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Northern Exposure is an American comedy-drama Northern television series about the eccentric residents of a fictional small town in Alaska, that ran on CBS from 1990 to 1995, with a total of 110 episodes. It received a total of 57 award nominations during its five-year run and won 27, including the 1992 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, two additional Primetime Emmy Awards, four Creative Arts Emmy Awards, and two Golden Globes.[1] Critic John Leonard called Northern Exposure "the best of the best television in the past 10 years".

Northern Exposure
Northern Exposure-Intertitle.jpg
GenreComedy-drama
Created byJoshua Brand
John Falsey
StarringRob Morrow
Barry Corbin
Janine Turner
John Cullum
Darren E. Burrows
John Corbett
Cynthia Geary
Elaine Miles
Peg Phillips
Paul Provenza (1994–95)
Teri Polo (1994–95)
Theme music composerDavid Schwartz
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes110 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)1990–93: Joshua Brand and John Falsey
1994–95: David Chase, Diane Frolov, and Andrew Schneider
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running timeApprox 45 minutes per episode
Production company(s)Cine-Nevada Productions (1990)
Finnegan-Pinchuk Productions (1991-1995)
Falahey/Austin Street Productions (1991-1992)
Brand/Falsey Productions (1992-1995)
Universal Television
DistributorNBCUniversal Television Distribution
Release
Original networkCBS
Original releaseJuly 12, 1990 (1990-07-12) – July 26, 1995 (1995-07-26)

Contents

HistoryEdit

The series was created by Joshua Brand and John Falsey, who also created the award-winning shows St. Elsewhere and I'll Fly Away. The show started as an eight-episode summer midseason replacement series on CBS in 1990.[2][3] It returned for seven more episodes in spring 1991, then became a regular part of the network's schedule in 1991–1992. It ranked among the top 10 viewed by 18- to 49-year-olds,[4] and was part of the network's 1992–1993 and 1993–1994 schedules. Its last season, 1994–1995, included a gap during the May 1995 sweeps when CBS broadcast other programming. "The show had a lot of life in it, and the move (Wednesday at 10pm) killed it," says executive producer Andrew Schneider. "This piddling out is sad."[5]

Rob Morrow (Joel Fleischman) and his representatives spent much of Seasons 4 and 5 lobbying for an improved contract,[6] and intermittently threatened to leave the show. The producers responded by reducing Fleischman's role in the storylines, and introducing characters such as Mike Monroe (season 4) and Dr. Phil Capra (season 6) to partially compensate for the absence of Morrow.

PremiseEdit

New York City native Joel Fleischman is a fish out of water adjusting to Alaska. A recently graduated physician, Fleischman is set to practice in Anchorage for several years to repay the state of Alaska for underwriting his medical education. However, much to his chagrin, he is assigned to the much smaller, remote, fictional town of Cicely, which is in need of a general practitioner.

