Whether it’s a snowy nude sprint down Main Street, the mysterious appearance of a long-lost relative, or the improbable death of yet another of Maggie’s boyfriends, life’s never dull in the remote hamlet of Cicely, Alaska.
Colorful characters and quirky plots propelled Northern Exposure into the hearts of millions of viewers, earning the CBS “dramedy” series seven Emmy awards between its 1990 debut and its demise six seasons later.In season 1, we meet Dr. Joel Fleischman (Rob Morrow), an urban New York yuppie who consents to four years of rural servitude after Alaska pays his medical-school tuition.
Joel’s fish-out-of-water adventures drive the show, but it’s the quirky ensemble of characters–Chris, the DJ/philosopher (John Corbett), Holling, the bartender (John Cullum), Maurice, the town patriarch (Barry Corbin), Ed, the filmmaker (Darren E. Burrows), and Maggie, the bush pilot (Janine Turner), among others–-that keeps the series consistently entertaining.
The town develops its own offbeat personality as well, a Mayberry-meets-Twin-Peaks blend of Native mysticism, Aurora Borealis-induced dreams, unlikely tales of long-lost family members, and rumors of a Bigfoot-like creature known simply as “Adam.”
Northern Exposure provides a utopian escape–a place where life is interesting but never dangerous, everyone’s insightful, the mystical becomes real, and nobody’s burdened with a mundane 9-to-6 desk job. Cicely is a delightful place to visit, even if it’s only for an hour at a time.
Character to watch: Rob Morrow as Joel Fleischman.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the series.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?