Northern Exposure (1990–1995)

TV Series  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 11,177 users  
Reviews: 55 user | 29 critic

A newly graduated doctor is required to set up his practice in an eccentric Alaskan town.

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6   5   4   3   2   1  
1995   1994   1993   1992   1991   1990  
Won 2 Golden Globes. Another 25 wins & 89 nominations. See more awards »



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Series cast summary:
 Maurice J. Minnifield / ... (110 episodes, 1990-1995)
 Maggie O'Connell / ... (110 episodes, 1990-1995)
 Holling Vincoeur / ... (110 episodes, 1990-1995)
Darren E. Burrows ...
 Ed Chigliak / ... (110 episodes, 1990-1995)
 Chris Stevens / ... (110 episodes, 1990-1995)
 Shelly Marie Tambo / ... (110 episodes, 1990-1995)
 Marilyn Whirlwind / ... (110 episodes, 1990-1995)
Peg Phillips ...
 Ruth-Anne Miller / ... (107 episodes, 1990-1995)
 Dr. Joel Fleischman / ... (102 episodes, 1990-1995)
William J. White ...
 Dave the Cook (49 episodes, 1991-1994)


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. Written by Murray Chapman <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Fantasy


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Parents Guide:





| | | |

Release Date:

12 July 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ausgerechnet Alaska  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(110 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


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." See more »


[Chris muses and reads from "The Tempest", Act IV]
Chris Stevens: In dreams begin responsibilities, so wrote the poet. So it is perhaps. Could it be we take our dreams too lightly, those images from places unknown? Could they in fact be angels in flight, our souls aloft? You know, recent experiences have made yours truly take another pass through the metaphysical thickets. As unlikely as it may sound in this rational age, I emerged on the side of those that cannot help but put their faith in that which cannot ...
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Referenced in The Simpsons: New Kid on the Block (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

Not a dumbed down show
29 August 2003 | by (Milwaukee, WI) – See all my reviews

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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