Cast and charactersEdit

 
Cynthia Geary, Rob Morrow, and Janine Turner at the 1993 Emmy Awards
 
Peg Phillips and Barry Corbin at the 1993 Emmy Awards
  • Joel Fleischman (Rob Morrow) is a neurotic young Jewish physician from New York City. Fresh out of family medicine residency, he is bound to practice medicine for four years in Alaska according to the terms of a student loan underwritten by the state. Expecting to work in a relatively large, modern hospital in Anchorage, he is unexpectedly reassigned to the small town of Cicely, where he is a proverbial fish out of water. His struggles to adjust to his very unfamiliar new environment drive the plot in many episodes, especially in the early seasons. Morrow left the show midway through its final season due to a contract dispute. His character's departure was handled by having him "go native", abandoning Cicely for a remote fishing village and embracing the wilderness in a search for spiritual enlightenment.[7]
  • Maurice Minnifield (Barry Corbin) is a multi-millionaire businessman, fighter pilot and celebrated astronaut who moved to the area decades before upon retiring from the military. Maurice owns Cicely's newspaper and radio station (KBHR 570 AM) and 15,000 acres (61 km2) of land near the town which he hopes to develop into the "Alaskan Riviera". It is Maurice who arranged to bring Joel to the town, which previously did not have a physician. He can be pompous, overbearing and openly bigoted, leading to conflicts with other residents, such as the gay couple Ron and Eric. Despite his gruff demeanor, Maurice can also be generous, and he aids almost every other major character in some way during the show's run. He brings the much younger Shelly Tambo to Cicely, but it is his best friend Holling Vincoeur who wins her heart.
  • Maggie O'Connell (Janine Turner) is a tomboy-ish Grosse Pointe debutante turned Alaska bush pilot. Maggie and Joel quickly develop a love-hate relationship, with their opposing views on most subjects coupled with unacknowledged attraction resulting in sexual tension during the series' early seasons. They become romantically involved later in the show's run, and it is their breakup that is the impetus for Joel to leave Cicely during the last season. A running theme through the series is that all of Maggie's romantic partners die strange deaths, leading her to believe that she suffers from an "O'Connell Curse". The character of Maggie was inspired by the real-life aviator Norah O'Neill, who wrote the book Flying Tigress, about her experiences flying in the Alaskan bush in the 1970s.[citation needed]
  • Holling Vincoeur (John Cullum) is the Canadian-born sexagenarian owner and operator of The Brick, a popular local bar and restaurant. He and Maurice are old friends, though their relationship was strained at one time by their mutual romantic interest in Shelly Tambo, whom Holling ends up marrying. Though at least forty years older than Shelly, he looks much younger than his age, and he fears that he will eventually outlive her since most men in his family live well past 100 and spend their final years as heartbroken widowers.
  • Shelly Tambo (Cynthia Geary) is another Canadian expatriate and former Miss Northwest Passage. She was brought to Cicely by Maurice, who had hoped to marry her. Instead, she chose Holling and became a waitress at The Brick. Though seemingly naive and flighty, she regularly shows flashes of unexpected wisdom. The character was planned to be of Native American descent until Geary was selected for the role.[8]
  • Chris Stevens (John Corbett) is a philosophical ex-convict who works as the disc jockey at KBHR 570 AM. Between songs, Chris offers comments on events in Cicely and on more intellectual and controversial subjects, often leading to conflict with station owner Maurice Minnifield, who fires and rehires him several times during the series run. Chris is also a non-denominational clergyman and occasionally officiates at weddings.
  • Ed Chigliak (Darren E. Burrows) is a mild-mannered, half-native Alaskan foundling raised by local Tlingits. Ed does odd jobs for Maurice and works part-time at the local general store. He is a film buff and would-be movie director.
  • Ruth-Anne Miller (Peg Phillips) is the elderly and level-headed owner of the local general store and a 30-year resident of Cicely. A widow, Ruth-Anne lives alone until late in the series, when she becomes involved with Walt Kupfer (Moultrie Patten), a fur trapper and retired stockbroker. She too is a film buff.
  • Marilyn Whirlwind (Elaine Miles) is Joel's remarkably patient Native Alaskan receptionist. Her few words and calm demeanor are a strong contrast to her employer's loquaciousness and high-strung temperament.

In the show's last season, two new characters were introduced to try to fill the void left by Morrow's departure:

  • Phil Capra (Paul Provenza), a doctor from Los Angeles who is recruited as Joel's replacement after Joel takes to the wilderness.
  • Michelle Schowdowski Capra (Teri Polo), Phil's wife. She also works as a reporter for a newspaper owned by Maurice.

