Quantum Leap Writer Says NBC Agreed To Transgender Storyline In Primetime With ‘No Hesitation'
Shakina Nayfack said Quantum Leap was eager to do the episode.
Quantum Leap's latest revival has resonated with fans both new and old, and that's partially because of its continued efforts to replicate the feeling and tone of the original series. One of the ways it does that is by telling groundbreaking stories that highlight people from all walks of life. And NBC will continue that tradition with an upcoming episode called "Let Them Play," which puts a transgender teen front and center. The episode is written and directed by transgender activist writer, director, and actress Shakina Nayfack, who revealed that the network took on her idea with "no hesitation."
I had the privilege of speaking with Quantum Leap writer Shakina Nayfack about her upcoming episode, which sees Dr. Ben Song put into the body of a transgender teen's parent. I spoke to Nayfack about how, even in 2023, it's rare to see such powerful transgender stories shown on primetime shows on network television. During our conversation, I also asked Nayfack about the process of pitching this episode and learned that the process was made easier due to the fact that NBC and the executive producers behind the science fiction series were more than willing to tell this story:
It's definitely wonderful to hear that the Quantum Leap team was on board with the idea from the jump. And of course, what's also great is that the powers that be took all the steps to ensure they had people in place to ensure "Let Them Play" hit all the right notes in order to tell a compelling (and multifaceted) story that highlights the experience of a transgender individual.
In "Let Them Play," Ben is transported into the father of Gia Mendéz, a transgender teen on the high school basketball team. As Gia's father and the coach of the team, Ben is in the position to let Gia play and live out her dreams but is up against a school administration that's pushing against it due to pressure from parents and other outside forces.
Ben is certainly faced with some hard decisions in the upcoming episode, and that runs counter to what Shakina Nayfack experienced. She explained that the special part of crafting this Quantum Leap from a behind-the-scenes standpoint was how easy it was to make happen:
Quantum Leap viewers can expect a captivating story that explores a number of the situations trans kids as well as their parents, face amid everyday life. All the while, fans should also brace themselves for more details on the traitor-relate mystery happening in the present-day timeline, as Addison and the team work with Janice Calavicci to slowly unravel the mystery as to why Ben began this wild journey without warning. If ever there was a time to grab a Peacock subscription and catch up on Season 1 ahead of the already-confirmed second season, this is it.
Quantum Leap airs "Let Them Play" on NBC on Monday, February 6th at 10:00 p.m. ET. Those who can't catch the episode on premiere night can always check it out on Peacock afterward.
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Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.