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Northern Exposure HD online

Northern Exposure  HD online
Language: English
Category: TV Series / Comedy / Drama / Fantasy
Original Title: Northern Exposure
Duration: 1h
Video type: TV Series
Joel Fleishman is fresh out of medical college, and fresh out of luck. Failing to read the fine print in his scholarship conditions, he finds he has no choice but to move to the remote and somewhat eccentric town of Cicely, in the wilds of Alaska. Once there, he is welcomed by the peculiar locals who are not keen to see him go, most especially Maurice Minnifield, the ex-NASA astronaut. Despite Joel's adamant denials, one gets the impression that he enjoys life in Cicely more than he admits.


Series cast summary:
Barry Corbin Barry Corbin - Maurice J. Minnifield / - 110 episodes, 1990-1995
Janine Turner Janine Turner - Maggie O'Connell / - 110 episodes, 1990-1995
John Cullum John Cullum - Holling Vincoeur / - 110 episodes, 1990-1995
Darren E. Burrows Darren E. Burrows - Ed Chigliak / - 110 episodes, 1990-1995
John Corbett John Corbett - Chris Stevens / - 110 episodes, 1990-1995
Cynthia Geary Cynthia Geary - Shelly Marie Tambo / - 110 episodes, 1990-1995
Elaine Miles Elaine Miles - Marilyn Whirlwind / - 110 episodes, 1990-1995
Peg Phillips Peg Phillips - Ruth-Anne Miller / - 107 episodes, 1990-1995
Rob Morrow Rob Morrow - Dr. Joel Fleischman / - 102 episodes, 1990-1995
William J. White William J. White - Dave the Cook 49 episodes, 1991-1994

Elaine Miles won the part of Marilyn Whirlwind by accident. She accompanied her mother, Armenia Miles, who was auditioning for the part of Marilyn, and they cast Elaine instead.

The mural for Roslyn's Cafe in the opening credits is an actual cafe. The apostrophe and an S was added in since the show is supposed to take place in Cicely, Alaska. After the show was completed the apostrophe and the S was removed from the mural.

The series is set in the imaginary town of Cicely in Alaska, and it was shot in Roslyn, Washington. Characters named Roslyn and Cicely appear on the show as the founders of the town.

The fictional town of Cicely is based on Talkeetna, a small town 80 miles north of Anchorage by the Alaska rail.

Darren E. Burrows has light brown hair. He had to dye his hair black every two weeks during the show's run.

As an inside joke, some radio stations in Michigan and other snow-heavy states used to play the theme music from the show as a lead-in to announcing school closings and other snow related events.

Paul Provenza was originally hired to take over the role of Dr. Joel Fleischman after Rob Morrow left the show. The difference in his appearance was to be attributed to Fleischman getting a new haircut, which according to Janine Turner's character, Maggie O'Connell, "suited him". This idea was decided against, as not to alienate Morrow's fans. So Paul Provenza became a new doctor, Phillip Capra. The series only lasted eight more episodes after Morrow's departure.

Mother and daughter characters Mrs. Whirlwind and Marilyn Whirlwind are played by real-life mother and daughter Armenia Miles and Elaine Miles.

Jo Anderson, the woman who plays Roslyn in the Season 3 finale also makes an appearance as the traveling school teacher Jane Harris in Season 4 Episode 15.

During the early 1990s, creators Joshua Brand and John Falsey were working on two shows simultaneously: Northern Exposure, and the civil-rights-era family drama "I'll Fly Away." The two shows had writing and production offices in the same building, across the hall from each other. In the 2013 book Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad, David Chase (who was a writer and executive producer on "I'll Fly Away") talked about how much he had disliked the other Brand/Falsey show being made across the hall from his show: "The people who worked on Northern Exposure thought they were curing cancer and reinventing drama.... To me it was so precious, so self-congratulatory. It strained so hard for whimsy. We'd go to the Emmys every year and they'd get these awards and we'd get nothing. It wasn't that we really wanted these Emmys, but that show was being celebrated to the hilt and I felt it was a fraud at its core." But after both Brand and Falsey left "Northern Exposure," Chase took over, and he was its showrunner from late 1993 until the end of its run in 1995. Chase said that he "did it for the money."