Major recurring characters include Apesanahkwat as Lester Haines (a native millionaire), Anthony Edwards as Mike Monroe (a severe allergy sufferer and ecological activist), Richard Cummings Jr. as Bernard Stevens (Chris's African American half-brother and "spiritual doppelgänger"), Graham Greene as Leonard (the local shaman), Diane Delano as Officer Barbara Semanski (and Maurice's love interest), Adam Arkin as mysterious, obnoxious master chef Adam, and Valerie Mahaffey as his hypochondriac and very wealthy wife Eve; Mahaffey was the only actor from the series to win an Emmy Award.[1]

ProductionEdit

Although the town of Cicely is widely thought to be patterned after the real town of Talkeetna, Alaska,[9][10] the main street of Cicely and the filming location was that of Roslyn, Washington, located in the Cascade Mountains. "Northern Exposure II" (the main production facility) was located in Redmond, Washington, in what is now the headquarters of Genie Industries, behind a business park.

According to The Northern Exposure Book, the moose in the opening titles was named Mort and was provided by Washington State University, where he was part of a captive herd. To film the opening sequence, the crew fenced off Roslyn, set Mort loose, and lured him around with food.[11]

EpisodesEdit

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedNielsen ratings[12]
First airedLast airedRankRating
18July 12, 1990 (1990-07-12)August 30, 1990 (1990-08-30)N/AN/A
27April 8, 1991 (1991-04-08)May 20, 1991 (1991-05-20)N/AN/A
323September 23, 1991 (1991-09-23)May 18, 1992 (1992-05-18)1615.5
425September 28, 1992 (1992-09-28)May 24, 1993 (1993-05-24)1115.2
524September 20, 1993 (1993-09-20)May 23, 1994 (1994-05-23)1414.4
623September 19, 1994 (1994-09-19)July 26, 1995 (1995-07-26)N/AN/A

Notable episodes in the series include the pilot (nominated for an Emmy for "Outstanding Writing"[1]), the third season's last episode, "Cicely" (which won a Peabody Award,[13] three Creative Arts Emmy Awards, and a Directors Guild of America Award), and the fifth-season episode "I Feel the Earth Move", which featured the second same-sex marriage story arc on U.S. prime-time television.[14] (Fox's Roc aired the first U.S. prime time television episode depicting a same-sex marriage, "Can't Help Loving That Man", on October 20, 1991.)

ReceptionEdit

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the first season of Northern Exposure has a score of 100% based on six reviews, with an average rating of 7.0/10.[15] On Metacritic, which uses a weighted score, the first season is rated 80 based on seven reviews,[16] indicating "generally favorable reviews," while the second season received an 83 based on nine,[17] indicating "universal acclaim".

Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker gave the first episode a B+, writing that the show “may well prove to be summer television’s most likably eccentric series”.[18]

RatingsEdit

AccoladesEdit

Over the course of Northern Exposure's run, the series was nominated for over fifty Emmy Awards and multiple Golden Globe awards. The series won a pair of consecutive Peabody Awards: in 1991–92 for the show's "depict[ion] in a comedic and often poetic way, [of] the cultural clash between a transplanted New York City doctor and the townspeople of fictional Cicely, Alaska"[13] and its stories of "people of different backgrounds and experiences" clashing but who ultimately "strive to accept their differences and co-exist".[13]

The show's other awards include:

NominationsEdit

Emmy Award:

  • 1994 – 3 Nominations, 1 win
  • 1993 – 16 Nominations
  • 1992 – 16 Nominations, 6 wins
  • 1991 – 3 Nominations

Golden Globe:

  • 1994 – 3 Nominations
  • 1993 – 4 Nominations, 1 win
  • 1992 – 3 Nominations, 1 win

