in ,
- Advertisment -

“Why not call it woke leap? Hollywood hates white characters”: Quantum Leap Reboot’s Asian American Lead Raymond Lee Faces Rampant Racism Online

Quantum Leap Reboot's Asian American Lead Raymond Lee Faces Rampant Racism Online

Quantum Leap (1989-1993) was one of the best-loved television series of its contemporary time. The sci-fi series was inherently comically wacky and eccentric and advocated a strong message despite its rather quirky and lighthearted tone. The genre coupled with the advantages of delivering new adventures with almost every episode quickly catapulted the series to a household favorite.

Raymond Lee
Raymond Lee stars as the lead in revived sci-fi series, Quantum Leap

Also read: TV Shows That Were Saved By Fan Protests

Now, 30 years later, NBC Asian America has brought the beloved series back to life as a reboot of the original, starring Korean-American actor Raymond Lee.

Quantum Leap Reboot: What it Offers After 3 Decades

The series begins with a physicist leaping through space and time to land inside another person’s body for a temporary period during which he must save the day or the person who is in need of it. The end goal, it seems, is to find a way back home, which the original series’ protagonist never did, as per the ’93 season finale. However, the reboot series although sticking closely to the genesis plotline doesn’t take place in a completely new timeline. It’s the events taking place decades after Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) vanished.

Quantum Leap
Quantum Leap‘s original lead duo, Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell

Also read: 10 Cult-Classic Sci-Fi Shows Audiences Do Not Find Interesting Anymore

NBC’s televised sci-fi drama leaps through patchwork in time to land in increasingly difficult and impossible situations. Having lost most of his memory, Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee) traces his way back to the source cause for his unauthorized leap. His path, marred by adventures, provides a delicate balance between crime procedural drama and a rediscovery of one’s familial heritage. Martin Gero, showrunner, defines the reboot to be about “jumping into other people and having an experience that is maybe different than yours.”

Raymond Lee stars as quantum physicist, Dr. Ben Song, in Quantum Leap reboot
Raymond Lee stars as a quantum physicist, Dr. Ben Song, in the Quantum Leap reboot

Also read: Popular Actors Who Found Success In TV Shows Instead Of Movies

Raymond Lee Faces Backlash As Asian-American Protagonist

The original Quantum Leap had actors Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell as its lead duo. But the reboot drastically shifted focus to feature Korean-American Raymond Lee, who was perfect for producers Deborah Pratt and Donal Bellisario’s requirements of a nonwhite actor as the lead. Gero added,

“We knew we wanted a diverse actor for Ben, because they had done the two white guys’ version of it before, and part of modernizing this is telling a broader story… It’s a way for us to tell an incredibly specific story about what it’s like to be a Korean immigrant in a way that he’s also kind of learning about it [again as he goes].”

But, the cultural diversity in the revival has been received negatively by a faction of the demography who now believe that Hollywood is intentionally using nonwhite actors to further their “wokeness” among the millennial crowd.

For Lee, however, the opportunity that this platform provides is indeed a leap for him and his community. Speaking of what his role in the series could bring to the audience, he claims that the representation “does so much for not only this industry but every industry — for anybody to see themselves being represented in a position of leadership and [as] a person who is actively going out and doing good and saving lives.”

Quantum Leap is now streaming on NBC.

Source: NBC News

Written by Diya Majumdar

It's 2023 and Diya Majumdar's social life is defined by a 365-day binge-marathon of films and television shows. Having graduated with honors in literature from Miranda House, she now has more than 1000 published articles on Fandomwire, and her passion and profession both include dissecting the world of cinema. She happens to be a liberally opinionated person with an overbearing love for Monet, Edvard Munch, and Van Gogh, and hardly anything fascinates her more than painting exact replicas of all their troubled works – in oil, of course.