Genesis is the first and second episodes of the first season of Quantum Leap.
Guest Starring: Jennifer Runyon (Peggy Stratton), John Allen Nelson (Captain "Bird Dog" Birdell), W.K. Stratton (Dr. Berger), Newell Alexander (John Beckett), Lee DeBroux (Coach), Larry Poindexter (Captain Tony LaMotta)
and Bruce McGill (Weird Ernie)
Co-Starring: Barbara Horan (Tina), David Trent (Captain Doug Walker), James F. Dean (Dr. Blaustein), Lela Ivey (Lucy), Dennis Wolfberg (Gooshie), Lydia Cornell (Sally), Christine Poor (Jeanie), Doug Cox (Sportscaster), Christian Van Dorn (Mikey Stratton)
Featuring: Hank Robinson (Umpire), Patrick Cranshaw (Old Man), Brent Chalem (Bat Boy), Adam Affonso (Young Sam), Mike Greenwood (Matt), Dave Duensing (Clyde), David Dawson (Barnes), Kevin Johnson (Pepper), Ken Martin (Tim Fox), Layne Beamer (Tom Stratton)
Sam finds himself in the year 1956, except that everyone calls him Tom Stratton, not Sam. He doesn't know how he got there or why, and he can't remember his own last name. A guy named Al seems to know what's going on, but no one else beside Sam can see or hear Al, and Al can walk through walls and disappear. So Sam's beginning to wonder if he's going crazy.
As if all that weren't enough, Sam/Tom Stratton has to fly his plane and break Mach-2 within the next few days. The problem is, Sam's never flown before in his entire life.
Sam learns more about why he's there: he's part of a time-travel experiment that, as Al puts it, "went a little 'ca-ca.'" Originally, Tom Stratton died in the Mach-2 flight. So if Sam changes history so that Tom doesn't die, then in theory, Sam should "leap" out of Tom and back to his own time period and his own body.
With Al's help, Sam does successfully break Mach-2 without dying. However, instead of leaping back home, Sam leaps into a baseball player in the 1960s.
As for Al himself, he's from Sam's own time period, communicating to Sam through holographic projection (hence the walking through walls). He can't tell Sam anything he doesn't remember due to strict government regulation, but after much cajoling from Sam, he does reveal two important things: Sam's last name is Beckett, and Sam himself created Project Quantum Leap, so he is his own best chance for figuring out how to get back home.
- September 13, 1956
Kiss with History
- Often Sam will have "crosses with history," where he interacts with famous people and/or events in the past. In the second leap in this episode, for instance, Sam hits a ball pitched by a young Tom Seaver.
- By the end of this episode, the audience knows about the time-travel initiative Project Quantum Leap, that it was invented by Sam Beckett and funded by the government, that God (or possibly Fate or Time or Whoever) has taken control of Sam's leaping and is using him to write certain wrongs in history, which Sam does in hopes that one of the leaps might take him home.
- Also, in Sam's second leap, we learn that Al (as a hologram) doesn't reflect in mirrors, and that dogs can see Sam for who he is (as opposed to who he leaped into), and they can see Al as well.
- Obviously, this episode sets up a lot, in terms of introducing Sam Beckett and the characters around him who are important to this episode, as well as Al, the only other main character. Gooshie, the head technician, also briefly appears at the beginning, and Al makes reference to him later on. Gooshie is frequently mentioned by Al, though Dennis Wolfberg would not return to the series until the fourth-season episode "The Leap Back".
- One of Al's primary character traits is mentioned for the first time here when Al tell Sam at one point, "Don't yell. I've got a hangover!" While Al's fondness for drinking is played for comedy in these episodes, his alcoholism is treated with much more seriousness in later episodes such as "Play Ball".
- By the end of the episode, Al has made reference to Ziggy, the "hybrid computer" who tries to figure out what wrong in history Sam needs to put right. Ziggy is not seen or heard, though, until the fourth-season episode "The Leap Back".
- Being the first episode, there's nothing to refer back to. However, there are two references that pay off in later episodes. Before Sam knows what's going on, he mistakes Al for "the boogieman." A Halloween episode in the third season is called "The Boogieman". Also, there's a captain in this episode whom the pilots affectionately nickname "Weird Ernie." While the reason for the nickname is never given, Bruce McGill (who plays Weird Ernie) returns in the series finale, "Mirror Image", playing the enigmatic Al the bartender.
Behind the Scenes
- The premiere episode was originally known simply as a 2-hour TV-movie called "Quantum Leap". When the episode was rerun before the start of Season 2, NBC edited the episode down to 90 minutes and given the title "Genesis". When the reruns came to the USA Network in 1992 and the Sci-Fi Channel in 1993, the name "Genesis" was retained for the two installments. The VHS and DVD releases feature the original unedited opening, and are referred to simply as "The Pilot Episode".
- David Hemmings directed this episode. He would only direct one more installment: the penultimate filmed episode of the series, "The Leap Between the States".