Additional awards and nominationsEdit

1995
  • American Cinema Editors – Eddie nomination for Best Edited One-Hour Series for Television – Briana London – for episode "Lovers and Madmen"
  • Environmental Media Awards, USA – Award for Ongoing Commitment – Josh Brand and John Falsey
  • Screen Actors Guild Awards – Nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
1994
  • BMI TV Music Award: Northern Exposure – David Schwartz
  • Casting Society of America, USA – Artios nomination for Best Casting for TV, Dramatic Episodic – Megan Branman
1993
  • American Cinema Editors – Eddie nomination for Best Edited One-Hour Series for Television – Thomas R. Moore– for episode "Cicely"
  • American Society of Cinematographers, USA – ASC Award nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Regular Series – Frank Prinzi
  • BMI TV Music Award: Northern Exposure – David Schwartz
  • Casting Society of America, USA – Artios nomination for Best Casting for TV, Dramatic Episodic – Megan Branman
  • Directors Guild of America Award – Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Shows – Night – for episode "Cicely"
    • Robert Loeser (second assistant director) (plaque)
    • Patrick McKee (first assistant director) (plaque)
    • Jack Terry (II) (unit production manager) (plaque)
    • Robert C. Thompson
  • Directors Guild Award – Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Shows – Night – For episode "Kaddish for Uncle Manny"
    • Michael Lange
  • Electronic Media Critics Poll – Best Television Series
  • Environmental Media Awards, USA – EMA Award TV Drama – for episode "Survival of the Species"
  • Retirement Research Foundation, USA – Wise Owl Award – Honorable Mention Television and Theatrical Film Fiction – Joshua Brand (executive) John Falsey (executive) – for episode "Three Amigos"
1992
  • BMI TV Music Award: Northern Exposure – David Schwartz
  • Casting Society of America, USA – Artios for Best Casting for TV, Dramatic Episodic – Megan Branman and Patricia Carnes Kalles
  • Electronic Media Critics Poll – Best Television Series
  • Grammy Award Nomination: Northern Exposure Theme – David Schwartz
  • Peabody Award – Presented to Falsey-Austin Street Productions for Northern Exposure, for presenting episodic drama on television with intelligence, sensitivity and humor.
  • PGA Golden Laurel Awards – Television Producer of the Year Award – Joshua Brand and John Falsey
  • Retirement Research Foundation, USA – Wise Owl Award – Honorable Mention Television and Theatrical Film Fiction – Joshua Brand (executive), John Falsey (executive) – for episode "A Hunting We Will Go"
  • Television Critics Association – Program of the Year
  • Viewers for Quality Television – John Cullum, Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
  • Viewers for Quality Television – Adam Arkin, Best Specialty Player
  • Young Artist Awards – nomination for Best Young Actor Guest-Starring or Recurring Role in a TV Series – Grant Gelt, for episode "Goodbye to All That"
1991
  • Casting Society of America, USA – Artios win for Best Casting for TV, Dramatic Pilot – Megan Branman, Patricia Carnes Kalles and Lynn Kressel
  • Casting Society of America, USA – Artios nomination for Best Casting for TV, Dramatic Episodic – Megan Branman and Patricia Carnes Kalles
  • Electronic Media Critics Poll – Best Television Series

SoundtracksEdit

Northern Exposure: Music From The Television Series (USA, original soundtrack, 1992)
MCA Records, Inc. MCAD-10685[20]

  1. "Theme from Northern Exposure" – David Schwartz (Pilot, Kodiak)
  2. "Jolie Louise" – Daniel Lanois (Pilot, The Body in Question, Old Tree)
  3. "Hip Hug-Her" – Booker T. and the MG's (Animals R Us; My Mother, My Sister)
  4. "At Last" – Etta James [Slow Dance]
  5. "Everybody Be Yoself" – Chic Street Man (Spring Break)
  6. "Alaskan Nights" – David Schwartz (It Happened in Juneau, Our Tribe)
  7. "Don Quichotte" – Magazine 60 (Jules et Joel)
  8. "When I Grow Too Old to Dream" – Nat 'King' Cole and His Trio (The Big Kiss)
  9. "Emabhaceni" – Miriam Makeba (Roots)
  10. "Gimme Three Steps" – Lynyrd Skynyrd (My Mother, My Sister)
  11. "Bailero" from Chants d'Auvergne – F. VonStade, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Antonio de Almeda, conductor (Wake-Up Call)
  12. David Schwartz Medley:
"A Funeral in My Brain" (Things Become Extinct, Our Tribe, Ill Wind,...)
"Woody the Indian" (Sex, Lies, and Ed's Tape)
"The Tellakutans" (Seoul Mates, The Body in Question)

