8.3
476 votes
Northern Exposure

Northern Exposure

CBS 1990

Dr. Joel Fleischman (Rob Morrow) graduates from Columbia University medical school thanks to a scholarship from the state of Alaska. Though he was promised a placement at the large hospital in Anchorage, he is instead whisked away to the tiny town of Cicely, where he must work off his education debt as the local General Practitioner. The location is remote, the people are weird and quirky, and all Joel wants is to return to New York. The show thrived on this "fish out of water" storyline and the "will they or won't they" dynamic between Fleischman and Janine Turner's Maggie O'Connell.

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The 10 Best Episodes of Northern Exposure

Northern Exposure - S5E12

#1 - Mr. Sandman

8.41

Season 5 - Episode 12

The aurora borealis causes the residents of Cicely to swap their dreams, exposing secrets. Maggie has Holling's dream about being a cab driver in Quebec, driving his overbearing father around. Ron has Maurice's dream about blue pumps. Joel sleepwalks in search of candy, having a child's dream. Holling has Dave's dream about kayaking with a spatula. Walt has someone's dream (Joel's?) about climbing a never ending tower.

The episode was rated #1 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 41 votes.

Northern Exposure - S6E8

#2 - Up River

8.40

Season 6 - Episode 8

Maurice sends Ed after Joel, who's moved up river; and Joel tells Ed of the few days he and Maggie spent together, where every time they got together, there was gunfire. Chris hires a contractor to improve the lot around his trailer and it turns his world upside down. When Walt goes away to check his traps, Ruth-Anne realizes that she's fallen in love and tries to fight it.

The episode was rated #2 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 35 votes.

Northern Exposure - S5E6

#3 - Birds of a Feather

8.23

Season 5 - Episode 6

Joel's parents come to Cicely and his father's know-it-all attitude gets on Joel's nerves and his mother gets back to nature. Holling's dislike of sports causes Shelly to ponder their baby's athletic future and his stature among the men of Cicely.

The episode was rated #3 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 44 votes.

Northern Exposure - S3E14

#4 - Burning Down the House

8.21

Season 3 - Episode 14

Maggie receives an unexpected visit and some unwanted news from her mother. Meanwhile, Chris searches everywhere for just the right cow to fling for his conceptual art piece and Joel becomes obsessed with a local chimney sweep that he believes is a former pro golfer.

The episode was rated #4 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 72 votes.

Northern Exposure - S5E13

#5 - Mite Makes Right

8.15

Season 5 - Episode 13

A musician tries to stop Maurice from storing, in his safe, a 1.6 million-dollar violin he's just bought as an investment. Maggie becomes obsessed with ridding her house of dust mites after she develops an allergy to them. Chris struggles to find inspiration for his latest sculpture. Joel and Maggie have their first date, which ends early because of talk about things microscopic.

The episode was rated #5 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 41 votes.

Northern Exposure - S4E23

#6 - Mud and Blood

8.14

Season 4 - Episode 23

Spring comes to Cicely and Holling pays to get a job on a farm pulling a plow, because of his wish to sow seeds. Maggie saves Dave's life, a tape from Mike and other events get the people of Cicely thinking that she has healing powers. Maurice buys a pig for routing out truffles for the annual Mosquito Festival, but the pig may become the main course at a luau. Holling throws his back out and Shelly finds out that she is pregnant.

The episode was rated #6 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 43 votes.

Northern Exposure - S4E18

#7 - Northern Lights

8.10

Season 4 - Episode 18

Joel goes on strike when the state of Alaska will not allow him time off for a Caribbean vacation he was planning. Chris has trouble seeking inspiration for his new sculpture. A vagrant's presence on Main St. outrages Maurice, when he learns the man is an ex-marine he tries to become his benefactor. Maggie debates about having sex with Mike. Holling spends his time in hibernation. The town of Cicely strikes back against Joel.

The episode was rated #7 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 51 votes.

Northern Exposure - S2E5

#8 - Spring Break

8.08

Season 2 - Episode 5

Things get a little crazy as the town waits for the annual ice breakup and the annual "running of the bulls" down the streets of Cicely. Joel and Maggie find themselves irresistibly drawn together, Maurice is attracted to a dominating state trooper sent to uncover the villain behind the annual rash of petty thefts and Holling challenges all the customers to a fight.

The episode was rated #8 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 103 votes.

Northern Exposure - S4E24

#9 - Sleeping With the Enemy

8.08

Season 4 - Episode 24

Maurice's son comes to ask for his permission on his choice of a bride. There is a little hitch, Ron thinks that the new bride maybe the daughter of North Korean Colonel Pak Soon Ye, the butcher of Yang Dok. To help in the preservation of his native tongue, Ed decides to dub The Prisoner of Zenda. Holling's "needs" (an average of 4 times a day) are being held back and he seeks a way to relieve them. Ed runs into trouble with the star of his movie, a man with experience working in Hollywood and no time for Ed's inexperience. Maurice runs into mixed emotions on his feelings about his own personal feelings and the feelings of his son.

The episode was rated #9 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 40 votes.