A calendar for "Clicquot Club" ginger ale can be seen hanging in Dr. Fleischman's office in some of the episodes. The calendar features a caricature of a woman with a bundled baby on a bicycle, and the slogan "Refreshment Coming Your Way" appears next to it. The page of the calendar is stuck on January 1942. The ginger ale was sold from the 1920s until the 1960s when it went out of business.

Wendy Schaal, the actress who played Tammy (Shelley's mother) was born in 1954. While in the series, Tammy supposedly had Shelley at a young age, Cynthia Geary (the actress playing Shelley) was born in 1965 making the actresses have only an 11 year age difference.

John Cullum and Janine Turner appeared together in an episode of Quantum Leap, Season 2 EP 10 - Catch a Falling Star - May 21, 1979.

Wisconsin singer-songwriter Justin Vernon named his project "Bon Iver" after the episode where people wish themselves "bon hiver" (good winter) after the first snowfall. He refers several time to the series as his favourite tv show (he got his left arm tattooed) and he said that he cried for about four hours after the series ended.

Reviews: [25]

  • avatar


    The creators of Northern Exposure (NX) gave us a true viewing treat. While many shows tend to dumb down to the audience, NX asked you to wise up to it. With dialogue that in some cases you needed a dictionary for, you had a sense that this is how people should interact with one another. Although the characters were sometimes tough on each other, it was done lovingly. For example, Maurice and Joel never really liked each other, but would always be there to help each other out, out of respect. If only we lived in a world like this. With all that said, you sensed these characters were for real. As if you had been transplanted into Cicely, Alaska.

    NX wasn't all mushy either. It picked its moments, and did so with perfect vigor. Intertwined were moments of humor, sometimes laugh out loud, sometimes feel-good with a smile. Joshua Brand and David Falsey found a way to work your emotions, tugging on them like a heartstring. You really fall in love with the characters. Never have I seen a show where you cared so much about what happened to them, with many elements of surprises. I found myself even weeping with Maurice (probably the coldest of the main characters) when he mourned his brother during a Kaddish that Joel was giving in remembrance to his Uncle Manny. You know why? Because you learned of his brother's passing and how it affected Maurice throughout the series. You really felt his pain. As well, I laughed out loud when Joel was being accused of being a Russian spy by the town when they were sick or when a recently squished Rick was brought in on the satellite that killed him during his funeral. I couldn't help but smile when after a picture was taken of everyone at Joel's house; they just scanned over it while Chris talked about being a community and what it means to be neighborly.

    This show really taught me a lot, too. I learned of Shittake mushrooms, good French wines, Ingmar Bergman, tribal customs and stories, and clarified butter. I began watching this show in my mid-twenties when it was aired on A&E. I was just discovering the world around me and became a major influence on how I think and act now. I never knew a show that did as much research on things as this. They dig out obscure information that is true. They writers really did their homework and delivered with results. I wish there could be more creative writing in an era where reality shows and asinine sitcoms dominate the airwaves.

    If you get the chance, do yourself a favor. Watch NX, and do it from the beginning. You'll be treated to hours of enjoyment. Especially Chris Steven's diatribes, which gave you moments of reflection. I have every episode on tape and watch it over and over. Everyone I've turned on to this show ends up loving it. One person even dreamt (in their sleep) about being there from time to time. I have shared that same experience. It usually comes when I haven't watched it in a while. I guess you can say I get withdrawal symptoms. Northern Exposure is addicting. A kind of drug I love being addicted to.
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    Northern Exposure has been one of very few shows that have brought both laughter and tears to my eyes within each and every episode. There has never been a series as consistent in warmth and love as this one. I'm not sure if the writers were the same on similar (later) series like "Key West" and "Going to Extremes" but these did not last as long and seem to be unavailable in syndication. Perhaps I lean toward enjoying eccentricity more than some, but throughout any given episode's "quirky" moments there will always be an undercurrent for the common man, and a generous one at that. Having been a college DJ myself, I particularly appreciate the thoughtful summaries at the conclusion of most episodes with Chris' venting his mellow thoughts to the cold wilds of the Cicely (sp?) night.

