I haven't seen most of the series, but I remember it being very emotional when Sam performs "Imagine" for his younger sister before John Lennon has done it himself. IIRC she starts out thinking he's BS'ing her, then gets more than a little freaked out.
I hope I'm remembering that correctly.
Sounds about right. IIRC Sam is trying to "fix" his family as his past self, preventing his father from dying due to his health (the way he eats? Smoking?) preventing his sister from eventually meeting an abusive spouse but somehow in trying to "fix" things he makes them worse. I think he, on some level, convinces his sister that he's telling the truth and she freaks out of the whole "Paul is dead" thing in playing a Beatles record backwards and Sam assures her Paul is alive and well and continues his career into the far way future of 1995.
But I really, really, really love this series. You've got two exceptional main actors, with Backula especially making far more of the potentially bland Sam than's on the page (watch him play a monkey convincingly and wonder what went wrong with Captain Archer), generally smart, funny scripts that can go into serious places without it getting too Moral of the Day. And the fact it often addresses the problems of the past stops it being too Peter Kay.
I agree, there's a lot of very tropy things there but somehow Backula and Stockwell just make it work by being great leading men and really the only series regulars. (Gooshie and other PQL persons (notably the voice of ZIGGY are only seen a few times, IIRC.)
It also has one of the better theme songs of TV shows of the era.
It's shlocky, it can be preachy, it's very vague in the "rules" of Sam's leaping and it expects quite a bit from the viewer on who, or what, is controlling Sam's leaping. But somehow, on some level the series mostly works.
Yeah, I've mostly felt it was a better idea that Sam's mind or spirit is leaping. (A metaphysical and not physical concept) as this clears up a lot of the problems with "how" Sam is able to so easily fit into the roles/clothes of his host and how everyone doesn't notice he doesn't feel different. (Auras only can do so much.
) And while it causes problems for the episodes where Sam's physical body is needed to do things (the amputee scene) that can "more easily" be explained away by some-sort-of telekinetic process. He can stand on two legs because as far as his mind/spirit is concerned he HAS two legs, regardless of the reality of his host. Still a stretch, sure, but I think a bit less of one that what we actually had to do.
Watching the episode "Jimmy" right now and whooo... This episode would not go far today considering it's pretty liberal use of the "R-Word" people freak out about so much these days.
On another note, Netflix is a very shitty way to watch this series given how many episodes are missing. I even think the episodes are arranged out-of-order which is easy to pick up when the next episode is hinted at when Sam leaps at the end of each episode.
Still, for what's there I'm enjoying revisiting the series on NF.