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Take Ally McBeal, throw in Northern Exposure, and cap it off with Frasier, and you have three shows that Men in Trees  wishes it were.

As it is, the new ABC dramady that debuted Tuesday night combined elements of all three to little success, at least with me. We'll have to wait until the overnight ratings come out to see whether it scored with viewers other than me.

The show isn't quirky enough to be a Northern Exposure, even with a doctor who goes to a small, quirky Alaskan town that boasts a young guy with a radio show, a local bar hangout, a loveable pilot, and natives spouting ancient wisdom.

It isn't quirky enough to be Ally McBeal, even with Ann Heche doing a McBeal-like take on the "it's tough to find love" theme," though looking a lot more like Joely Richardson.

The show ends with Dr. Heche dispensing advice on the radio in Alaska, where she stayed rather than go to Seattle. Oh, baby, ABC 0ughta hear the blues a calling on this one. It has been done already, several places, and better.

By John Eggerton