More Music From Northern Exposure (USA, 1994)
MCA Records, Inc. MCAD-11077

  1. Ojibway Square Dance (Love Song) – Georgia Wettlin-Larsen
  2. Theme from Northern Exposure – David Schwartz
  3. Stir It Up – Johnny Nash
  4. Mambo Baby – Ruth Brown
  5. Someone Loves You – Simon Bonney
  6. The Ladder – David Schwartz
  7. If You Take Me Back – Big Joe & His Washboard Band
  8. Un Marriage Casse (A Broken Marriage) – Basin Brothers
  9. There I Go Again – Vinx
  10. Lay My Love – Brian Eno/John Cale
  11. Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (and Dream Your Troubles Away) – Les Paul & Mary Ford
  12. Mooseburger Stomp – David Schwartz
  13. I May Want a Man – Joanne Shenandoah
  14. Our Town—played during the closing scene of the last episode (July 26, 1995) – Iris Dement

Ausgerechnet Alaska (German covers, 1992),[20]
Distributed by IDEAL Vertrieb, Wichmannstr. 4, 2000 Hamburg 52 (Out of Print)

  1. The Moose – Northern Exposure Theme-Mix
  2. The Kingsmen – Louie Louie
  3. Little MiltonStand by Me
  4. Lee Dorsey – Ya Ya
  5. Billy Stewart – Summertime
  6. Little RichardGood Golly Miss Molly
  7. Coasters – Little Egypt
  8. The Drifters – On Broadway
  9. Dolly Parton – It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels
  10. Guy Mitchell – Singing The Blues
  11. Patsy Cline – Crazy
  12. Paul AnkaMy Way
  13. The Marcels – Blue Moon
  14. Showaddywaddy – Who Put The Bomp
  15. Trini Lopez – This Is Your Land
  16. Jerry ButlerMoon River
  17. Andy WilliamsLove Is a Many-Splendored Thing

DVD releasesEdit

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has released all six seasons on DVD in Regions 1, 2 and 4. The Region 1 DVD releases have caused controversy among the show's fans due to their high prices and the changes to the soundtrack introduced in order to lower their costs.[21] The release of Season 1 contained the original music, but retailed for $60 due to the cost of music licensing. Subsequent seasons replaced most of the music with generic elevator-style music, resulting in a lower-cost release. The first and second seasons were also re-released together in packaging that matches the third through sixth seasons.

DVD Name Ep # Release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete First Season 8 May 25, 2004 May 21, 2001 February 18, 2004
The Complete Second Season 7 November 30, 2004 May 9, 2005 July 13, 2005
The Complete Third Season 23 June 14, 2005 January 30, 2006 March 8, 2006
The Complete Fourth Season 25 March 28, 2006 July 31, 2006 September 20, 2006
The Complete Fifth Season 24 November 13, 2006 January 22, 2007 February 21, 2007
The Complete Sixth and Final Season 23 March 6, 2007 June 25, 2007 July 4, 2007
The Complete Series 110 November 13, 2007 October 8, 2007 November 11, 2009

Blu-Ray releasesEdit

On March 19th, 2018, Fabulous Films released the entire series on Blu-Ray in the UK. Unlike the DVD releases, all of the original music is intact.

