Well, I'm done with my marathon of Northern Exposure. While I had seen many of the episodes before, I had never seen any of the final season - the season that killed Northern Exposure.
I am left with bleak satisfaction reminiscent of finishing a crossword puzzle. I know how to interpret this feeling: it indicates that the activity you've just engaged in was more about the process and less about the product. The process was becoming less than satisfying, but I had to see it out to its bitter end.
All those characters I'd grown to love, whatever became of them? There is no resolution in the final episode, no chance for viewers to make sense of the experience, no cohesion. This is compounded by the fact that the writers had unceremoniously sent Dr. Fleishman back to New York and then asked viewers to give a hoot about the new doctor and his wife. Who cares?
My fantasy is shattered. I had been almost ready to pack it up and head into the northern wilderness, to nestle down among the characters and wildlife in Talkeetna, Alaska and be done with this civilized life.
But having written the earlier post about magical realism, I can at least identify what went wrong, what was missing from the final season. But I wonder what went wrong with the writers, what drained their inspiration? What stifled their imagination? What compelled them to place two new, frankly uninteresting characters center stage and shuffle all the interesting ones off to the sides?
For nearly a month now, Northern Exposure has served as the light at the end of the tunnel of my daily life. After a long day, I could get into my p.j.s and slippers, and snuggle down for an episode or two. Now what will I do?
I need some suggestions for another TV series I can rent. I am woefully ignorant of TV, not having watched it for decades. But my well-stocked local Figgie's has two long walls of TV series. What will I choose? What comes close to this?