Northern Exposure: Season 6
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Recipient of 39 Primetime Emmy nominations and winner of the Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe awards for Outstanding Drama Series, Northern Exposure comes to an offbeat and inspirational conclusion. For this final season, newcomer Dr. Phil Capra (Paul Provenza) joins Dr. Joel Fleischman (Primetime Emmy nominee Rob Morrow), Maggie (Primetime Emmy nominee Janine Turner), Chris (Primetime Emmy nominee John Corbett) and the rest of the quirky citizens of Cicely, Alaska. Digitally restored for optimum picture quality, this must-own five-disc set includes all 23 beloved episodes and over 40 minutes of never-before-seen deleted scenes. See the finale of this groundbreaking, heartwarming adventure that's as stunning as the Northern Lights themselves!
Note: Please select "More" option on disc 2 to view episodes 8&9.
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Midway through the season the show introduced the new town doctor , Phil Capra (Paul Provenza) and his wife Michelle (played by Teri Polo) who come to town after Dr. Fleischman heads even deeper into the wilderness. They were first introduced as wanting to be there after leaving LA, and when that did not seem to work, the writers had the characters having trouble adjusting to the town so they would hate it one episode and then seemed to kind of like it again in the next. I think the plan was to carry on the show without Rob Morrow, but as they were writing him out of the show and he essentially became a recurring character, they were trying to get any storyline to work (including a possible romance between Maggie and Chris that felt kind of forced), that the show ended up sputtering out.
One of the other reviewers compared it to MASH and I think even a comparison to ER can be made, where stars in ensemble cast shows were replaced and survived. But unlike ER where the show never centered around any particular character, the first two seasons of Northern Exposure were built around the fish-out-of-water aspect of the NY doctor in rural Alaska. Then it became how he was adjusting and growing into being a member of the quirky little town. And so Fleischman's exit from Northern Exposure was much more akin to what MASH would have been losing Hawkeye had Alan Alda decided to leave, which would have killed that show. The actual series finalie was a letdown because it seemed like just another episode (and even then Maggie never even appeared until the last couple minutes) until the very ending montage which did send the show out on a nice note. And luckily Universal actually paid for the rights to keep the song Our Town in there, because it would not have worked nearly as well as with dubbed over elevator music.
Obviously the music issue still rears its head in this season. Some, but not all, of the original songs are missing. So, if that bothers you from seasons 3-5, then it will bother you about this one as well. As far as DVD extras go, there are deleted scenes on each disc. About 40 minutes worth in all. No gag reels this time, and still no commentary tracks or behind the scenes material.
All in all I would characterize this season as good, but not great. Certainly not as good as the first few seasons. It has moments of quality, but was essentially lost trying to find its footing again after Morrow's departure until it because clear that a show without him was just never going to work. Unfortunately the show did not have the kind of ending that it really should have, but with that said I did really like Rob Morrow's final episode (although it would have been better having him interact with more of the town's characters even if just through dream sequences) and thought the way he returned to NY was very fitting for the show.
There were issues I would really have liked to see resolved, and resolution that was felt contrived by people behind the scenes who were probably upset or distracted. I was irritated by the addition of characters who didn't move the main story line along. It was worse than in the fifth season. This season felt like a bunch of side stories that would have been interesting to know but only after completing the main story. I was left feeling like the main story fell off the tracks and was only giving a half-hearted attempt to get back on-track.
Remember that I said I was moved by several scenes and enjoyed a few of the episodes? Those bits of video make the whole season worthwhile if you're a Northern Exposure fan. I suggest you identify the episodes you like after watching the whole season, and then skip over all the bad ones the next time you have an Alaskan marathon. That's what I plan to do! :)
Working and raising kids didn't leave much time for TV.
So now we enjoy all the folks in Cicily.
Worth the investment, a wonderful series.