When Northern Exposure first aired on television in 1990, viewers were introduced to the small fictional town of Cicely, Alaska, and its quirky yet endearing citizens. During its run, Northern Exposure received critical acclaim, winning two Peabody Awards, seven Primetime Emmy Awards and two Golden Globes. Though the show was cancelled after six seasons, it has had a profound impact on contemporary television.
In Northern Exposure: A Cultural History, Michael Samuel revisits the cult television series and celebrates its legacy, from its surreal narrative to its diverse onscreen representations. Covering the show’s production history, characters, individual episodes, fan culture, and critical response, Samuel reveals Northern Exposure’s wide cultural impact during its time on air and ever since.
Complete with an exploration of the town where the series was shot and a comprehensive guide to all 110 episodes, Northern Exposure: A Cultural History is the perfect companion to this classic series. A fascinating and accessible retrospective, this book recalls a cultural moment in American television defined by a series that wasn’t afraid to push boundaries.
Michael Samuel is a lecturer in film and television studies at the University of Bristol. He has published widely in the areas of film, television, technology and video games in several books and peer-reviewed journals. He is the co-editor of a special edition of Critical Studies in Television dedicated to celebrating one hundred years of the BBC, as well as co-editor of Streaming and Screen Culture in the Asia-Pacific and True Detective: Critical Essays on the HBO Series.
Note to Reader
Prologue: On a Personal Note
Chapter 1: Roslyn
Chapter 2: Paging “Dr. Snow”: Joshua Brand, John Falsey, and The Making of Northern Exposure
Chapter 3: “The Paris Of The North”: The Characters, Setting And Stories
Chapter 4: From Critically Acclaimed to Canceled
Chapter 5: Cultural Legacy
Appendix A: Episode Summaries
Appendix B: Fan Survey
Appendix C: Books about Northern Exposure
Bibliography and Filmography
About the Author
Even non-fans of Northern Exposure will be enlightened by the cultural history of the series; extremely interesting read. The quotes listed for each episode makes for a more intimate read of what each episode was about. In short, all things related to Northern Exposure (but mostly unknown to most) will be found here.
Michael Samuel’s Northern Exposure: A Cultural History is just the type of book that you want it to be: Wry and comic when called for; seriously scholarly when necessary—just like Northern Exposure itself. Samuel’s tone is unique in academia: His highly personal introduction sets the tone of the book—starting off with a wonderfully poignant reminiscence that leads to a full-blown scholarly assessment of this very important series. The format of the book follows others in the series, introducing readers to the series’ production history; major characters; specific episodes; and ending with an assessment as to why Northern Exposure still matters. Samuel writes with a fascinating blend, a totally personal and fan-like approach that helps to make the critical theory in respect to the series all the more manageable for a general audience. In all, Northern Exposure is a welcome addition to the stunning collection of books put out by Rowman and Littlefield, each one an examination and a celebration of why television history matters.