‘Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman’ best show not on TV

If you’re looking for a slightly corny, mildly ridiculous, unbelievably romantic, morally uplifting television show, you probably won’t find one on this fall’s network lineup; the best one was canceled six years ago.

“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” is just the prescription you need. The six-season series debuted in 1993 and followed the challenges of Michaela Quinn, a doctor from Boston trying to make it in a man’s world. She left the East Coast, hoping to be accepted in the new town of Colorado Springs, Colo.

As it turned out, the men and women there were equally prejudicial, and she had a long battle ahead of her in order to prove her worth as a physician. Michaela’s medical tales are supplemented by the exploits of the colorful townspeople and the nearby Cheyenne Indians.

The tomahawk-throwing mountain man Byron Sully quickly becomes her main squeeze and her ally as she tries to instill new, liberal ideas in the residents of Colorado Springs. The townspeople are a close-minded lot, who are quick to judge and quick to shoot.

A main theme throughout the series is the acceptance of others. Michaela and Sully both work to create and maintain peace between the Cheyenne and the whites, as well as improve the living conditions of blacks, women, children and immigrants.

While Michaela and Sully always seem to be standing on an unshakably high moral ground, the other residents are more human. They’re wary and bent on survival, and they often leap to conclusions and judge others unfairly. I always hold out hope they will come to the right decision, and often they do after Michaela bullies them enough.

While she may always seem right to the viewers, Dr. Quinn can rarely please the residents of Colorado Springs. She loses patients due to lack of medical supplies on the frontier, compounding the residents’ mistrust of her. Even after she saves the town during an epidemic of influenza, many would rather have Jake the barber stitch up a wound.

Although it accurately portrays many aspects of life during the 1870s, “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” has some discrepancies. Colorado Springs was not technically founded at the time the series takes place, and Michaela’s horse runs away a lot.

It really interests me how Sully always manages to be lurking around Michaela whenever she needs his assistance. He’s supposed to be a trapper, yet he doesn’t seem to check his traps very often.

However, if Sully wasn’t always around, his courtship of Dr. Quinn couldn’t be a central plot device. Sometimes it’s almost painful to watch because it’s so awkward, but other times, it’s painfully sweet.

Even though it can be hokey at times, “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” makes us aware of how we treat others and is vastly entertaining. All six seasons are available on DVD.