Northern Exposure : Anything alike?

Anything alike?

Hi Fellow NX-lovers,

I've been a great fan of this show since it first appeared on the national TV of my country (Hungary), back in the 90s. Since then I've been watching it over and over (now in the undubbed version ofc). Last night I finished the series one more time, and decided to take a break - so when I 'come back' to this show again, it'll be familiar and new at the same time.

I love every character, and I totally agree with those who say this show doesn't dumb down its viewers. I quit watching cable TV about 10 years ago, simply because I don't like the stupidity effect some shows have. Don't get me wrong, I'm not judging or anything - it's just my personal choice not to watch the cable programme.

Anyway, I've been looking for other shows that have this 'NX-feel'. It's not the 'family genre' I'm looking for, but something that's intelligent and entertaining at the same time. While a new NX would be great :) I know it's just not out there. But there might be some alternatives.

Soooooo... I'm hoping there's some out there who found something that'd be a suitable alternative to this show.
But also, please feel free to share your ideas and preferences: if you are an NX-lover, what else do you like to watch? :)

Re: Anything alike?


Anyway, I've been looking for other shows that have this 'NX-feel'. It's not the 'family genre' I'm looking for, but something that's intelligent and entertaining at the same time. While a new NX would be great :) I know it's just not out there. But there might be some alternatives. - menyesg

Always good to hear from another fan, and I'm glad that NX needs no translation no matter where you are. (And your English is infinitely better than my Magyar, which is non-existent.)

One show that in many respects is very similar to NX is Doc Martin, which is a British show that began a few years ago and is still in production. It has a very similar "fish out of water" premise: Doctor Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes) is a brilliant London surgeon who develops hemophobia (fear of blood) and is forced to become a general practitioner in a small seaside village in Cornwall, where he has an on-again, off-again romance with the local teacher, Louisa Glasson (Caroline Catz). Martin is quite different from Joel, with his major trait being a stiffness and coldness that may be off-putting to some but is fascinating to others. Doc Martin's biggest failing is that although its premise is brilliant, it is also limited, which has made the last couple of seasons repetitive. But I love the first few seasons, and I think that if you love NX you will probably love Doc Martin too as it seems familiar but has its own distinct personality.

Otherwise, a number of shows have tried to capture NX's "quirkiness" and have even set themselves in Alaska (e.g., Men in Trees), but I haven't found anything that impressed me.

As for my own favorites, I like all kinds of shows, and like you I watch hardly any current shows. However, I think that is because there are too many good ones--or at least ones that are considered to be good--and I just don't have the bandwidth these days to follow a lot of programs. However, among my favorites are more recent shows such as The West Wing and Lost, while among the "classic" programs are cult favorites such as The Prisoner and Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Splitting the difference is the British sci-fi show Doctor Who; I watch both the classic series and "NuWho" (the current one) although I do prefer the classic series.

Hope this helps. Do you have any favorite NX characters or episodes?

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"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - Hunter S. Thompson

Re: Anything alike?

Thank you for your recommendations, I'm definitely going to look into Doc Martin :) I've tried to watch Doctor Who, and even though I'm very much into sci-fi that show just didn't do it for me.

From the more recent shows I can name a few that really made me a couch-potato until I finished them: Breaking Bad, IT Crowd, Fargo... Well, BB and Fargo are a different genre, and generally I don't like to watch a lot of violence, but these shows carried something for me it seems. Fargo is still in production, I think they only made the first season so far. IT Crowd is a British sitcom - I saw all four seasons in maybe a week :)
Speaking of sitcoms, I loved Seinfeld as well. I'm really not a 'good-old-90s' guy, but these TV series touched me somehow.

Thank you for sharing your favorites :)

As for NX characters and episodes... Yeah, I had a few favorites, in every season I had a few episodes I really loved, for example the one in which Marilyn talks about the flight of the eagle ('The Eagle, before he became the Eagle, was Yucatangee, the Talker...'). I loved each character, and my favorites did change over time. I'd say, except for season 6, Chris had been my all-time favorite, I think in some way I could identify myself with his character the most :)

Re: Anything alike?


in every season I had a few episodes I really loved, for example the one in which Marilyn talks about the flight of the eagle ('The Eagle, before he became the Eagle, was Yucatangee, the Talker...'). - menyesg

"Birds of a Feather," from Season Five, is a fine one because we get a glimpse of Joel's family when his parents, including his mother the "Eagle," come to visit.