Northern Exposure - S6E7

#10 - Full Upright Position

8.04

Season 6 - Episode 7

Maurice welcomes his young cousin Maurice to Cicely, hopefully to take over the family business. Charges of static electricity generate a new interest--and a new art project-- for Chris. Meanwhile sparks fly between Joel and Maggie on a Russian airline bound for St. Petersburg, where Joel is scheduled to speak at a medical convention.

The episode was rated #10 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 28 votes.

Northern Exposure - S3E22
#11 - Our Wedding
8.03
Season 3 - Episode 22

As their wedding approaches, Adam debates with Joel about women and Eve lets a gung-ho Shelly take over the wedding plans as she worries about more important matters. Maggie and Joel try in their own ways to come to grips with their experience in Juneau.

The episode was rated #1 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 69 votes.

Northern Exposure - S5E3
#12 - Jaws of Life
8.03
Season 5 - Episode 3

Maurice is chosen to be a wax figure at Madame Tussaud's, in London, for their rugged individualist's exhibit. Chris is faced with having to live longer than he planned on, a consequence he has trouble dealing with. The dentist comes to town, which puts everyone on edge.

The episode was rated #2 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 35 votes.

Northern Exposure - S3E23
#13 - Cicely
8.01
Season 3 - Episode 23

Joel meets an old man who's returned to Cicely after many years. The man tells him the story of two remarkable women, Roslyn and Cicely, whom transformed the town into ""the Paris of the North"" back in 1909.

The episode was rated #3 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 68 votes.

Northern Exposure - S4E19
#14 - Family Feud
8.00
Season 4 - Episode 19

A totem pole carved in tribute to the Raven clan reopens a bitter rift between them and the Bear clan. Shelly gets medical advice telling her that getting married may help her to get rid of the strange hallucinations with dancers that she's been having. Joel confronts Maggie about their "whatever" and her relationship with Mike; together they decide they're "mutually desirous incompatibles."

The episode was rated #4 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 50 votes.

Northern Exposure - S5E18
#15 - Fish Story
7.98
Season 5 - Episode 18

While fishing Joel hooks "Goony," Cicely's fabled sea-monster. Ruth-Anne takes Chris's motorcycle ride when customer demands get to be too much for her, then she joins a middle-aged motorcycle gang for a midnight ride. Holling gives up on his paint-by-numbers after Maurice ridicules his work. Joel meets his Rabbi in the middle of the lake after "Goony" takes him for a ride. The town, especially Maurice, demand action when it appears Ruth-Anne may not be coming back.

The episode was rated #5 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 40 votes.

Northern Exposure - S3E21
#16 - It Happened in Juneau
7.97
Season 3 - Episode 21

Joel foresees sophisticated delights when he travels to Juneau for a medical conference but winds up with good old Maggie, meanwhile back in Cicely, Chris finds himself tongue-tied with the return of Bernard, his cosmic doppelganger.

The episode was rated #6 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 68 votes.

Northern Exposure - S6E15
#17 - The Quest
7.97
Season 6 - Episode 15

Joel finds a map and brings Maggie with him on a quest to find a mythical city, they meet a belligerent gatekeeper, and when faced with a crossroads, Joel sees his future and departs. Phil cleans out some impacted earwax for Chris, but Chris sues him for malpractice when his inner ear is damaged. Maurice lets Holling know that Michelle is writing an article on restaurants for Alaska Highways magazine, but she can't find any good words to describe the food at the Brick.

The episode was rated #7 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 34 votes.

Northern Exposure - S6E13
#18 - Horns
7.97
Season 6 - Episode 13

The state of Alaska admits to Joel that they were wrong in over-extending his contract, with his release secured, Joel returns to Cicely to collect his things. Phil notices there is something wrong with Maurice's new bottled water; the effect causes males and females to reverse roles. Cal escapes and becomes a fugitive in search of an audience. The area where Joel goes does not contain a village named Greenwich.

The episode was rated #8 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 33 votes.

Northern Exposure - S4E17
#19 - Love's Labour Mislaid
7.96
Season 4 - Episode 17

Maggie forgets about having sex with Joel. Holling and Ruth-Anne go out to find a Siberian Tit, a bird rarely seen in Alaska. Ed's uncle arranges a marriage for Ed; however the bride already has a boyfriend.

The episode was rated #9 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 49 votes.

Northern Exposure - S4E8
#20 - Thanksgiving
7.96
Season 4 - Episode 8

The Indians in Cicely celebrate Thanksgiving by throwing tomatoes at white people. Joel is Ed's first victim and he is angered because in his words he is "definitely not white." The town gets decorated with skulls and pumpkins as they also celebrate "The Day of the Dead." Joel also gets bad news in a letter telling him that he must serve another year on his contract. Mike's latest reactions to the environment are caused by something he can't trace so he thinks about moving to Greenland. Chris waxes nostalgic and decides that the something missing from his life is "the joint" when he finds a can of beans that he remembers from Thanksgiving.

The episode was rated #10 Best episode of Northern Exposure from 70 votes.

Last updated: apr 07, 2021

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