    If you don't have a fireplace, curl up with a Northern Exposure hour, and the effect will be much the same.
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    Northern Exposure is, without a doubt, one of the best television series of all time. Almost every episode was a wonderful creation that brought an unusual look at life into the homes of its viewers. The unique humor, sensitivity, and absolute professionalism of the creators, directors, and actors combined to make a show the likes of which will never be seen again. The show took an unusual approach in its presentation. Although Dr. Joel Fleishman was presented as the main character in the first episode, the show soon grew outside the main storyline of the New York doctor stuck working in a tiny, hole in the wall town in Alaska. Viewers got to know every character on the show, and as such, the premise was based more on the plot and storylines rather than the star quality of one or two actors. One week, we would see the ongoing love/hate relationship between Joel and Maggie, and the next week an episode about Ed finding his birth father would be presented. The characters themselves were brilliantly cast. The "louder" ones, like Maggie and Maurice sharply contrasted to others like Marilyn, who although a main character, made her impressive presence known more through silence and eye language than words. Few characters can make an audience laugh out loud with nothing but a facial expression (In some cases, even less!) The final season, when Joel is replaced by Dr. Capra, is substantially weaker than the previous seasons, except for the last two episodes, which are exceptional. Reruns continue on cable, and if you want to see a show that is still fresh and lively (as it will probably be for many years to come) see this one.
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    This show is so accurately written and filmed that all people can identify with the eclectic people of fictional Cicely, Alaska. There won't be any more intelligent and cinematic shows like this again! We are stuck watching bland sitcoms or turning off the TV(not a bad suggestion). I used to live in Alaska for 4yrs. and the people there are the most diverse and friendly that I have ever come across. Each episode draws us into the lives and problems and joys of the cast along with the beautiful scenery and Native Indian influences that are VERY accurate, such as the Tlingtit tribe and Athabaskans. A pure treasure that I will enjoy for years to come. Please watch and I dare you not to become attached to the quirky characters of "Northern Exposure". Joel, the displaced NY doctor who has to work off his college scholarship learns invaluable lessons of life from the wonderful people of Cicely. I wish they had made a lot more episodes! Brand and Falsey created a masterpiece that is still copied today but never come close to being as well written and filmed. I LOVE THIS SHOW!
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    No matter where you hear about this show it is obvious even here that people can only say good things about it. I decided to comment on it based on my belief that the series contained some of the greatest television writing that I can remember. The scripts were excellently compelling and intriguing. Just when you thought that you could label a character and prophesize what they were to do next their personalities were stretched. Over the course of the shows six seasons they characters acted out brilliantly by the likes of John Corbett, Janine Turner, and Rob Morrow created what I and many others would select as the best hour-long program to ever hit the tube.
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    I'm not much of a "TV series" watcher. Most of them are extremely shallow or violent or forced funny. The very few I have really enjoyed over the years are MASH, TAXI, and Northern Exposure. That's not many, in over 40 years of viewing.

    All 3 of the series I've enjoyed have common threads - they are set in unique locations, have a broad array of quirky characters, are extremely well-written and acted, are genuinely funny in just the right places, and most of all, leave you with a really genuine "message" about life and relationships. Without fail.

    Of the 3 I mention, Northern Exposure is the best, in my opinion. My favorite is the episode where Maggie and Maurice go half-and-half to buy and build a small airplane, have a falling out that ends up just perfect, and the final scene, with the airplane flying during the funeral was so emotional that it brings tears to my eyes every time I see it.

    Unfortunately, when Rob Morrow left the show, it was never the same. I suspect the same would have happened if any of the 5 or 6 key characters had departed. After 5 years it was probably time anyway. But it lives on via DVD sets.
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    I loved this show and it's quirky ensemble. The stories were clever and there will never be another show quite like this one. I loved each and everyone of the characters. I also loved how they used some of the psychological aspects of the episodes. My favorite epys include episodes involving Shelly during her pregnancy particularly one where she sees the phases of her daughters life as though seeing the future of her child. Another are the episodes with the Rabbi and Joel Fleischman; Maggie and the Bear who magically transform into a handsome man in order to be with her for a few days is one of the most romantic and classic Northern Exposure episodes. I miss this show, but thank God for reruns.
  • avatar

    Dead Samurai

    I am currently reviewing the episodes on Hallmark. This show is actually better the second time around! I had always believed that this was a 'smarter than the average view' kind of show as few people seemed to understand the subtle humor evoked from the characters and Alaskan setting. Alaska is, perhaps, the US of A's final frontier as we seem to have given up on our manned conquest of space. The Cold War was over, and we (at that time) seemed to harbor no serious threats - we embraced the Russians and Chinese, learned that we were a funny conglomerate of diverse identities making an attempt at universal peace and understanding. The characters were believable and the acting inspiring! After ten years I still feel the magic!