What is interesting about that one is when Joel and his father discuss Joel's sister, who is never mentioned at any time during the series except in a joking way in Season One's "Russian Flu," when Joel's fiancee Elaine is mistaken for his sister both in real life and in Joel's dream. It's tempting to blame the writer(s) for the lapse, perhaps someone who is new to the show, but the script is by Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, who were part of the core set of writers and producers and were presumably aware of the NX's "bible," formal or informal.


I'd say, except for season 6, Chris had been my all-time favorite,

Somewhere near the start of Season Six, some entity kidnapped Chris and replaced him with Bizarro Chris, who develops an obsession with powerful women, humiliates himself with Maggie ("Realpolitik"), and gets ridiculed by an adolescent girl ("Let's Dance"). Quite a departure from the Chris who enthralled Cicely with his "Chrisness" and wowed them with the "Northern Lights."

And one interesting aspect to Seinfeld is that many actors who guest-starred on NX also found their way onto that show about nothing.

Enjoyed your comments. I hope you continue posting here.

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"Death is an old joke but it's new to everyone." - Ivan Turgenev

Re: Anything alike?


Somewhere near the start of Season Six, some entity kidnapped Chris and replaced him with Bizarro Chris, who develops an obsession with powerful women, humiliates himself with Maggie ("Realpolitik"), and gets ridiculed by an adolescent girl ("Let's Dance").


Haha, hilarious comment! Couldn't agree with you more...
It's also comforting for me to see I'm not the only one who felt that way :)

Interesting insights... I never thought about Joel's sister, but now that you mention it, it truly makes the series a bit odd, in the sense that it being a 'familial' series, focusing on personal matters and relationships (and many other things of course), it completely lacks Joel, one of the main character's sister. I mean it's intriguing.

Re: Anything alike?

I'll concur with the recommendation for "Doc Martin" -- lots of parallels with NX, and very enjoyable.

As for movies, the mention of "Local Hero" reminds me of the movie "Waking Ned Devine" which is set in a town in Ireland about the size of Cicely (actually probably even smaller) although the movie itself was filmed on the Isle of Man.




Re: Anything alike?

I am a huge fan of this show! My favorites shows are:

Twin Peaks~ It's a much darker show but very similar. I always have a hard time choosing between Twin Peaks and Northern Exposure.

Mad Men~ It's currently my favorite show. Doesn't have a NX feel per se, but I can watch the episodes over and over just like I do with NX!

Orange is the New Black~ This is a fish out of water story similiar to Northern Exposure except there's a lot more sex and violence. But it reminds me of NX more than any other show that's out right now.


None of these show give me the warm fuzzies like Northern Exposure did, but they are really good.






It's not so bad as long as you can keep the fear from your mind.

Re: Anything alike?

NX my favorite too, and thanks for sharing yours!
I'm gonna look into Mad Men and maybe Twin Peaks... TP has been following me for the last couple of years. Every now and then people recommend me that show, and until now, I haven't cared for it much. But it seems I should give it a try. Oh well :)

Re: Anything alike?

Considering that they even throw in a couple of references/small homage to Twin Peaks in an episode from the first season, giving that show a chance is not a bad idea. It's worth it.
But the two shows are not really alike, unless you count the fact that they both went completely off the rails in their last season, although even that they did in very different ways.

Doc Martin is a show you might also want to give a chance to: it's based on a similar premise and concept. As long as you are aware that it feels very different, for obvious reasons (setting, characters, etc.).
Men in Trees comes to mind too, since it's also about a New Yorker living as a fish-out-of-water in a little Alaskan town and the similarities between the two shows don't end there either. However, because of those similarities, at times it felt a bit too much like it was trying to copy Northern Exposure, while at other times it had something of a Sex and the City vibe to it I really hated.

