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Northern Exposure - Season 6 - Complete  [DVD]
And so, the sun set...
show mores on Cicely, Alaska. While Northern Exposure somewhat jumped the moose in its last season, there are enough characteristically "weird, almost surreal" moments to make season 6 a nice place to revisit. The auspicious season opener, "Dinner at Seven Thirty," is a typically disarming and disorienting quirk fest that recasts the characters in a parallel New York universe. Dr. Joel Fleischman (Rob Morrow) is married to a high society (and high maintenance) Shelly (Cynthia Geary), Maggie (Janine Turner) is their au pair, Ed (Darrin E.Burrows) is an Armani clad corporate raider, Holling (John Cullum) is a Piano Man, Ruth-Anne (Peg Phillips) is the leader of an internal medicine group, Chris (John Corbett) is an inarticulate fashion photographer, and Maurice (Barry Corbin) is the luxury-highrise doorman. "I'd rather practice medicine in some hick rural outback than stay here another minute," Joel rebels, returning things to what passes for normal in Cicely. Another early gem is "The Robe," with guest star Charles Martin Smith (American Graffiti) as no less than the Devil who tries to corrupt Shelly. But then the series goes off the beaten path. Joel, following a bumpy courtship with Maggie, goes "Up River" to live in a remote fishing village (His final episode is the bittersweet, "The Quest," in which he departs for good for his "jeweled city"). Enter new doctor Phillip Capra (Paul Provenza) and his journalist wife, Michelle (Teri Polo), brie-eating yuppies from Los Angeles. Northern Exposure remained a fish-out-of-water comedy, but these two characters are as bland as tilapia. Though not nearly the hard cases that a resistant Joel was, they, too, succumb to Cicely's charms, and by series' end, Michelle is having hallucinatory forest chats with Joel's former New York rabbi. Happily, the rest of the characters are still good company. Between Ruth-Anne and trapper Walt (Moultrie Patten) and Maurice (Corbin) and Officer Barbara Semanski (Diane Delano), love really blossoms this season. But as Iris Dement sings in the heartbreaking lament, "Our Town," which ends this series on a lovely grace note (and is one of the few originally broadcast songs to survive the transition to DVD), "Nothing good ever lasts." Northern Exposure lasted six seasons, which is good enough. To paraphrase a postcard Joel sends to Maggie in "The Quest," Cicely is a state of mind, and thanks to DVD, there is no need to "kiss it goodbye." --Donald Liebensonshow less