I was very fond of Northern Exposure first time round. I was about 18 and it was shown on Cypriot TV (then with only 2 state channels) at obscure times. As an 18-year-old I probably connected with Ed, the half-Indian lad who's discovering himself and life around him, and has a keen interest in cinema. I also thought that Chris Stevens (played by John Corbett), the solitary, ex-con intellectual radio DJ, was the coolest thing ever and wanted to be him. Clever, good looking, he had a Harley. I loved the fact that everything around him, the seemingly simple, and at times downright brutal life in the countryside, always had a poetic and literary extension, two sides of the same coin.
The central story was of course the love tension between Joel Fleischman, the New York doctor 'exiled' in Alaska as 'payback' time for his scholarship and Maggie O'Connell, the local pilot/plumber/landlady (who I had a huuuuuge crush on). Other stories of course do exist, and Northern Exposure was written to bring out a warm, fuzzy feeling towards its characters and their problems.
Having discovered the joys of broadband, we decided to revisit the scene of the crime (Mrs Blackbeard is also a fan). I was a bit apprehensive about it, as revisiting usually ends up in disappointment. I always find that there was a reason I loved something when I was 18, and that reason simply does not exist anymore. I was worried that it would spoil my memory. I was wrong. Northern Exposure is not only as fresh as ever, but revisiting the characters and stories allows me to explore other, previously unseen dimensions which I hadn't noticed as a teenager.
For example, Chris Stevens, although cool and deep, is sometimes downright pretentious. Joel Fleischman can be a bit of an arse sometimes. Ed is rather slow. But apart from all these re-inventions of characters, based on our own life experience-something which severely tints our viewing glass-the story remains beautiful. Lovingly written, well executed, in a magnificent setting (it was filmed in the town of Roslyn, Washington State). The key messages are still there: our relationship with nature, the people around us, ourselves. I am wondering also what this journey says about ourselves. What do we learn by reinterpreting our past experiences? Is a story fixed or fluid? If you know, let me know please. In the meantime, I am enjoying it more than ever.