Piece of sushi, birthday cake, stop sign, snow man, umbrella.

Re: Anything alike?

Thank you!

These days I'm looking for comedies, however, my passion for NX doesn't fade or change. Frankly, nothing I have seen so far can compare to it.

Seems I can't escape Twin Peaks :) I'll definitely give that a try too.

Re: Anything alike?

I would like to suggest similarities in a different manner. As a fish out of water tale, the character of Sheriff Carter in "Eureka" is intelligently written, quirky like NX and has a good deal of humor to balance the drama and action. Someone else suggested "West Wing" and I completely agree with the suggestion. There is also "Gilmore Girls" with its quirky characters, rapid dialogue, witty repartee mixed with the angst of the human condition, and its intelligently written scripts and finely nuanced performances. I would also add my vote to you giving "Twin Peaks" a real chance. Another thought is a show called "Dead Like Me".

As for "Northern Exposure", I was one of those that was watching it when it was new. We discussed it at work the day after the show. It wasn't just a couple of us either, it was an entire restaurant staff. Everyone watched, and everyone chimed in with their views. It was one of the most fun shows I have run across. Finding something like it is difficult, but then again, copycat shows tend to be much worse anyway. What we should look for is something with the same sensibility and manner and feel. What the people making the shows do is try to make the same show with a different cast in a different place at a different time. That means it is already doomed to be inferior before it even airs.

Hope this is of some help to you. May all your viewing be the experience you most wish it to be.

Re: Anything alike?

Lilyhammer is similar to Northern Exposure. I just caught it on Netflix and it's really enjoyable.

Oh and someone mentioned this on another thread but Newhart(1982-1990)reminds me of NE too.

I was watching Moonlighting the other day and the main characters love/hate relationship and sexual tension is much like Fleishman and O'Connell's, although they have completely different personalities. Also Moonlighting would break the fourth wall in clever ways with snappy dialogue that reminds me of Northern Exposure's innovation of that time period.




It's not so bad as long as you can keep the fear from your mind.

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Re: Anything alike?

Moving out of the TV realm: The film 'Local Hero' (1983) was acknowledged as an influence by some of the NX creative team. "Fish out of water" scenario, quirky locals, great music. It's different in a lot of ways but I think anyone who liked one would probably like the other.

Re: Anything alike?


Moving out of the TV realm: The film 'Local Hero' (1983) was acknowledged as an influence by some of the NX creative team. "Fish out of water" scenario, quirky locals, great music. It's different in a lot of ways but I think anyone who liked one would probably like the other. - dijomaja-382-516639

Excellent point. Local Hero is a quirky and charming movie, and the feel should seem warmly familiar to NX fans.

Movie fans who have seen the 1991 film Doc Hollywood, starring Michael J. Fox, will also recognize the NX premise: City-slicker doctor finds himself stranded in a podunk Southern town, falls for cute young ambulance driver, gains new perspective on life. The film also features Roberts Blossom, who played the old Ned Svenborg in the NX Season Three finale "Cicely."

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"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - Hunter S. Thompson

Re: Anything alike?

I loved Doc Hollywood (seen it a few times already), and I'm gonna give Local Hero a try! Thanks again :)

Re: Anything alike?

Yeah, the NX "War and Peace" episode appears to be lifted right out of "Local Hero". Eccentric Russian makes his annual visit and becomes center of attention. Even sings Cowboys songs in both.

Re: Anything alike?

'
Ahhh ... Interesting Thread

(as nosing around here due to another Thread just started)


Simply Put, and imho ... Very Few Truly Worthy Stories, Films, TV, Books, Drama, Music, etc

Ars Poetica ... as 'it' was call in the Olde Days, but these days, gotta fill those 'time slots'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ars_Poetica_(Horace)


Some Good Selections here, to add another to List ...

... The Mentalist ...


