After years of Northern Exposure deprivation due to Channel 4's disgracefully dilatory attitude towards acquiring repeat rights (no, I didn't have the foresight to hoard taped episodes like some people!), this excellent value boxed set was as welcome as a frosty glass of beer at the end of a long hot day. All I want now is the second and preferably the third and fourth seasons on video as well! To my mind, the series didn't really hit its stride until late in season 2, as the makers began to realise what they could get away with in terms of non-realistic or magical elememts to the plot - remember Chris flinging the piano in his catapult, the men of Cicely running naked through town, Shelley's singing disease, Maggie's dead boyfriend Rick coming back as a dog? If this video release continues, we have all these to look forward to.
Even Season 1, however, has considerable charm, and not having seen most of these since the first UK transmissions, it was a nostalgic experience for me as all these 'old friends' reappeared. Re-seeing the first appearances of characters like Holling and Maurice was a bit startling - nostalgia had mellowed their memories and I'd forgotten just how brooding and sinister Holling was, as well as what a racist blowhard Maurice was. Chris has less prominence in the show than he later came to have, apart from the final episode of Season 1, the rousing 'Aurora Borealis', which also features guest star Alan Arkin as Adam the psychopathic chef.
By the time Northern Exposure was cancelled, it was, in truth, looking a bit exhausted - certainly the episodes after Joel returned to New York were below par. So it's nice to return to the beginnig and remind yourself what was so appealing about this series in the first place. I see from the other reviews posted here that many viewers appear to be of like mind, so let's let Universal know - we want more!