‘Quantum Leap’: Raymond Lee’s Dr. Ben Song Shares 3 Major Qualities With Scott Bakula’s Sam Beckett

NBC has brought back Quantum Leap, but it’s not the same show it was in the early ‘90s. Now, Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee) will quantum leap through time, although he knows about his predecessor, Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula). Bakula may have declined to participate in the new show, but Lee feels Ben embodies some of the same qualities of Sam.

'Quantum Leap': Ben Song (Raymond Lee) makes a phone call in the past
Raymond Lee | Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Lee and showrunner Martin Gero were on a Television Critics Association Zoom panel for Quantum Leap on Sept. 15. Discussing his take on the time travel show, They shared what Ben has in common with Sam. Quantum Leap airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC.

Raymond Lee can never replace Scott Bakula on ‘Quantum Leap’

Nobody is more aware of the size of the shoes he has to fill than Lee himself. Lee said he would never presume to be “the new Sam.”

“There will never be another Dr. Sam Beckett,” Lee said. “But what we’ve created is a brand new show with brand new characters, and we’re really excited to bring this show to you.”

Both Ben Song and Sam Beckett are good guys

Sam and Ben had the same mission, though: travel through time to set right what once went wrong. Both come from a similar place of kindness and justice to do that. 

“I think at the core of it, I think what connects Ben Song and Sam Beckett are the main tenets of their belief in doing good and what it means to be empathetic,” Lee said. “And I think through that, as they pass through bodies, they’ll have a joint experience of agreeing on the fact that they’re both doing right what once went wrong.”

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That is the important part of Quantum Leap. Sam brought a then-modern sense of equality to shows about racial tensions in Watts and sexism against women. Hopefully, 30 more years have given Ben more perspective on social justice. Hopefully, the new Quantum Leap can explore LGBTQ rights along with the other causes for which we are still fighting. 

The original ‘Quantum Leap’ producers name the 3 qualities Raymond Lee embodies as Ben Song

Deborah Pratt co-created Quantum Leap with Don Bellisario. They remain executive producers of the new show, but Pratt has been hands-on with Gero. He shared her four tenets of Quantum Leap, three of which apply to Ben.

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She really says that the four tenets of Quantum Leap are hope, heart, humor, and history.  And Ben really inhabits the first three of those.  Like, he’s an incredibly hopeful character.  He has a tremendous heart.  The show is about empathy at its core, and he has a ton of that to give.  And then, also, most importantly, I think now, because we want to make a really entertaining and fun show, is the humor.  And the humor was a big part of the original Quantum Leap.  It’s a really important part of this one.  And I think this entire cast, Ray especially, has really taken that on, and trying to find a grounded way to bring an incredible amount of hope, heart, and humor to these episodes.

Martin Gero, Television Critics Association panel, 9/15/22

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