Last week I had a curious dream about me reading a crossover between Quantum Leap and Doctor Who. This would not be particularly stunning except that I’m like the one contributor to this blog who cannot stand Doctor Who.1 Indeed, what made the dream amazingly vivid is that I was constantly thinking “Why am I reading this? I don’t even like Doctor Who.” Also, I have checked and I’m pretty sure the first Doctor Who was in the dream, which is disturbing because I wouldn’t have known what that guy looked like before he appeared to me in a vision. This is like one of those creepy stories about somebody visiting an ancient castle for the first time and remembering a past life spent there, except that my past life was apparently a colossal dork.
After I woke up and thought about this some more, I realized that a) Quantum Leap/Doctor Who certainly makes sense and b) it would be cruel of me to withhold this concept from the universe just because it doesn’t turn my crank. (I am choosing to pretend no one has ever thought of this before, despite the fact that Doctor Who has been crossed over with literally everything I have ever heard of.) Maybe somebody else can get some mileage out of it. So for those of you looking for a plot for the next great fanfiction, this one is on me! (Adding the buttsex is up to you, though.)
All right, the obvious connection between the two properties is that they both feature time travelers. Quantum Leap‘s Sam Beckett trades places with other people throughout the late 20th century for no apparent reason except that God wants him to change history. As far as I know, though, Doctor Who is particularly determined not to change history, or at the very least only change it as needed to undo tampering by other time travelers. I don’t know what Doctor Who’s final authority is on which version of the timeline is “correct,” but something tells me that he’s not especially religious and he’d reject Sam’s notion of doing God’s will. I’d say these two guys would not get along, particularly if Sam thinks he’s supposed to “put right what once went wrong,” something that Doctor Who went to a great deal of trouble to put wrong.
Let’s say, for example, the evil cardboard robots are planning a secret invasion into Earth’s past.2 Doctor Who cleverly uses his phone booth to go back in time to 1976 and change history so that some guy named Fred witnesses what the cardboard robots are planning! Fred tells anyone who will listen about the shitty props from outer space, and it’s mostly dismissed as tinhat nonsense. But it’s commonly-known tinhat nonsense so the element of surprise is totally blown, and the invasion is cancelled. Unfortunately, now Fred is a laughingstock, which ruins his marriage, causing his wife to leave him and marry some drug addict who gets her killed in 1982.
That’s when Sam leaps into Fred, and Al contacts him from the Imaging Chamber with instructions to save Fred from turning into David Icke and ruining his marriage. See, Ziggy is a really smart computer that can scan zillions of archives to determine Sam’s most probable mission, it cannot possibly account for the secret machinations of a time lord from planet Iforgot. Thus in the present day, Doctor Who notices something’s gone screwy and he’s like “Dammit, I thought I took care of this.” It is at this point that he first becomes aware of Project Quantum Leap, which is for him like discovering Neanderthals are playing with nuclear weapons. Fearing that one wrong move by Sam could cause the universe to blink out of existence, Doctor Who takes his girlfriend with him to the 1990s, to shut down the project at its source and (incidentally) bring Sam home.
Once he overpowers Al and Gooshie and makes it into the Waiting Room (where Fred is stuck in Sam’s body), Doctor Who recognizes how Quantum Leap works and realizes there is a wrinkle in his plan: Sam can’t make the leap home until he wills himself to. Without Sam’s cooperation, any attempt to reverse the leap could irreparably damage Fred’s neurons and mesons. Doctor Who needs Fred to be a crackpot, not a vegetable, so that won’t work. Changing tactics, Doctor Who storms into the Imaging Chamber to confront Sam directly. 3
Amid the chaos, Fred escapes the Waiting Room and steals the Tardis, in a desperate attempt to return to 1976 and stop those alien invaders. This grabs the attention of the ’70s Doctor Who (the one with the scarf), who wonders why somebody stole his time machine in the future and brought it back here. So present-day Who is a hologram arguing with Sam-in-Fred’s-body, when Fred-in-Sam’s-body finally shows up wondering what the hell Sam is doing pretending to be him and macking on his wife. Doctor Who is a hologram so all he can do is watch, but as it happens 1970s Doctor Who arrives and he can see the hologram, so Doctor Who banters with himself for a while about various pressing issues. The upshot here is that ’70s Doctor Who has been made aware of the alien invasion, which means that now he’s on guard against it. Now the plan to have Fred spread the word about aliens is superfluous, and Sam’s efforts to salvage his marriage won’t screw anything up. This effectively settles everything, so just as Sam/Fred is roundhouse-kicking Fred/Sam, Fred leaps back into his own body and Sam…disappears.
Inexplicably, Sam’s body returns to the Waiting Room; Sam himself is in the body of the original Doctor Who, shortly before undergoing his first regeneration. 4 When the present-day Who figures this out, he explains to Al that this is serious business, because if Sam is still in Who’s body when the regeneration energy reaches critical, it’ll destroy the fourth dimension or some shit like that. With the Tardis stuck in the ’70s, and First Doctor Who unconscious, Doctor Who is at a loss for a way out of this mess. Al persuades him to use the methodology he and Sam have perfected–try to figure out what Sam is “supposed” to do, and tell him to do it so he can leap out of there. Who doesn’t buy it, but Al convinces him to take a leap of faith. They quickly splice the sonic screwdriver into Al’s handheld console to give Ziggy the data it needs to tell Sam how history is supposed to play out. Doctor Who worries that it’s taking too long for Sam to leap out, because there’s no way a time lord can last much longer without regenerating, but Sam manages to fulfill history and defeat the Cyberwhatevers, and leaps out in the nick of time.
Sam turns up in 1976 again, this time as the companion of that era’s Doctor Who. This makes it possible for present-Who and Al to contact ’70s Who via the Imaging Chamber, to arrange the return of the stolen Tardis. Incredibly, the Doctors Who develop a way to send the Tardis through the Imaging Chamber by having Al’s hologram stand inside it while it is turned inside out. Before the present-day Doctor Who and his companion return to their native timeframe, he remarks that his first regeneration could not possibly have turned out as history intended if Sam hadn’t briefly replaced his weakened essence at just the right time. Perhaps then, Doctor Who can only protect history because some higher power is protecting his history, and this whole incident was meant to make him aware of that possibility. At that, Sam leaps out, his task completed.
- Hopefully Seavey is being plagued by dreams about James Nguyen meeting Tommy Wiseau, to balance things out. [↩]
- Or maybe it’s the evil lawn ornaments. I can’t really tell Doctor Who villains apart. [↩]
- If you’re wondering when Al is going to get a chance to act like a dirty old man around the Companion, I figure it’d be somewhere around here. [↩]
- Oh boy. [↩]