Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman Season One DVD Review
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mix
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Spec: 5 DVD
This is a review of Dr. Quinn for those who would run a mile from anything described as “wholesome family entertainment” (intending no disrespect to those who appreciate such shows). Yes, children were part of the intended audience of this series, and a lot of the characters’ delivery reflects that knowledge, but there were other, more adult aspects of the show that usually aren’t given enough credit.
Dr. Quinn and Sully: Sure, Joe Lando’s Sully looked like the cover of a romance novel, but the fact remains that these were two very good looking people with a lot of chemistry. In the first couple of seasons, the sexual tension between them was so palpable you could cut it with a knife.
Whatever edge the show had came primarily from Jane Seymour, a sometimes underrated actress who could go to some pretty dark emotional places in the show’s more dramatic episodes.
Season One was the most innovative musically and cinematically. The show that year had a movie look, with a lot of visual depth to scenes, imaginative camera work, and an evocative musical score. Any episode in the series directed by James Keach is a feast for the eyes, and perhaps not surprisingly, as he is her real-life husband, Jane’s beauty is particularly mesmerizing in Keach’s shows.
There was a recurring cast of Native American characters that is rare if not unheard of in modern television. Many of the best North American Indian actors (with special kudos to Tantoo Cardinal) appeared in “Dr. Quinn” through the run of the series. Season Three’s episode Washita, the culmination of what in fact was a historical event, is one of the most powerful hours of television I’ve ever seen.
Movie Quality: 8/10
- Jane Seymour: Hollywood’s English Rose
Special Features: 3/10
Most tellingly, Dr. Quinn tackled some very loaded social issues. One of her first friends after she arrives out West is a prostitute. Her own hesitation about getting sexual with Sully is less a matter of virtue than of fear and inexperience. Some of the ugliest aspects of race relations, including attempted lynchings and atrocities against the Indians were incorporated into the show. Although approached with a 1990’s sensibility, the issues grappled with existed at the time, and in many cases are still with us today.
Overall Rating: 7/10