and a witty script. The most enjoyable plots are usually those which involve Scott Bakula in a pill-box hat and sling-backs.

The show's other strength is that most of the plots are self-contained, one-part dramas which give us a taste of forthcoming attractions in the closing minutes as Sam leaps once more - usually to find himself hanging upside down from a trapeze.