Overall, this season of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman had a slightly sadder feel to it than the previous 4. The inevitable fate of the Native Americans was becoming more and more apparent, despite Sully's and Mike's best efforts. The focus of the show shifted from emphasizing Mike and Sully's relationship (which was always the reason I tuned in! What a strikingly beautiful pair they made!), and more to matters of the townsfolk. It continued to seem as though the people in town, nearly all of whom Mike and Sully considered to be their friends and many of whom Mike had saved on more than one occasion, were all just as ignorant, judgemental and even mean-spirited as they were in the Pilot episode. Episodes would end with the wrong-doers shame-faced and contrite, and in the next ep they were right back to doing the same things again. They never seemed to learn anything. I suppose it's portrayal of human behavior was one way the series was very realistic, but after 5 seasons it could be frustrating and unsatisfying to watch.
This season did have two of my favorite episodes, A Place To Die, which detailed the effects of a staph infection in Dr. Mike's clinic at a time when very little was known how to combat such things. (Long before real sterilization beyond hybolic acid was used and before antibiotics were discovered.) In the end Dr. Mike burned her clinic and everything in it to the ground and started fresh, but it also meant humbling herself before the slimy banker Preston A. Lodge for a loan(the same actor who played evil General Custer in previous seasons!)It began the onset of money problems that would plague the family the rest of the series.
The other ep I am particularly fond of in this season is The Body Electric, which featured a visit from author Walt Whitman. His homosexual lifestyle, considered radical if not downright perverted at that time in history, provided some of the most profound discussion topics in my household. (At one point, Sully tells Mike that the Cheyenne are familiar with "man-woman", as they are called, and "Don't treat them no different than anybody else." Enlightened way before their time, weren't they, these "savages". ) It was presented tastefully and discreetly while still getting the point across to its' family audience and the entire cast, crew, writers and producers of Dr. Quinn are to be applauded for their open mindedness without resorting to preaching.
Re-watching these dvds reminded me why I loved this series of the nineties and how much I wish there was something of equal quality today. The ensemble cast, lead by Seymour and Lando's sizzling chemistry, was superb. There were always a few over-the-top moments of trite sappiness (at least for me), but overall, it was a television series that inspired discussion, and a teaching/learning tool.
The only criticism I would offer in regards to the entire dvd set, and all of the Dr. Quinn seasons, are the price, which are high by boxed dvd sets, and the very low amount of extras included in the sets. (There's only one commentary in this season, by Toovey and Allen, and while charming, I would have preferred hearing from Lando and Seymour, or even some of the behind the scenes people, like the period costume designers, those Emmy-winning hair dressers, producer Beth Sullivan, or some of their prolific writers.) They've included biographies of the cast in all the sets, but they are always the same, with no differences. It's like, what's the point, you know? I've got them memorized by now.
Overall, an outstanding entertainment experience, and I can't wait for the release of the final season of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.