‘Northern Exposure’ Stars Rob Morrow, Janine Turner & More Explain Why The CBS Cult Fave Was “Groundbreaking” For Its Time – Vulture Festival

The stars of Northern Exposure Rob Morrow, Janine Turner, Barry Corbin, Cynthia Geary and John Corbett reunited to kick off the annual Vulture Festival. During the Monday panel, the cast members reminisced on their time starring in the CBS series, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year.

“Your chance of having a hit television is probably as good as your chance of going to space and circling Earth,” Corbin said about Northern Exposure’s success. “The casting fit, the location fit, the music fit. Everything fit.”

Corbin, who starred as astronaut and retired Marine fighter pilot Maurice J. Minnifield, agreed with his fellow cast mates that all the elements behind Northern Exposure made for both a high-performing series and one that stood out from other shows at the time.

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When the Emmy-winning series hit the air in 1990, Northern Exposure was simply about young Dr. Joel Fleischman (Morrow) and his efforts to set up shop in the small town of Cicely in Arrowhead County, Alaska. However, as the series progresses, Fleischman and his band of Cicely locals face the past, outer space, the apocalypse and more.

“The weirdness just came and went,” Morrow said of the show. “I never thought of it as weird, it was just idiosyncratic.”

Janine Turner, who starred as the ambitious Maggie O’Connell, dubbed the show “intellectually stimulating” given its subject matter and presentation. But in addition to taking audience members for various adventures through space and time, Northern Exposure took risks and offered a a fresh take on the roles women held in television. She said Maggie O’Connell went against conventional beauty standards for women and showed that women can be more than home-keepers and housewives.

The actress added that given its summer slot, Northern Exposure didn’t feel the same pressure to fit the same mold primetime shows presented at the time, thus having more freedom to touch on odd topics and themes. Co-star Cynthia Geary agreed noting that “everything in this show is groundbreaking,” from its dream sequences to Morrow’s character breaking the fourth wall.

John Corbett, whose Chris Stevens was a DJ and ex-convict, said that the oddities and charm of Northern Exposure left viewers with a sense of whimsy, which prepared them for the upcoming week. But Northern Exposure‘s ability to attract people from all walks of lives, from well-paid doctors to “hillbillies,” contributed to its long-lasting effect, Corbett said.

“When you can get that group together to like a show, that was magical,” he said.

Northern Exposure was created by Josh Band and John Falsey. CBS announced in 2018 that a revival of the quirky series is in the works and will feature Morrow reprising his role. Written by Brand, the revival centers on Dr. Joel Fleischman, played by Morrow, who returns to Cicely, Alaska, for the funeral of an old friend and finds a new set of quirky characters and reunites with old ones in this continuation of the classic series.

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