I've seen about a third of the episodes of this television show. It's quirky, as Iolanthe has posted, and that is certainly part of its charm for me. I may get around to owning all of the episodes, yet. At present, I have just three of them, given to me on VHS by my younger sister, who wanted to make her video library all DVD.
I have the first episode, with Joel coming to Cicely. Northern Exposure's television debut coincided roughly with my moving from Missouri to Arizona (a state I had never been to before, and where I knew absolutely no one) to accept a job as a wildlife biologist. It was a bit of a fish-out-of-water experience for me, as Alaska was for Dr. Joel Fleishman (spelled right?). I'd stopped watching TV as a habit sometime in my early teen years, and here I was trying to be part of a research crew that stayed in a somewhat primitive mountain camp for ten-day work weeks, where there was nothing to do after work but fix meals, read, and /or watch TV (I usually opted to read or go to my collection of arranged tree stumps to practice drumming on them). Most of the crew were addicted to watching TV; I was not, and my nonconformity in refusing to gather round in the main tent to watch TV with them was noted and perhaps even resented (we had a generator to provide power for early evening cooking and lights).
But I could make an exception at times for boycotting TV when Northern Exposure was on. The show made me laugh and think at unexpected moments. Something about it just worked for me. Sometimes I would miss episodes because I had had all I could take of being around my co-workers, too. I just mention this to explain why I didn't catch all the episodes when the show originally aired. There are still many episodes in the final two seasons that I haven't gotten around to seeing.
The other two episodes I have are "Cicely", about the town's founding, and "Northwest Passages", about Marilyn wanting to drive and Maggie turning 30 and Maurice wanting to write his autobiography. The show was surprisingly intimate on its own terms, and watching the show made me feel like I was a citizen of that place. My favorite episode is probably "Northern Lights", about the Japanese tourists coming to Cicely so they can copulate when the aurora borealis was happening, in belief that such timing would gain them intelligent offspring. Maybe it's because I like to see Maurice taken aback that no one wants to hear his self-congratulatory speeches; I don't know.
This is my first post in the TV Shows sub-forum, and it's because of the unusual vibe of this show that I've bothered to post in this part of the Watch. (I usually prefer PBS science, history, and news programs if I watch TV at all).
Rob Morrow's doctor may not have been every viewer's favorite character, but when he left the show lost its stand-in for the audience, and CBS switching the show's time slot from Mondays to Wednesdays caused a ratings free-fall for NX as well. And somehow the writing got less inspired by the sixth season, or so I've been told. But I'm glad this show happened, and it would be nice to one day visit Roslyn, Washington to see where it all occurred. And that's all I can think of to say about NX, for now.