An excellent television
show which regrettably only ran for five season
s, from the years 1990
. A young doctor
from New York
, Joel Fleischman (Rob Morrow) attends Columbia med school, but doesn't have the cash to pay for it. He secures a loan from the state of Alaska, in exchange
for which the state gets from him several years of service
in (originally) Anchorage
. Unfortunately, when our young protagonist reaches Alaska
, he is informed that his services are not needed in the "big city". However, he will be put to work in a small town two hours outside of town, Cicely.
From this simple beginning, we travel with Joel for five years through his experiances in this small, artistic, eccentric, eclectic town. Most of those experiances revolve around the town's other citizens. We meet Maggie O' Connell (Janine Turner), the Michigan sweetheart turned bush pilot, Maurice Minnifield (Barry Corbin), the multimillionare ex-astronaut, Holling Vincoeur (John Cullum), the canuck barkeep, Shell Marie Tambo Vincoeur (Cynthia Geary), his (much younger) lover and wife, Ed Chigliak (Darren Burrows), the young movie maker-cum-shaman, Christopher Stevens (John Corbett), the ex-con radio DJ, Marilyn Whirlwind (Elain Miles), Joel's secretary and guide to the Indian world, and Ruth-Anne Miller (Peg Phillips), the wise old general store owner.
This show, created by Joshua Brand and Josh Falsey, was singularly great for many reasons. The actors blended wonderfully. Their characters fit their acting styles perfectly, and to see them move through a story each week was like watching graceful dancers on a stage. The writing, and the concepts in each story, did not talk down to its audience. The writers knew that each of us, as U.S. citizens had many experiances that we all had in common. The characters in this show were just like us, they talked about religion, politics, philosophy, sex, taxes, food, and life in general. They had foibles and hang ups, they worked through their problems, and there was never a moment when we didn't understand, to some degree, what they were going through. At the same time, there were many stories dealing with things outside of our experiance. Many times characters would have allegorical experiances happen to them, in "life", which we could only imagine in our own lives.
(Example: Maggie offers to host a passover for Joel. He feels uncomfortable with this, and they fight. Soon after, he goes fishing, and hooks a large fish. He stays on a dock for the night, fighting the fish. During the night, the fish begins puling so hard on the line that he's forced to jump in a small boat, and is pulled out onto the lake. The line goes slack, and amazingly, his rabbi from New York climbs into the boat. The rest of the episode (the part Joel is in, anyway) concerns Joel and his rabbi dealing with crises of faith within the belly of the giant fish which lays beneath the waters of the lake.)
In this way, both through regular conversation and advanced allegory, this show constantly dealt with every facet of the human experiance. This, in the end, is why the show was so successful, and still maintains a following to this day.
Also, as a note, the town the show was filmed in was a small town in Western Washington named Roslyn. The "founders" of Cicely, in the show's mythology, were a lesbian couple named Cicely and Roslyn. Moosefest is held in the town of Roslyn every June.
A&E shows reruns of Northern Exposure every weekday, twice a day, at 8am-9am and 2pm-3pm (EST).
NoEx Unofficial Fan site : http://www.gate.net/~kimi/
A&E's NoEx page : http://www.aande.com/tv/shows/nx/
NoEX Annual Convention : http://www.moosefest.com/default.htm
I'm my father, I'm my mother, I'm chipped beef on toast?
-Holling Vincoeur, in the episode "Mr. Sandman"