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Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman - Complete Season Two
Reviewed by: Marc Eastman
Genre: Television
Video: 1.33:1 fullscreen
Audio: Dolby 2.0 Stereo
Languages: English
Subtitles: None
Length: 999 minutes
Rating: NA
Release Date: 9/30/2003
Studio: A & E
Commentary: Commentary by Joe Lando for episode "Best Friends"
Documentaries: None
Featurettes: "Beginnings", "Boarding House"
Filmography/Biography: Cast Biographies for: Jane Seymour, Joe Lando, Chad Allen, Erika Flores, Shawn Toovey, Orson Bean, and Frank Collison
Interviews: None
Trailers/TV Spots: None
Alternate/Deleted Scenes: None
Music Video: None
Other: Awards & Honors
Cast and Crew: Jane Seymour, Joe Lando, Chad Allen, Erika Flores, Shawn Toovey, Orson Bean, and Frank Collison
Written By: NA
Produced By: NA
Directed By: NA
Music: William Olvis
The Review:

'Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman' posed the televised question, "Do people want something to fill the void created by the absence of 'Little House on the Prairie?'" Of course, you also have to throw in the secondary question, "Is Dr. Quinn a reasonable enough facsimile?" The answer to both questions seemed to be a solid 'yes', at least for six seasons worth. Littered with the same ultra-straight-forward moral absolutism that 'Little House' thrived on, 'Dr. Quinn' followed the life of the titular heroine (who went by Mike), a big city doctor who transplanted herself to a small community in Colorado. There she found a hotbed of discrimination of all sorts (the better to say a lot of politically correct things), not to mention a town that wasn't terribly excited about the idea of a woman doctor. One of the main holds the show had over audiences was the relationship between Dr. Mike and Sully, the town's resident(ish) mysterious mountain man. ***

Season Two cranked things up a few notches, and there was hardly an episode that wasn't bursting with glaring believability issues. Much like seasons three and four of 'Little House', when high tilt plotlines ran rampant, season two of 'Dr. Quinn' becomes progressively more tiresome as audiences must wonder how every conceivable circumstance of human existence can happen to these people. This season found various members of the main cast: accused of murder only to be saved by an autopsy, unwittingly causing a near war with local Indians, plagued by mass illness caused by drinking contaminated water, in the middle of a union strike debacle, plagued again by a typhus epidemic, burdened with a curious and sudden outbreak of orphans, run afoul of Buffalo Soldiers, trapped within the mandatory morphine-addict episode, and dropped into the heart of the KKK. Meanwhile, Dr. Mike has to operate on someone in virtually every episode. ***

Still, it's a show that was at least aiming in an interesting direction, and the second was probably the best season. Things were going downhill by the middle of the third, and the last three seasons were indistinguishable from any other nighttime soap opera. Jane Seymour locked onto fans with her portrayal of Dr. Mike, and this season delivers plenty of ups and downs within the Dr. Mike/Sully relationship. The second season was also very guest star heavy, including an episode featuring Johnny Cash.

Image and Sound:

The picture on the DVD is surprisingly sharp for a television transfer. There are some problems, such as the normal shadow deficiencies, but overall this is a very good picture. Colors are very well represented for a television transfer, and flesh tones are better than average. There are very few compression flaws, but they are there. ***

The sound is extremely front-heavy, even for a television show, but it's serviceable, and that's about all you can expect. Dialogue is very clear, and the soundtrack has only rare drops.

The Extras: For a season release of a show with such a diehard fanbase, the set is pretty sparse as far as special features. 'Boarding House' is a featurette that showcases the season's guest stars, and 'Beginnings' is a pretty self-explanatory endeavor. Neither are exactly the highest quality special-feature fare, but they are fairly serviceable commodities. The set also includes the standard style cast biographies for: Jane Seymour, Joe Lando, Chad Allen, Erika Flores, Shawn Toovey, Orson Bean, and Frank Collison. There is also a venue that details the awards and honors the show received.
Commentary: The episode 'Best Friends' has a commentary by Joe Lando available. This is the best thing the set has to offer by way of extras, and is a solid commentary. It's pretty standard stuff, the sort of commentary you might expect from a show's star, but he does it quite well, and fans of the show will not be disappointed. Of course, fans might also hope for commentary on more than one episode, but this one is a nice treat.
Final Words:

Fans can rejoice at the release of another season. Unfortunately, there aren't very many special features to lure them to buy. Much like the releases of 'Little House on the Prairie', consumers are expected to be content with the episodes themselves, and also like 'Little House', that's a pretty good bet here. A nice release transfer-wise, and one of the better seasons to boot.

Marc Eastman

www.movieroundtable.com

 

 
 
 
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