In the original Quantum Leap, Sam Beckett comes from the year 1999 and leaps back through his own lifetime. Apart from the actual premise, the show features very few sci-fi elements and episodes are mostly period dramas. The show was first broadcast from 1989-1993. I remember the scenes set in 1999 to be quite “futuristic” in appearance and, as is usual for older sci-fi, to be nothing like how the period actually turned out to be.

Apart from maybe one or two episodes where Sam jumps back to his own present day, does he ever jump into what was our future but still his past and, if so, was it set in a futuristic style or was it set to appear contemporaneously with the date of broadcast?

  • 1
    @Valorum Very useful, thanks. So not only is the answer “no”, but all episodes are set before even the date QL was first broadcast. Interesting.
    – Darren
    Nov 11, 2023 at 19:55
  • @Valorum Do you want to add an answer?
    – Darren
    Nov 11, 2023 at 23:26
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    I'm back at my PC now. I probably would have skipped it if I had to stick with mobile. Adding links is a chore
    – Valorum
    Nov 11, 2023 at 23:31

1 Answer 1


In a word, yes (and no). In none of the TV shows does he jump into a contemporaneous setting with the broadcast dates of the show itself (e.g. 1989-1993).

The latest jump that he does on screen is 1987 (in Evil Leaper III). Aside from that, there's an episode where he swaps places with Al and jumps to 1999 in the season 4 episode The Leap Back.

He does, however jump to a range of later dates in the authorised novels; 1989 in The Wall, 1990 in Too Close for Comfort, 1995 in Angels Unaware and Prelude and 1999 in Mirror's Edge however each these books were published after the date described in the novels, in keeping with the theme of the leap dates lagging behind the real-world publishing dates.

There's a solid description of the various 'leap dates' here, along with a useful breakdown of the most common and uncommon dates for him to leap to in both the TV show and prose novels.

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    Wasn't there also either a commercial, or a "leap at the end of the episode" which showed him going to a futuristic setting, only for that leap to never show up in the show itself?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 12, 2023 at 4:52
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    @FuzzyBoots - I'm pretty sure you're referring to the alleged Season 5 ending. As far as I'm aware, they never actually filmed it and the only reference is from a leaked script that Bellisario has debunked as being real.
    – Valorum
    Nov 12, 2023 at 9:18
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    I have a distinct memory of seeing Sam waking up in a futuristic-looking scenario, but memory is fallible. It also could have been one of those fake openings where it looks like one thing but turns out to be another, like the one where he apparently leapt into a doctor dealing with a coding patient, and then it turned out that he was an actor.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 12, 2023 at 14:00

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