    This will be a classic - if only in TV/Psych 101....
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    For me, this series tied with the X-Files as 'Best of the Decade: 90's' and I miss it terribly (but I'm not willing to buy the DVD package that is out now -- I'm waiting for the owners to give this program the kind of presentation it deserves.)

    I don't mind paying for quality and this show had that in premise, setting, plotting, characterization, acting, and don't forget music -- the works. Humor, drama, introspection, surrealism, dream-scapes. Characters young and old, native and transplant, cynical and naive, material, mystical, and misanthrope -- and all (eventually) lovable.

    It made me care about real people I had already written off as too something -- too neurotic, too caustic, too silly. I helped me see the flaws in people I had been too easily persuaded by -- intellectuals, philosophers, and mystics, with clay feet in mud that I had never noticed.

    It made me want to fling pianos, and dance on my own grave. I can't wait to get it into my permanent collection.

    UPDATE: I did buy the DVDs, used, and I haven't been sorry. There are scenes where the generic music is SO WRONG -- in particular the Flying Man dancing with the scarf -- but even so, the quality of the material outweighs the problems with the package.
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    This series is by far the best series ever. It ignores bland stereotypes and sleezy "one-liners", it's true, it's real. Real emotion, real plot. Northern Exposure is a show that involves the thought process. It's about a doctor from New York trapped in a small Alaskan town called Cicely. But the show goes more into depth than just "a trapped doctor". We laugh and cry for Northern Exposure.
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    Northern Exposure was one of the best TV programs that I have ever seen. The humor, intellect, satire, and pathos present in the series and its success showed that neither sex nor violence was needed to please a "certain number" of viewers.

    Available on DVD, it is the first series that I have considered buying (I have the first 5 seasons), and expect that it will remain the only (American) series for quite a long time.

    We need MORE Northern Exposures (and similar quality programs) to make up for the fact that there is nearly NOTHING on commercial TV (non-cable, non-satellite: I don't subscribe to either) and only PBS offers any series (comedy, sit-com, drama, documentary, or otherwise) that is worth the time to view.
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    Seventeen years have passed since the quirky comedy-drama of "Northern Exposure" premiered and it seems to improve with age. Time will tell, but it may stand as one of the best, if not the best, shows television has ever seen.

    The show originally began as a fish out of water comedy about an acerbic New York doctor fresh out of school, forced to become the physician for the sleepy town of Cicely, Alaska that is full of a wide array of unique characters. The strengths of the show quickly came to the forefront as it became far more of an ensemble piece that easily blended small town reality with the fantastical, native spirituality with Jungian philosophy, and intelligent writing with strong performances.

    "Northern Exposure" was an Emmy and Peabody Award winning sleeper hit in its time that continues to gain a cult audience. The show's greatest achievements were always its sense of location and character development, even within frequent surreal circumstances, that hold together as a pure one of a kind gem.
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    I have begun to watch Northern Exposure two years ago and finally, I have watched all episodes. And at the end, I hoped there would be another season, and another and another. I wanted it not to end. But it ended.

    Imagine that you are away from home, from your family, from ones you loved and imagine that also you watch Northern Exposure. I can assure you that you will feel at home. You will breath home, you will breath a place called Cicely in your lungs.

    So, I watched this terrific show not so long ago, I might be "under influence" of it. But none of the shows I watched on TV or maybe silver screen was not even close to Northern Exposure. Because this show is not led by writers, it is led by its characters. In every episode, writers put something to the middle of the town, and we watch reaction of every character. Characters are built so realistically and humanly, you may think that they are not fictional at all. Actually, I think they are not fictional. They are us. They are so human. They react as ordinary people react, this is the feature that makes Northern Exposure the best thing on TV: There is nothing supernatural, there is nothing extraordinary, everything in this show is so human.

    I want to tell more about Northern Exposure but it would spoil everything, so I shut my mouth or pull my hands from keyboard. I recommend to all of the people to watch Northern Exposure, especially when they feel lonely.
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    A one-of-a-kind experience. To listen to Chris In The Morning and watch what Ed Chigliak is up to. To gaze into Maggies incredible brown eyes and hear her oh-so melodious voice.

