The TV Western has mainly been a man’s world. Women didn’t fare that well in the wilderness. Ben Cartwright had three wives die before Bonanza aired. There was Victoria Barkley on The Big Valley running her ranch, but she took control after her husband died. Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman was unique since Dr. Quinn (Jane Seymour) came West not following a man, but seeking her own adventure. She hit the trail to Colorado Springs. She was not the rugged woman that grew up a tomboy. She was a proper Bostonian that went to a real med school. The show quickly became a hit on Saturday nights in the ‘90s. A&E is re-issuing the first three seasons of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman with a lower price.
Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman: The Complete Season One gives us a woman who had spent her life emulating her father. She not only became a doctor like him, but practiced with him. When he died, she couldn’t stay in Boston. She needed to go out into the world or at least as far as Colorado Springs. Her change of location gets covered in the pilot film. She makes friends with Diane Ladd (Wild at Heart), the town’s midwife. This isn’t a long-term relationship although it leads to Dr. Quinn adopting several children. She gets a romantic interest in a local woodsman named Sully (Joe Lando). He deals with the Cheyenne locals. Dr. Quinn’s biggest issue is getting the locals to accept that a woman can be a doctor. They’re used to elderly drunks with hacksaws and snake oil giving them fine medical care between the shakes. “Law of the Land” scores the best with Johnny Cash arriving in town as a gunslinger wanting a calm life. However he might not be able to give up the bullets. “The Great American Medicine Show” has a snake oil huckster make her look bad. She does her best to get him to remember real medicine.
Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman: The Complete Season Two lets her get more used to life in the wilderness. “Halloween” has Tom Poston (Newhart) popping up around all over town as a dead guy. You can’t keep a good corpse down. “Saving Souls” has June Carter Cash roll into town as a faith healer. Johnny Cash returns as the gunslinger. “Mike’s Dream: A Christmas Tale” is exciting for film geeks since it gives a cameo to George S. Clinton as a Piano Player. He’s the guy who scored Austin Powers and not the legend from P-Funk. “Another Woman” properly casts Sheryl Lee (Twin Peaks). She had been kidnapped and raised by an Indian tribe. After being freed, she finds herself wanting to be trapped by Sully. The season ending “Return Engagement” has Dr. Quinn choose between Sully and Maxwell Caulfield (Grease 2). She thought Caulifield had died during the Civil War. Will she go back?
Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman: The Complete Season Three keeps progress from coming to Colorado Springs when people aren’t happy that the train is coming. Bad things come on locomotion in “The Train.” “Fathers and Sons” has Orson Bean wanting to go even deeper into the frontier by heading to Bolivia. Orson is such a hoot on GSN’s Match Game ‘74 reruns. Cattle Drive puts Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers) on horseback. Johnny Cash returns for Thanksgiving. The Man in Black must come back. Country star Trisha Yearwood directs the choir in “A First Christmas.” Hal Sparks (Talk Soup) manages to play Gentle Horse in “Indian Agent.” The romance between Dr. Quinn and Sully gets serious in “For Better or Worse.” Their impending wedding has enough drama for a two-part story.
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman is a charming show thanks to Jane Seymour. She could kill and gut Bambi and you’d think she’s still the sweetest woman on the screen. She allows Dr. Quinn’s romance with Sully feel natural. How can anyone not think Sully wouldn’t like her? The rugged nature of the show doesn’t get too prickly or dirty. The show sets a new direction by letting a woman follow her desire to tame the wild west, but it sticks to being family entertainment. This isn’t Dr. Deadwood. Dr. Quinn is for the ladies and fans of nice Westerns.
“Pilot,” “Epidemic,” “The Visitor,” “Law Of The Land,” “The Healing,” “Father’s Day,” “Bad Water,” “Great American Medicine Show,” “The Cowboy’s Lullaby,” “Running Ghost,” “The Prisoner,” “Happy Birthday,” “Rite Of Passage,” “Heroes,” “The Operation,” “The Secret” and “Portraits.”
“The Race,” “Sanctuary,” “Halloween,” “The Incident,” “Saving Souls,” “Where the Heart Is” (two-parter), “ Giving Thanks,” “Best Friends,” “Sully’s Choice,” “A Christmas Tale – Dr. Mike’s Dream,” “Crossing the Line,” “The Offering,” “The Circus,” “Another Woman,” “The Orphan Train,” “Buffalo Soldiers,” “Luck of the Draw,” “Life and Death,” “The First Circle,” “Just One Lullaby,” “The Abduction” (two-parter), “The Campaign,” “The Man in the Moon” and “Return Engagement” (two-parter).
“The Train,” “Fathers and Sons,” “The Cattle Drive” (two-parter), “The Library,” “Halloween II,” “The Washington Affair” (two-parter), “Money Trouble,” “Thanksgiving,” “Ladies’ Night” (two-parter), “A First Christmas,” “The Indian Agent,” “The End of the World,” “Pike’s Peace,” “Cooper vs. Quinn” (two-parter), “What is Love?,” “Things My Father Never Gave Me,” “Baby Outlaws,” “Bone of Contention,” “Permanence of Change,” “Washita” (two-parter), “Sully’s Recovery,” “Ready or Not,” “For Better or Worse.”
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The colors look fine without any major specks popping up on the frame. The audio is Dolby Digital Stereo, but isn’t dynamically mixed.
A&E Biography: Jane Seymour (43:13) gives the background on Dr. Quinn. How did she go from Bond Girl to frontier physician? She’s also a painter. This is on the first season DVD set.
Tour of Colorado Springs is an interactive piece that allows you to know how much things cost back in the mid-1800s. This is on the first season DVD set.
Beginnings (10:47) covers the first season. Jane Seymour talks about she needed the role bad since she was broke thanks to a divorce. Luckily the script spoke to her so she didn’t have to stoop. The show ran against the Orange Bowl and survived. This is on the Second Season set.
Biographies are text essays about the stars of the show.
Boarding House lists the special guest stars for the episodes.
Awards and Honors explains what the show won during these early seasons.
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman remains a sweet and charming Western. Jane Seymour doesn’t have to out gut her male settlers to make an impact. This is a family show with just enough adventure and romance without getting too intense. The reduced price should let fans not have to choose which of the first three seasons. You can get them all.
A&E DVD presents Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman: The Complete Season One. Starring: Jane Seymour, Joe Lando and Orson Bean. Boxset Contents: 17 episodes on 5 DVDs. Released on DVD: March 29, 2011.
A&E DVD presents Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman: The Complete Season Two. Starring: Jane Seymour, Joe Lando and Orson Bean. Boxset Contents: 27 episodes on 7 DVDs. Released on DVD: March 29, 2011.
A&E DVD presents Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman: The Complete Season Three. Starring: Jane Seymour, Joe Lando and Orson Bean. Boxset Contents: 25 episodes on 8 DVDs. Released on DVD: March 29, 2011.
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