Did Rob Morrow kill Northern Exposure?

I’m watching a rerun of Northern Exposure. I really liked the show when it was on, what with its quirky characters and all. As I recall, Rob Morrow was spearheading an effort for higher salaries. As a result, he was pretty much sent to Coventry. It just wasn’t the same show without him.

So: Were Morrow’s contract negotiations the reason for the show’s decline?

He surely didn’t help the show any by doing what he did. But I think it was on the way out by then already. They had pretty much run out of weird.

Yea, that show had run it’s course. Pretty much the minute Joel and Maggie started an actual relationship, the show nuked the fridge (I think jumped the shark needs to be replaced since it has been purchased by a business with a vested interest in bad TV). Those types of relationships are the death sentence for any sitcom.

The series started failing when they got gratuitously surreal. Here’s this frontier town in Alaska, suddenly invaded by a gaggle of ballerinas, a guy in a space suit and a European film director. It stopped being the sweet little town we all wished we’d come from and started being a pissed-on canvas. It wasn’t Morrow’s doing.

Also, judging by the outcomes from various careers, he really had the least to lose by jumping ship. He may not be an A-lister, but he certainly gets good work.

I disagree with Krokodil about attributing the show’s “failure” to the increasingly gratuitous surrealism of the narrative. I recently watched the whole series on DVD (several times), and even more than 20 years later, Northern Exposure still looks and feels so much better than anything else that’s on television right now. ANYTHING. The breadth of character development and the challenging yet entertaining integration of literature, philosophy, politics, and the arts into each storyline, not to mention the gorgeous cinematography and stellar acting by the lead cast, still make Northern Exposure a pleasure to watch, from beginning to end, today. Okay, so the video quality of the first season is not spectacular but that’s a conservation issue.

I believe the level surrealism stayed very much the same throughout its six seasons. And in the end, the series was canceled to make way for the era of Sex and the City, Reality TV, and the dominance of 30-minute sitcoms filled with casts of 20-something “friends” and their great haircuts. I’ll take surrealism over that crap, all day long.

I believe the current term on the 'net is, “Raped by a panda”, marking the point when the decline of the Simpsons went too far.

Haven’t seen the show since it first aired, but remember how it just sort of stopped, without any kind of finale. I think I remember the show being better than it actually was.

Well considering the state of TV today, that ain’t saying much. but I know what you mean :slight_smile:

I miss the show. I remember seeing a calendar that had most of John Corbett’s philosophical musings (from behind the microphone in the store window-- small town radio station).

Anyone know of a source for those?

PS: If you’re really nostalgic, stop by Roslyn, WA. Still looks the same… :slight_smile:

I’ve always wanted to visit Roslyn. There’s a trail that follows the old railroad tracks? Logging road? to… Ellensburg? Cle Elum? I don’t remember the details. But I’d like to walk it sometime.

How does Rob Morrow get any blame in this? He wanted to be paid like he was the center of the show. As this OP demonstrates, he was right about this. If anyone deserves the blame for the show’s demise it would be the producers who cut a character that the show depended on and the writers who proves themselves incapable of adjusting to the changes forced upon them and the story they were creating.

I found his character the most annoying of all the characters…at some point he became a sanctimonious jerk and I couldn’t stand listening to him.

The sweet little old lady from the dry goods store has gone on to do well - she has a major, recurring character on Desperate Housewives and does a few other guest spots on other TV shows.

Actually, she went on to die. 2002.

Oops…confused actresses…

Here is a link to what the others in the cast are doing now.

Me to. By the end of the second season, they were pretty consistantly surreal (which is only like 10 episodes in, as the first two seasons were like 8 episodes a-piece). The first third or so of the series had: man gets killed by a falling satellite and then is reincarnated as a dog. A tribe of French Speaking inuits steal the frozen body of Napoleon. A circus gets stuck in Sicily with a mute man who may or may not be able to fly and Maggie falls in love with some sort of were-bear.

Agree the series was kinda played out by the end, but I think it was more because the more “real-life” plots got weaker rather then too much surreality. They just ran out of things to do with the characters and the small town setting.

TreePerson - I love this series as much as you do. It was really special.

I was under the impression that Morrow left not just for money but for ammovie career, much like David Caruso.

I also miss it greatly. I have not been able to bring myself to re-watch it yet though. I have various sound tracks from the show as well, and listen to it all regularly. The theme song is awesome.

I think what you’re referring to is the John Wayne Trail. It follows the old route of the Milwaukee Road railroad across Washington and passes near Roslyn.

As for Roslyn itself, things have been fairly static since “Northern Exposure” left the air. It’s still an interesting place though. One notable change that’s occurred is that just outside town, they’ve built a huge 6,300 acre resort/vacation home community calledSuncadia.