I just finished binge-watching this show over the past few weeks. Yes, yes, I realize that it’s from the 90’s and I could be watching and talking about something current — and I will, at some point, I’m watching a few current shows that are worth talking about. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some old shows worth talking about, too!
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman has always stood out to me among TV shows primarily because of my love of character development. (You guys haven’t heard me mention that before, have you?) While there’s a lot about the show that’s predictable, trope-ridden, and saccharine it doesn’t lessen the fact that you get to watch several characters grow, change, and progress over the show’s seven-season run. (Not including the two movies that came after…) It isn’t just Michaela’s story that unfolds, but the stories of several other characters in burgeoning Colorado Springs. And that is something I love about it. The characters seem more real because their attitudes and opinions change over time. You get a front row seat as they develop new ways of thinking and provoke new relationships.
Love is handled in better ways than I’ve seen in most shows, where characters meet and fall for each other in the span of one or two episodes. Love stories here take place over entire seasons that grow and progress over time. That isn’t to say that you can’t still predict who’s going to end up with who; they make characters interests in each other pretty clear from the onset, but at least it doesn’t actually happen overnight.
When it comes to choosing a favorite character, though, I have to say that I probably tend to favor the mercantile shopkeeper, Loren Bray. Out of all the characters in the Dr. Quinn universe, he makes the most progress with his hide-bound attitudes and prejudices. He is, by no means, perfect by the show’s end but he’s made considerable progress. I’m a bit saddened, though, that he and Dorothy Jennings never end up together. It’s pretty clear that she’s always been his one, true love. But her feelings were never the same.
Something that surprised me about this show (because I’d apparently forgotten…) was the sheer number of social issues they ambitiously try to address during the course of the show; everything from feminism, racism and, classism, a little bit of LGBTQ, even saving/preserving the environment. All of it was handled fairly well and in a positive light, I think, trying to teach a lot of valuable moral and ethical lessons.
It’s certainly a TV show I enjoy and would happily recommend to others, especially if you want a show that’s relatively up-beat in spite of some of its more serious undertones on issues. Just make sure you have some time to invest in it, because it’s a pretty long journey!