    An experience not to be missed. There are not even re-runs now. I would certainly buy any cds available as soon as I can find any! And the music! Wow. Awesome. Rob, why did you feel you had to go? That show was such a wonderful inspiration, and a near cure-all for the reality over-dosed. Heh.

    Warmest regards to you all in Alaska. And here is a big ripe tomato to celebrate Columbus day right.
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    Time has shown just how intelligent, funny and sensitive NX was. It never got too sentimental and i suppose it helped that it expressed a liberal agenda. I actual quote an episode in history lectures where a new discovery causes the town to debate the philosophical question of what is truth and what is fact in history. The dialogue is natural yet intelligent and funny and like many episodes serious questions are debated but in an entertaining way. And that was its success, it was always entertaining and the makers never lost sight that it was a TV show.

    did it have any bad points? well some episodes were not as good as others simply because some were classics, my favourite were Maurice's feast and that bottle of wine and Napolion.

    It is not repeated on UK digital networks but i hope it will, if you get the box set take your time and do one episode a week there is a lot to digest and it is nice to wait.
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    There has never been nothing quite like Northern Exposure on television before or since. It had a style,pace and mood all of its own. Its whimsical characters and unique story lines were a breath of fresh air when it debuted in 1990. However, the show was unable to sustain its sense of wonder throughout its entire run and by the forth season it seemed to run out of steam and what once seemed refreshingly eccentric now seemed well ,simply strange. At its best it had a cinematic flair and a sweetness to it that was totally disarming. Rob Morrow played Dr.Joel Fleischman with such tenacity and vigor but the rest of the cast was equally compelling. It always reminds me of the musical Brigadoon. The combination of clever writing,breathtaking scenery, surreal humor and superior acting made this show a jewel to be treasured.
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    I fell in love with this show while on holiday in the States in 1991 and then patiently waited for something like two years before it got a run in Australia. Curiously enough it kicked off in non-prime time for the first couple of seasons, from memory.

    The quirky story-lines, the unique characters, the wonderful dialogue, the breath-taking scenery all made this show (pardon the phrase) 'must-see TV'. A personal favourite was the bizarre exit of Maggie's pilot boyfriend. A low point was the reliance on the tired old stereotype of the neurotic, whining Jew. On the whole, excellent stuff.
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    Sadaron above the Gods

    Literate, quirky, endearing, filled to the brim w/ 'magical realism'. An artifact from the early '90's. All of those things are true.

    I got the 3rd season DVD, and a few things I noticed after watching this series for the first time in a decade or so: *The DVD doesn't have the top 40 hits that were on the series at the time. Royalties snafu. You get a cheaper DVD this way I suppose. But you do lose something.

    *It's right before we became swamped w/ cell phones and the Internet. The lack of both are very obvious. I think it's a welcome quality, too.

    *The characters are great-Ed, Maggie, the Doc, the DJ, Maurice, Ruth-Anne, Marion, even Adam. You don't run into such a unique variety of people on series TV much, and as well-written, too.

    *Joel gets on your nerves easily, sometimes it's like he's perennially new, always the Noo Yoiker outta his element. It did get contrived after awhile.

    *I never honestly bought Cynthia Geary falling for Holling, just because. The age-gap etc was too much. But that's okay both are decent performers and it works. Kind of.

    *The show could have ran longer.

    *It's rewarding and not afraid of wearing its heart on its sleeve. It holds up and I recommend watching it to anyone who is interested.

