Saturday, January 4, 2020

TV Show Review: The Michael J. Fox Show

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Many great laughs from endearing characters
Cons: Slow first few episodes, some predictability
The Bottom Line:
Fox back on TV
In show building in its fun
You’ll relive laughs here

"Stop Reading and Go Play Video Games."

When The Michael J. Fox Show premiered in the fall of 2013, I tuned in only out of curiosity.  I didn’t expect to give it more than an episode or two, but my roommate at the time liked it, so I thought I’d keep watching it with him.  By the time the show was canceled, he has stop watching it, and I had grown to enjoy it.

The show centers around the Henry family.  The father, Mike (Michael J. Fox), is just going back to work as a newscaster.  He’s taken five years off to deal with his Parkinson’s diagnosis.  His wife Annie (Betsy Brandt) has kept her job as a teacher at the school where their daughter is a student.  At work, Mike is reunited with his former boss, Harris Green (Wendell Pierce).  Meanwhile, adjusting at home are the three children Ian, Eve, and Graham (Conor Romero, Juliette Goglia, and Jack Gore), and Mike’s sister, Leigh (Katie Finneran) who lives in the same apartment building as the rest of the family, just on a different floor.

Over the course of the season, Mike gets Eve an internship at the station to stay close to her, Mike must deal with a mean former co-worker coming to work at the station, Leigh must move in with the family when bed bugs drive her from her apartment, and cleaning up Graham’s room turns into a battle of wills in a way his parents didn’t expect.

When it comes to family sitcoms, this one didn’t really break much new ground, which is why it didn’t grab me from those first few episodes.  But as I kept watching and got to know the characters, I grew to appreciate the humor.  Yes, the character development was often predictable, but it still managed to get genuine laughs out of me along the way.  I usually laugh harder at the traditional multi-camera sitcom much more readily than the single camera sitcoms, but this one worked for me.  And yes, even the breakaways to the interviews with the characters, a concept I still don’t completely get, worked.

Not to say that the show was perfect.  As I said, there were plenty of predictable moments and plots.  But what they did worked most of the time, and I was sorry to see it go, especially with several unaired episodes.

The cast was wonderful.  Whether going for comedy or a touching moments, they all nailed it each week.  With a large cast like this, they often had two or three plotlines going per episode, but things were balanced out to make it work.

I mentioned the unaired episodes.  Fans of the series will be glad to learn that all 22 episodes produced for the first season are included in this three disc manufacture on demand DVD set.  The picture is wide screen, and the sound is full surround.  While they look and sound great, there are no extras, which isn’t surprising since the show was canceled.

It’s a shame that The Michael J. Fox Show couldn’t build an audience since it was building into a potentially very fun series.  But if you want to enjoy the show again, be sure to get this set.

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