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 Quantum Leap
Everything you'll ever need to know, and more…
The Premise:
Catherine Chandler (Linda Hamilton) is a lawyer for the District Attorney's department in New York city. Vincent (Ron Perlman) is a gentle, softly spoken man who happens to have the face of a lion. Vincent and Catherine meet when Vincent nurses her back to health following a violent attack, in the network of underground tunnels where Vincent lives among a secret community, and from then on the two are soul-mates despite living in very different worlds. As Catherine's voice-over in the titles memorably tells us: "Though we cannot be together, we will never, ever be apart."

Originally conceived for CBS by Ron Koslow as a modern-day version of the classic fairytale, the series walked a difficult path between emotive, relationship-based episodes, and storylines based on Catherine's criminal cases. When Linda Hamilton decided to leave, the producers decided to go the whole hog and brutally killed off Catherine in the first episode of the third season, setting the tone for a violent, bloody set of episodes that upset many loyal viewers.

First run:
25 September 1987 to 24 January or 4 August 1990.
Some of the third season episodes were not shown until the summer repeat run, CBS cutting the season short when they realized they were onto a loser.

Number of episodes:
55 in total - 22 in each of the first two seasons, 11 in the third.

The Good Guys:
Vincent and Catherine, obviously. The tunnel community was led by Jacob Wells, usually known as Father (Roy Dotrice) and included the loveable Mouse (David Greenlee), among others. Above ground, there was Catherine's colleague at the DA's office, Joe Maxwell (Jay Acovone), and her wealthy admirer Elliot Burch (Edward Albert Junior). Diana Bennett (Jo Anderson) was the investigator charged with solving Catherine's murder in the third season.

The Bad Guys:
Paracelsus (Tony Jay), a depraved scientist/sorcerer who could disguise himself as anyone at will, was the recurring bad guy in the first two seasons. Gabriel (brilliantly played by Stephen McHattie) was the sinister type who killed Catherine, and attempted to bump off Vincent, in the third season.

And isn't that...
Armin Shimerman, DSN's Quark, had a recurring role as Pascal, the tunnel dweller who looked after the tunnels' communication system (basically tapping away on pipes in Morse code); Adrian Paul (Highlander) guest-starred as an illegal Russian immigrant who brought plague to the tunnels; and Lance Millennium Henriksen played an assassin named Snow, hired by Gabriel to kill Vincent.

Best of the Bunch:
Brothers, in which Vincent's half-brother Devin returns having rescued Charles, a badly deformed man, from a freakshow where Charles's brother has been exploiting him; Orphans, in which Catherine's father dies and she considers starting a new life in the tunnels; and Dead of Winter, in which Paracelsus attempts to kill Father at the tunnel community's annual Winterfest celebrations.

Bottom of the Barrel:
As any fool knows, the entire third season is a complete betrayal of everything that was good about the series, and makes any decent person sick to the stomach with the sheer brutality of it all.

Overdone clichés:
Many episodes involved Vincent rescuing Catherine from a sticky situation with one or more armed, violent men, after empathically detecting that she was in danger. Many more ended with the couple talking to each other in hushed tones about the events of the episode, and/or reading some poetry.

Fashion statements:
Most of the tunnel dwellers wore about 16 layers including at least one tatty woollen garment, probably thinking more about warmth than fashion - which, in a sense, was what the series usually did too.
By John Binns

Read more about your favourite programmes in Cult Times
The Best Monthly Guide to Cult Television
Issue 31 (April 1998) available now
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