Michael J. Fox is back on television with the premiere of "The Michael J. Fox Show" on NBC. The network had so much faith in him that they gave him a full 22-episode commitment before the pilot had been shot. "The Michael J. Fox Show" will have plenty of time to find its comedic groove, and it's well on it's way already after only two installments.
Fox plays Mike Henry, a character with a similar life trajectory to Fox himself. Mike was a former New York news anchor who left his job when his Parkinson's was getting too much in the way, much as Fox left "Spin City" for the same reason. Because he was a known personality, Mike gets recognized in the streets, and has people rooting for him ... just like Fox.
And, according to Fox and the creators behind the show, a lot of the family stories are pulled from Fox's experiences as well. And yet, taking place more than a decade after he quit his anchor job, Parkinson's isn't at the center of his or his family's world anymore. It's just another facet of their lives.
As daughter Eve put it, "Yes, my dad is a celebrity and people love him. Blah, blah, blah. But why does everyone have to stop and tell him about another person who also has Parkinson’s? Alcoholism is a disease. Do people go up to David Hasselhoff and tell him about their crazy uncles?”
At the New York Times, Mike Hale thought the Parkinson's gags were some of the funniest in the pilot, but they're also "the only moments viewers are likely to remember five minutes after the show ends.” Entertainment Weekly's Melissa Maerz had mixed feelings about the premiere as well. "Luckily, [Fox] still has some of that Alex P. Keaton charm, and he's also helped by a strong supporting cast," she wrote. "The critiques of self-serving political correctness are sharp, but when Fox swerves into more conventional family-comedy territory ... it feels as manipulative as any sitcom, with or without the Parkinson's angle.”
While "The Michael J. Fox Show" is working out its kinks, it's easy to fall in love with Michael J. Fox all over again, Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
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