    **** outta ****
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    I, too, am interested in seeing this show again. I remember the situational comedy to be light hearted and down-to-earth. The only example I can offer is the episode where a recently redecorated and horrifically girly bathroom causes constipation in her spouse. I will always think of other's bowel movements before I make crazy changes to this sacred room. Thank you Northern Exposure. I also would like to see John Corbett in his earlier work. It's been awhile since I've seen a rerun, but I do recall that if you have cable, it might be viewable in the early afternoon on weekdays. How can we petition for a DVD box set release?
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    I was a late bloomer with this show. I didn't start watching it until it had already been taken off the air. A & E began to air it in the late 90's and i caught it in the middle of the 2nd season. Well, after 3 episodes i was hooked in a major way. I began recording them and i have the entire series on VHS. Still pretty good quality too. I loved the show. One of my dreams is to go to Alaska. I'd like to live there even so the show for me was like being able to escape. I married recently and was over at my mom's visiting and i found all my tapes, all 17 of them and i brought them home. For 3 days i have been catching up, and i have watched my favorite episode 3 times... "The Breaking of the Ice". One of the best shows to ever hit television, full of complex characters and one feminist who will drive you mad with her neurotic attitude. Chris is my favorite though, he's just awesome.
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    I tried watching this show when it first aired on CBS (I think). I couldn't get through one episode. Of course, I was young and busy with a short attention span. Anyway, I caught a rerun on my c-band satellite wild feed a couple of years after it left the air. To my amazement, I was obsessed! I couldn't believe what I was missing all of those years. I taped every episode on VHS, and every night when going to bed, I would put in a tape. I couldn't get enough of this show. The writing was intelligent, the actors were terrific, and the setting was magnificent. You cared about every single actor on the show, and what their day to day lives involved. There were no villains or bad guys to hate. It made you think. As others have stated before, I've often imagined living in Cicily with these people. I was in love with Maggie! She was the perfect woman. When Joel left the last year, it was still a good show, but I felt like my best friend had died. At this point, the other actors started to change to me, started to normalize to an extent. Kinda took the wind out of the show. I've often asked myself, which one could have left and not made the show less inspiring............and I couldn't think of one. They all fit together perfectly. In a way, I'm glad I didn't get into it when it was on the air. I would have gone nuts waiting a week for the next episode. Now, I can sit down in my recliner, and watch the whole series in one take. Favorite episode.......would have to be when Maggie's house burns down, and Chris wants to "fling" a cow. Maggie looks so cute in the clothes the townspeople gave her! LOL! And no, there will never be another TV show like NX.
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    I have only begun to watch this show recently, as a local PBS station has been showing reruns of it. The good news is that because it is on PBS, I get to see it without commercial breaks.

    The show is original and quirky and, as a result, interesting. This is not your standard run-of-the-mill show with cardboard characters and stereotypical plots. That in itself is a great achievement. While I am not enthralled with the show, as some people are, I respect it for its originality and I do enjoy watching it.

    It is both a serious comedy and a light-hearted drama. The show made more of an attempt at striving for a higher common ground than most shows, and that is about as high a compliment as I can give any show. I would recommend Northern Exposure to anyone who is tired of the standard, typical show that permeates mainstream TV.
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    I have just watched an episode on DVD for the first time since the series left the network. It reminded me why I liked the series so much - they had some serious topics presented in such a way to be funny - yet informative.

    And talk about characters! One poster couldn't stand Rob Morrow - I don't understand that - each character was a bit eccentric yet contributes so much to the series - I would say that like the strength of Seinfeld combining all these characters brought a synergy and power to the series.

    The episode I just watched - Rob Morrow's character is lamenting the fact that there are so few Jews where he lives - feeling like he was alone. In the same episode Ed Chugliak is filming another character "last of his breed" - an Indian knowing how to make flutes passed down from generation to generation - now the last. And finally Holling Vincouer is contemplating death with a mid life crisis - It was brilliant writing dealing with serious subjects in a humorous and lighthearted way. Too bad there aren't more shows of this caliber.
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    god, i miss that show. being native, it made me feel all homey and warm the way the natives and the whites melded together to create a "whole".

    it was well written and the story line was such that it took intelligence to follow the plot.

    there will never be another northern exposure. it broke the mold.

    each character drew you into the plot.

    little dramas and life happenings kept it interesting. it got bad at the end, but death isn't pretty.

    i guess the writers just burned out.

    i wish it was in syndication.
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    I know there are episodes missing from the first and second DVDs that I recently purchased. The first indication is in the third season when Bernard comes to Cicily and he greets Chris like they already know one another and also know about their father. But there was an earlier episode that wasn't included on the DVD where they meet and compare photos of Dad. Also, there is the episode when Adam appears and kidnaps Joel, but there was an earlier episode that I remember, but also isn't included on the DVD. Why is that??? I also know that some of the music that I remember from the series has been left out. This is disappointing. All that being said, as I watch this series that I loved so much more than ten years ago, I remember why it was so good. The characters, the writing, the acting--it is all so great, one of the all-time best.