On July 12, 1990, CBS aired the first episode of Northern Exposure as a summer replacement series. It’s been 25 years, people!
The show was something no one had ever seen before or since. Part drama and part comedy, Northern Exposure was a show which was imaginative but grounded, and dealt with serious issues like death and existence while finding the laughter and absurdity in this life of ours. Instead of excluding people, the show included all, and it celebrated the uniqueness of the individual no matter how different their culture, class, or values.
Watching it as a young teenager, the show opened doors to a world I’d never dreamt of. It exposed me to writers (Whitman, Dickinson, Kafka, Dostoevsky) who would later be so important to my life. It exposed me to ideas that I didn’t know existed, and introduced some pretty amazing music (Daniel Lanois, David Schwartz, Etta James, Billie Holiday) which would become part of the soundtrack of my life. It made me want to be artistic like Chris, pure like Ed, sarcastic like Joel, and independent like Maggie. Most of all, it made me believe in the inherent goodness in people, and taught me to understand the special quality that each individual has, no matter how different they are. So much of Northern Exposure is still with me today, in my heart and mind.
Here are some pictures of the first ever appearances of our characters from the pilot episode! 25 years! Woot, woot!
(for an analysis of the pilot episode, read our post about it here)