The Good

The Bad

Northern Exposure - The Complete Third Season is a solidly made show about the lives of some interesting people in Cicely, Alaska. This particular season was nominated for 16 emmys, and after watching this 3 disk, double-sided box set, it is easy to see what people liked about it. This show was populated with the standard characters we’re used to seeing on shows like this. You have the normal people (played by Rob Morrow and Janine Turner), who really are not all that normal, and then there’s everybody else. From “Chris in the Morning” (John Corbett) to Maurice J. Minnifield (Barry Corbin), what I found really endearing about this show was how all the characters won me over. Whether Maurice wants to invest in an ostrich farm, or Joel goes on a hunting trip with Chris and Holling, or Maggie is trying to figure out men, this show has an amazing ability to pull off the most nonsensical plots.

I didn’t even know this show was really on when it had it’s run from 1990-1995. I heard about it in a cursory way, but it wasn’t something I really paid attention to. Now, it certainly isn’t the best TV show I have ever seen, I did find it highly entertaining and extremely engaging. When I talk to fans of Northern Exposure they all seem to love the show, without really being able to explain why. In fact, I don’t think it’s any one thing about the show that works for them. I think it’s just what the viewer feels when they watch it, which is probably the reason why this show is so popular among it’s core audience.

Northern Exposure - The Complete Third Season is solid TV and something that fans of the show should be happy to have in their DVD collections.

Features

Deleted and Extended Scenes

This double sided 3 disk set is really something for the fans. How else to explain that there seem to be deleted and extended scenes for almost every episode on these disks? What makes this even better is that these scenes are indexed out in the menu scheme, so that people who only want to watch certain extras for certain episodes don’t have to waste any time, they can just scroll around and get to the exact extras for the particular episodes they wish the watch. As I am very new to this show, I obviously didn’t get as much out of this stuff as long time fans would, but I think anybody who buys this boxset will be more then happy with it.

Unexposed Footage

This is comprised of a small documentary, which is just a bunch of clips in black and white with touching music laid over it. The other footage is of actors forgetting lines, laughing during takes and other scenes of mayhem on the set. You don’t have to have followed a show to get something out of these scenes. I say this because seeing an actor blow a line, or do something to make another actor laugh is always funny. This extra is a nice addition to an already solidly packed DVD.

Lost Storylines

As I am coming into this show pretty late, these scenes seem like they could have been a part of the “Deleted and Extra Scenes” package. The storylines listed here are “Jules et Joel”, “Seoul Mates”, “Things Become Extinct” and “Three Amigos”. I honestly wish I was better versed on this show because I think I could have gotten more out of these scenes. As it was, they were fun to watch, but I don’t think they resonated with me as much as they could have.

Video

Full Frame 1.33:1. One thing that surprised me right away about this show was the fact that there wasn’t a laugh track. As this show is supposed to be a comedy, I guess I was expecting to be helped along with the the jokes. I really like the look of this show. It seems to have been vaguely inspired by the look that Robert Altman achieved in McCabe & Mrs. Miller. While the subject matter couldn’t be more far apart, the settings and locales of both these shows seem to have a similar feeling. This show does a very good job of capturing that small town feeling that we get when we travel. I also appreciate how this show seems to be saying that everyone is weird, not just the denizens of a small populated area. The DVD transfers and the way the disks were compressed are amazingly clear and sharp. It is almost as if they glisten off the screen.

Audio

English Dolby Digital 2.0. The sound on all of these disks (including the extras) is quite crisp. This show is interesting in that it seems to really rely on the performances of the actors. It doesn’t have a lot of extra music or ambient sounds underlining the scenes. When the characters talk to one another, whether they are in a restaurant, a forest or a bedroom, whatever they say can be heard perfectly. This isn’t to say that ambient music and sounds are not used on this show, I am just a fan of how performance-like this show is. It actually reminds me more of a sitcom, simply because the actors seem as if they are in a play. Although, without the audience track of laughter, this show seems to predate other shows like The Sopranos and the crop of serious minded shows that are on TV currently.

Package

Green. All over the packaging is green. In white letters, in the middle of the cover it says Northern Exposure - The Complete Third Season. That is all. There are ripples in the cover as if it’s supposed to resemble a waterfall, but then shouldn’t the cover have been blue? I probably got that wrong, I think. The back is green, and the section that tells us what’s on the disks and gives us the tech specs isn’t attached to the cover. This is a problem. I know you can just slide the cover in with the disks, but this seems like a pain. Each DVD gets it’s own thin, plastic case. On the cover are various pictures of cast members, and on the back are descriptions of all the episodes for that disk. I have been hearing a lot of talk of companies trying to maximize shelf space for more DVDs. Northern Exposure - The Complete Third Season is manufactured to do just that for both the retailer AND the consumer.

Final Word

I came into Northern Exposure - The Complete Third Season knowing absolutely nothing about the show. I didn’t know any of the characters, I didn’t know the setting, I just knew that at one time or another this show had played on TV. I really ended up liking it. I loved the situations that the characters got themselves into, I enjoyed the bantering between everyone and I appreciated how this show seemed to take it’s time and not go for the easy laughs. While I might not be inclined to go back and view all the other episodes of this show, I can honestly say that I feel my knowledge of TV has been broadened by watching Northern Exposure - The Complete Third Season.

Northern Exposure was released .