Potential revivalEdit

In 2016, Darren Burrows and his production company, Film Farms, held a crowdfunding campaign to fund a development project with the goal of creating more episodes of Northern Exposure. The working title for this project is "Northern Exposure: Home Again" according to the "More Northern Exposure Now" website.[22] Despite not meeting the original $100,000 goal, Darren decided to continue forward with the project.[23]

On June 17, 2016, Film Farms announced on their Facebook page that writer David Assael had been hired to write for the project. He previously wrote several episodes of Northern Exposure, including "Russian Flu," "Spring Break," and "It Happened in Juneau," among others. Originally envisioned as a two-hour "visit to Cicely," a 10 episode format is currently being pitched for network, cable, or streaming venues.[24]

On November 20, 2018, it was reported that a revival series is in development at CBS, with Joshua Brand, John Falsey and Rob Morrow executive producing; Morrow would return as Dr. Joel Fleischman. John Corbett was named as producer but his appearance as performer was not confirmed.[25][26]

References and footnotesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Awards for Northern Exposure from IMDb
  2. ^ Producing Northern Exposure from the website for the book Two Aspirins and a Comedy (ISBN 1594511551)
  3. ^ Review/Television; As Networks Go Rural, CBS Goes a Bit Further, an April 1991 article in The New York Times
  4. ^ Mark Harris & Kelli Pryor (26 July 1991). "Total Exposure". Entertainment Weekly. (via Moosechick Notes, a fansite). Archived from the original on 21 May 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2009. The loyalty the show excites even reached into network offices. "Of course it will be back next September," said one senior CBS executive long before the series was renewed. "My God, there are people here who would start a hanging party if it weren't." When CBS, thirsting for younger viewers, brought Exposure back this spring, it became a top 10 hit among the coveted audience of 18 to 49 year-olds. In the 10 p.m. Monday time slot following Designing Women, the show is drawing its best ratings ever.
  5. ^ Fretts, Bruce; Snierson, Dan (June 2, 1995). "'Twas the Season". Entertainment Weekly.
  6. ^ Cerone, Daniel (July 2, 1992). "'Northern Exposure,' Star in Icy Dispute : Television: Holdout Rob Morrow is sued by Universal. He reportedly wants his $30,000-per-episode salary doubled". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ "Rob Morrow's long goodbye to Cicely".
  8. ^ "Interview to CYNTHIA GEARY". Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  9. ^ Talkeetna, Alaska from roadtripamerica.com
  10. ^ Fictional places we love: Cicely, Alaska, on 'Northern Exposure' from sfgate.com
  11. ^ The Northern Exposure Book. 1995.[page needed]. ISBN 0-8065-1623-2.
  12. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (Ninth Edition). Ballantine Books. p. 1693. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
  13. ^ a b c "Peabody Awards won by Brand-Falsey Productions". The Peabody Board at the University of Georgia. Archived from the original on 2012-02-18.
  14. ^ Christine Scodari. "Northern Exposure: U.S. Dramedy". Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved July 21, 2009.
  15. ^ "Northern Exposure: Season 1 (1990)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  16. ^ "NORTHERN EXPOSURE : SEASON 1". Metacritic. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  17. ^ "NORTHERN EXPOSURE : SEASON 2". Metacritic. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  18. ^ Stransky, Tanner (July 12, 2010). "20 Years Ago: The premiere of 'Northern Exposure'". ew.com. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  19. ^ Du Brow, Rick (January 14, 1995). "CBS Moves 'Exposure' Out Into the Cold : Commentary: The switch to Wednesday night has been a disaster for the gentle series". Los Angeles Times.
  20. ^ a b "Frequently Asked Questions List for "Northern Exposure"". www.stanford.edu. Sharon Bond, Jason Cowart. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  21. ^ Copyrights Keep TV Shows off DVD, a 2005 Wired article
  22. ^ ""More Northern Exposure Now"". Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  23. ^ ""More Northern Exposure Now Updates"". Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  24. ^ ""Film Farms Facebook page"". Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  25. ^ Variety.com, 20 November 2018
  26. ^ The Hollywood Reporter, 20 November 2018

External linksEdit