Is about to 'wrap/fin', and although some Viewers had problems with 'interpreting' the RJ Arc/Story, that is another 'story' unto itself, and indicative of the 'depth' that can exist in many 'Works of Art', and NX has a few of those 'wtf' moments itself, like Joel trying to crack the code of some Inuit Riddle from Marilyn

And of that 'NX-feel' ... excellent example is why here now with that 'Question' in other Thread ... how Maurice (or Holling) was able to 'instantly build' a Fire, get it Blazing BIG ... that is some 'Presto Magic' and Very Mentalistic Skill, not many possess the 'ability' ... and although the two Shows are not exactly of the 'same genre', they sure carry this 'common bond', appears each got 'reamed' by the CBS Network Brass (wink)

But again ... don't get me started, could 'write a book' on both of these Shows

(smile)

.

Re: Anything alike?

Have you tried Eureka (2006)? Quirky town, filmed in the same general area as NX. It aired on Sci-fi Channel. It's not laid-back like NX though. But I'd still recommend it to someone who likes NX.

Re: Anything alike?

Thank you! Seems promising; I'll give it a try :)

Re: Anything alike?

I would also recommend Eureka. It's probably got the most Northern Exposurely ( I think I just made up a word) feel to any show I've seen. A little goofier, but still character driven and quirky. Like N.E. it falls off the last couple seasons, but the first three are excellent.

It's a detective show, and was only on for one season, but The Finder has interesting characters, good stories, a good sense of humor, and is a little off center too.

These two may be a stretch, but if it's different you're looking for, Dead Like Me and Portlandia certainly fit the description.

Re: Anything alike?

I had high hopes for a 2012 series called "Bunheads" (so titled because the primary setting was a ballet school, and ballerinas refer to themselves as bunheads, because the "bun" is the hairdo of choice for most of them). Unfortunately, it ran for 6-7 episodes, before ABC dropped it. It has occurred to me that the title might not have drawn the widest possible audience.

It starred 2 time Tony winner, Sutton Foster, whose character was trained in ballet at (I think) the New York City Ballet. She becomes a Vegas showgirl, and winds up in a tiny California town, helping her mother-in-law at a little ballet school.

She faces some of the same quirkiness that Joel found in Cicely. Again, what most people would consider to be highly unusual is readily accepted by the locals. It was written by the woman who wrote "The Gilmore Girls." The dialog is snappy and sophisticated.

I don't know if it's available on DVD.






Re: Anything alike?

As someone else suggested, try Due South. It's very, very quirky and is kind of the reverse situation of NX. It's about a RCMP Mountie who goes south to Chicago. He's an over-the-top "Dudley Do-Right" type who can literally jump into a pile of garbage and come up smelling like a rose. His dead father helps him out will his investigations and Leslie Neilson plays a good friend of his dad (complete with fart jokes). Above all, the music in the show is fantastic.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108756/reference
(Be sure to read the trivia section too)

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Ha! Made you look!!
I'm just a patsy!

Re: Anything alike?

I am surprised that not one poster has mentioned 'Ballykissangel' an Irish show which ran for six seasons from 1996 to 2002 and is still being shown on some PBS stations. BallyK featured an English Roman Catholic priest who is transferred from a very large city in England to a small town in County Wicklow, Eire. Life centers around the pub, Fitzgeralds, where most of the town's characters hang out, the church and Eileen Henley's all purpose grocery store. Characters include the local schoolteacher, Brendan, the vet, Siobahnn, the garage mechanic, Padraic, Eileen, the nosey shopkeeper, the local policeman, Ambrose and his bossy wife Niamh, and the two priests. For comic relief there is Brian Quigley, an ambitious builder/developer/landlord who is never without a scheme to cut corners to make a profit, his two dimwitted employees, Donal and Liam, and Eamon, an elderly bachelor hill farmer who has a name for every one of his sheep and pigs and considers them part of the family, even to the point of sitting up with a sick pig all night and playing her favorite gramophone records.

I could see the similarity with NX the basic story and the characters, but overall it is a much more gentle humor. I have all the series on DVD and have watched several times. If you like a show devoid of bad language, killings, and car chases that can be watched with the children, you will enjoy this feel good series.

Re: Anything alike?

