I discovered this show a couple of years after it had been cancelled. I happened to catch a couple of repeats and found that I liked it. I don’t remember what episode I saw first, however, I do remember what hooked me. It was the character of Chris Stevens (John Corbett). I will talk about him a little later, but first a bit about the show.
Dr. Joel Fleischman (Rob Morrow) was given money for his education by the state of Alaska. In return, he must provide his services to the state for four years. He is expecting to fulfil his end of the bargain working in an Anchorage hospital. However, it turns out he is being sent to the very tiny town of Cicely instead.
Needless to say this comes as a huge shock to Joel and he doesn’t take it very well. Since he is from New York City, he is used to a very different lifestyle. He rebels and tries to find a way out of his contract but is unsuccessful. As he begins to get to know the townspeople he realizes just how different he is.
Ok, back to Chris. He is into philosophy, poetry, art and music. He also happens to be an ex-con. He is the DJ for the local radio station. In addition to playing music, he delves into all types of subjects, reads books, gives advice; basically he can talk about almost anything and make it interesting. He is very charming and has the knack for finding (and picking up) random women out in the woods.
I think John Corbett was born to play this role. In addition to being an extremely attractive guy, he also has this wonderful down to earth quality about him that is well suited to the character. Plus he is able to convincingly do the incredibly difficult dialogue that Chris has, while still making it believable and interesting to listen to. John is just great at pacing and line delivery.
My other favorite character is Ed Chigliak (Darren E. Burrows). He is just a fun, sweet character. He’s an easy-going guy and seems to be friends with everyone in town. It’s fun to watch Ed and Joel together. They are total opposites. Ed is so laid back and just goes with the flow, whereas, Joel is controlling and fights against everything. That makes for great interaction between the two of them.
My favorite episodes from this season:
Episode 7 – A Kodiak Moment
Maurice finds out that his brother has died, which leaves him without an heir for his estate. He decides that he needs to find someone to carry on the Minnifield line. After giving it some thought it becomes obvious to him that Chris should become his son. They decide to give the arrangement a try, which leads to some interesting and slightly awkward situations. Such as when Chris is going out on a date and Maurice is giving him advice on sex “remember son, seeds sprout”. Or when Chris rebels so he tells him that he is grounded.
Episode 8 – Aurora Borealis – A Fairy Tale For Grown-Ups
There is a full moon and some strange things start happening. One of which is a mysterious stranger showing up in town. His name is Bernard (Richard Cummings Jr) and five days prior he suddenly felt the need to quit his job, sell his condo, buy a Harley (even though he is afraid of motorcycles) and just head north. Now he finds himself in Cicely. He and Chris find themselves drawn to each other. The more they hang out together, the more they find similarities between them. Eventually, their stories unfold and we find out more about their pasts.
Some of my favorite quotes:
Joel – “I don’t understand, where is the rest of the town?”
Maurice – “It’s coming son, it’s coming.”
Ed – “It’ll set him off, then next thing you know he’s blowing your brains out and we’ll have to bury you. Which will ruin the festival for me and everybody.”
Holling – “Well I’ll take that into consideration Ed.”
Patient #1 – “I’ve been feeling achy and hot.”
Joel – “For how long?”
Patient #1 – “Three years.”
Ed – “Indian’s don’t knock, it’s rude.”
Ruth-Anne – “That is the most beautiful non-ceremony I ever saw.”
Maggie – “I just have bad luck with men. They do stupid things and die. Then I’m supposed to feel responsible?”
Chris – “Now for the traffic report. Maggie O’Connell just drove down Main Street too fast.”
Chris – “My mother and father, they’re gone.”
Maurice – “For good?”
Chris – “Yeah, they uhm, they died.”
Maurice – “Good.”
Ed – “Are ya lost?”
Bernard – “No, I just don’t know where I am.”
I just love all the quirky characters and storylines on the show. My grandparents lived in Alaska for many years. When I was younger I spent a couple of summers up there with them. This show kind of reminds me of those times. Although, the characters on the show are a bit exaggerated, they are reminiscent of the types of people I met there. It definitely takes a different type of individual to thrive in the harsh environment of Alaska. So let’s just say the place lends itself to unique individuals (rugged people that march to their own tune).
By the way, the exterior shots of the town were filmed in Roslyn, Washington. I was there about four years ago. It was fun to walk around the main street area and see all of the buildings featured on the show. It still looked remarkably the same. Chris’s DJ booth was still set up and visible from the sidewalk. It felt like, at any moment, you would see one of the characters walking down the street.