'Dr. Quinn': a terminal case of goofy


They should have just called it "Martha Welby, M.D."

Because in "Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman," Jane Seymour is your basic whirling medical dervish and miracle worker. She's Dr. Michaela "Mike" Quinn, a Welbyesque wonder and a politically correct frontier feminist to boot.

And, yes, you'd better pass that rubber brick real fast. I feel like hurling.

"Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman" debuts with a two-hour episode at tonight on WBAL (Channel 11) before moving into its regular weekly time slot at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Originally set for the CBS fall schedule, the series was converted into a midseason replacement.

Some replacement. We lose "Brooklyn Bridge," we get "Dr. Quinn." Whoopee.

"Turgid" is about the most favorable description I can give the "Medicine Woman" premiere.

So if you're in a New Year's Day gridiron state of mind anyway, I'd stick with the Orange Bowl or Sugar Bowl. But if you must channel surf on out to the Old West with Jane Seymour, here's what you'll find:

A crusading Doc Quinn ripping down a "No Dogs or Indians" sign at the general store.

Doc Quinn renting a cheap cabin from a hunky, caramel-haired Native American who seems to be from the long-lost Malibu tribe.

Doc Quinn making a street-side arrhythmia diagnosis and then rushing off to perform a quick Caesarean section.

Doc Quinn doing an emergency tracheotomy on an Indian chief who has been shot in the neck.

Doc Quinn curing a sexist blacksmith ("I don't wants no woman doctor!") of lumbago.

Doc Quinn treating a terminal, snake-bitten woman.

Doc Quinn curing the deafness of Horace the telegraph operator in a jiffy by extracting a big old lump of ear wax.

And the piece de resistance of Wild West health care -- Doc Quinn ingratiating herself with her jealous medical competitor, the town barber, by letting him needlessly pull one of her teeth.

"What you did took guts," says a gal pal of Doc Quinn's. "A man can't ignore that."

No, what that took was a goofy plot contrivance.

And what this man can't ignore is just how insufferably stupid "Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman" is. This Doc is DOA.

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