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DVD Review: Northern Exposure - The Complete Third Season

Northern Exposure is a TV series about a little community called Cicely up in the beautiful state of Alaska. It originally aired in 1990, and initially it focused on the central character of Joel Fleischman, played by Rob Morrow. Joel Fleischman just became a doctor and moved to the fictitious Alaskan town from some big city (New York, I think) in order to do his internship. Joel was a city guy all the way, so moving to a wilderness town wasn't at the top of his to-do list, but for some reason he had to. Sorry, I don't really don't remember the reason behind it. This was over 15 years ago, and even then it wasn't a show that I caught every week. The box set that I received for reviewing was of the third season, so that doesn't help to explain the beginnings either.

I think the appeal of this series was the whole fish-out-water thing mixed with a small, personal community that gave a feeling of closeness and comradery. At least, that's partly what I remember of the series. Like I said, it's been awhile, and unfortunately I just didn't get this feeling when I watched the third season. It felt very bland, and many of the other characters and their dramas seemed to take precedence over the main character of Fleischman. I can understand why, though. In any story based on culture-shock, eventually the culture settles in and the shock wears off. So the only thing to do after that is focus on the other characters. Sadly, these other characters were all so over-the-top that they felt more like caricatures than actual people, and their dopey little dramas didn't help to add any realism either.

Northern Exposure - The Complete Third Season The other star of this show, besides the actors, is the beautiful Alaskan scenery... although I seriously doubt the show was actually filmed in Alaska. I don't know if they just got some footage of Alaskan wilderness and then filmed with the actors in some Alaskan mock-up town, but it all looked pretty convincing. On that front, season three still succeeds, continuing to present the feeling of a small backwoods town with only one doctor. I took a trip Alaska once with my parents and sister back when I was in high school, and it sure was gorgeous, and very isolated. That is still one of the best vacations I have ever been on, so I can definitely understand the appeal of wanting to get away to that almost surreal, peaceful paradise.

Northern Exposure - The Complete Third Season I may have liked this set more if I also had recently watched season one and season two, so I could have gotten into the show from the beginning and gotten invested into all the characters, but just as a stand-alone, it didn't really do much for me. The box set contains three double-sided DVD's, each in it's own slim plastic case which all fit snuggly in the season three box. The DVD menu provides you with the ability to select specific episodes, and displayed on each episode's menu is the episode's title, its original air-date, and a little summary to help you remember what the episode's about, which is very handy and a nice touch. Then you can also select specific scenes to start from, just like in DVD movies. This set also contains some deleted and extended scenes.

So for a Northern Exposure fan, it's definitely a decent price for what you get. Oh yeah, here's all the episodes for Northern Exposure - The Complete Third Season:

  1. The Bumpy Road To Love
  2. Only You
  3. Oy, Wilderness
  4. Animals R Us
  5. 3.5 Jules et Joel
  6. The Body In Question
  7. Roots
  8. A-Hunting We Will Go
  9. Get Real
  10. Seoul Mates
  11. Dateline: Cicely
  12. Our Tribe
  13. Things Become Extinct
  14. Burning Down The House
  15. Democracy In America
  16. The Three Amigos
  17. Lost And Found
  18. My Mother, My Sister
  19. Wake-Up Call
  20. The Final Frontier
  21. It Happened In Juneau
  22. Our Wedding
  23. Cicely

Northern Exposure - The Complete Third Season is being released by Universal Home Video on DVD starting June 7, 2005. It stars Rob Morrow as Dr. Joel Fleischman, Barry Corbin as Maurice J. Minnifield, Janine Turner as Mary Margaret 'Maggie' O'Connell, John Cullum as Holling Gustaf Vincoeur, Darren E. Burrows as Edward 'Ed' Chigliak, John Corbett as Christopher 'Chris' Stevens, Cynthia Geary as Shelly Marie Tambo Vincoeur, Elaine Miles as Marilyn Whirlwind, and Peg Phillips as Ruth-Anne Miller. Also check out the official website.

Image Gallery: Northern Exposure - The Complete Third Season

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