I don't know the name of the episode, but it was the one in which Shelley was pregnant, and got lost. The entire community was looking for her. At the end they play this song about mothers, while showing animal mothers of the wild. I loved that song.

If you like sci-fi, I'd recommend Orphan Black on BBC America. Other shows I personally like are Modern Family, Shameless, and The Americans.

But NX is one of the best shows to ever grace the television screen, no doubt.

Re: Anything alike?

The Pretenders' "Hymn To Her"

Let me inside you
Into your room
I've heard it's lined
With the things you don't show
Lay me beside you
Down on the floor
I've been your lover
From the womb to the tomb
I dress as your daughter
When the moon becomes round
You be my mother
When everything's gone

And she will always carry on
Something is lost
But something is found
They will keep on speaking her name
Somethings change
Some stay the same

Keep beckoning to me
From behind that closed door
The maid and the mother
And the crone that's grown old

I hear your voice
Coming out of that hole
I listen to you
And I want some more
I listen to you
And I want some more

And she will always carry on
Something is lost
But something is found
They will keep on speaking her name
Some things change
Some stay the same


"Oh, you're going to jibber jabber about jibber jabber."

Re: Anything alike?

Sorry if I missed something from another poster, but Parks and Rec is the obvious analogue for me. Great characters who, despite their apparent differences, tend to bond together for a common goal. Funny and heart-warming. Perfect blend of drama and humor. Stellar ensemble cast.


Father, can I tell your congregation how a resurrection really feels?

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Re: Anything alike?

By saying what I said in the post that you responded to.


Father, can I tell your congregation how a resurrection really feels?

Re: Anything alike?

I agree with. , and to a lesser degree Eureka ... but I am shocked that no nx fans have mentioned 'eerie indiana' ! Talk about an age appropriate fish out of h2o!

Re: Anything alike?

I would highly recommend the series "Hamish Macbeth", which ran for 3 seasons. It really has the NE feel, quirky characters, mysteries and mystique.

Northern Exposure makes me feel warm and giddy everytime I watch the show. There is nothing quite like it! Best damn tv-show ever produced <3!

Re: Anything alike?

My other favourite show, Cheers. As with Northern Exposure, it as that inherent warmth. The characters are well written and fully realised by an amazing cast.

I'll throw in mentions of:

Jeeves and Woster, for straddling drama and comedy.

Corner Gas (don't be fooled by the IMDB pic), it has that community feel sans frost.

Re: Anything alike?


Corner Gas (don't be fooled by the IMDB pic), it has that community feel sans frost. - eyebrowmorroco

Love Corner Gas. It too has a fish-out-of-water premise: Lacey is from Toronto and is trying to fit into small-town life in Dog River. And for some weird reason, I kept referring to Hank as "Ed" for the longest time, which, as my ex-wife pointed out, was an insult to Ed.

Regarding the "sans frost," that is the only unrealistic part because--let's face it--the show is set in southwestern Saskatchewan. I'm Canadian and lived next door in Alberta--winter is half your life. "Hurry hard!"

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"Here is the ice you ordered, Mr. Ismay." – Titanic Captain E.J. Smith

Re: Anything alike?

There's only one nx,but Ihave afew other series that bear repeated viewing despite different premise:
Vicar of Dibley; Doctor Who; Firefly; The Andy Griffith Show; Boston Legal; Dark Angel. Also The Thin Man movie series.
Only saying that one nx fan finds these worth repeated viewing. But Ialso?frequently watch Star Trek TOS and The X Files .
Thanks for starting such auseful thread .

Re: Anything alike?

There is only one Northern Exposure, but two short-lived shows tickled my quirky bone in similar ways: Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies.

Re: Anything alike?

WKRP In Cincinnatti and Barney Miller. LA Law, St. Elsewhere, Hill Street Blues.

Re: Anything alike?

BBC One's "Death in Paradise." Same fish out of water story—British Inspector (Ben Miller) transferred to a Caribbean Island. A dramedy (comedy + drama) with lots of quirky characters. Ben Miller was the best—Seasons 1-2, but Kris Marshall is growing on me. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1888075/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
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