Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman is an American western/drama series created by Beth Sullivan. Dr. Michaela Quinn, played by Jane Seymour, forced out of Boston by a closed-minded society, sets out west to Colorado where she establishes herself as doctor, advisor, and a stand-up citizen in this post-Civil War drama.
The show ran on CBS for six seasons, from January 1, 1993, to May 16, 1998. In total, 150 episodes were produced, plus two television movies which were made after the series' cancellation.
Dr. Quinn was best known for its large supporting cast and high concept storytelling. The series often used its semi-historical setting as a vehicle to address issues of gender and race within the community. Countless issues were addressed that were relevant to modern times, some of which were quite controversial. One controversial episode even took on homophobia when the famous poet Walt Whitman came to town. Religion played a somewhat minor role in the series but was also used to address certain issues and new ideas.
Jane Seymour was cast as Michaela Quinn at the last minute, after she was given the script to read the day before production was to begin on the pilot. She was instructed to read the script and make a decision whether or not to commit to the contract. Seymour is quoted as saying she was moved to tears by the script and the next day began fittings for costumes.
The pilot episode was shot in early 1992 and finally aired in a 2-hour special on January 1, 1993. CBS aired a second hour-long episode of Dr. Quinn the next night to grab the audience's attention. Expectations for the show were low due to its being aired alongside the Orange Bowl that year. Initially critics panned the series and predicted that it would be quickly cancelled. Therefore, the pilot served as a made for television movie that could either be developed into a series or stand alone as a single 2-hour movie. Ratings for the pilot and first episode were high and the show was immediately picked up for an entire season. Certain members of the pilot supporting cast were replaced.
The romance between Michaela and Sully was widely popular with audiences and can be attributed to Jane Seymour and Joe Lando's chemistry on screen. In the season 3 finale entitled "For Better or Worse", they were married in a special two-hour episode, which gained huge ratings and was highly publicized in magazines and on television. In season 4, Jane Seymour's actual pregnancy with husband James Keach was written into the show which resulted in another highly rated episode with the birth of Michaela and Sully's daughter, Katie.
The large supporting cast were all given the opportunity to develop their own characters and were often permitted to make suggestions and contribute ideas to the writers.
Dr. Quinn was one of the few dramatic shows to allow fans access to their filming sites at the Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, California. Fans were permitted to come and watch the filming of episodes each week. Members of the cast would often talk to their fans and sign autographs during breaks in filming and developed a unique bond with their primary fanbase. During the final season of the show's run, an official web site was established and is still active today. Two fans went on to create the "Dr. Quinn Times," a newsletter in which interviews with the cast, producers, directors, and technical specialists were conducted and distributed to fans twice each year.
Jane Seymour and Barbara Babcock were the only cast members to receive Emmy nominations for their roles during the series. Seymour was nominated several times during the series' run, while Babcock received a single nomination in 1995 for the episode entitled "Ladies' Night," in which Dorothy Jennings undergoes a mastectomy. The show did win many technical awards, as well as hair and make-up honors. Jane Seymour also won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Michaela Quinn in 1996.
Created by Beth Sullivan
Country of origin USA
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 150, plus 2 TV movies (List of episodes)
Running time 47 mins.
Original channel CBS
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Original run January 1, 1993 – May 16, 1998