- Special Features
Blogs & Columns
- Fun & Games
Michael J. Fox returned to television Thursday night with his witty new show, The Michael J. Fox Show. In the show, Fox plays Michael Henry, an ex-award winning news anchor who left work five years ago because of his Parkinson’s. The pilot episode starts off introducing the Henry family and Michael’s struggle to cope with his children growing up and needing something more in his life.
The pilot is shot with a mix of interviews where the characters talk about Michael for Eve’s school project, and regular plot development. The eldest son, Ian Henry, is a Cornell dropout who has dropped out to pursue a start-up search engine called you-search-net, which can be found “by googling it.” Ian has moved back into the family home and is living in his younger brother's old room while he figures his life out. We later find out that he has actually failed economics and that is why he is home trying to make his start-up successful. Michael's middle child, Eve, is a high school student. Michael’s wife, Annie, works as a high school English teacher at Eve’s school. Michael’s daughter Eve is a free spirit that prides herself on her individuality and snarky comments. The youngest son, Graham, is the typical adorable, spunky, little kid. Michael’s younger sister, Leigh, lives in the basement of the Henrys' apartment building. Leigh is single and doesn’t really have her life together yet, going to concerts with Eve and dressing inappropriately for her age, as well as having Michael help pay for her apartment.
Annie leaves early for work and Michael takes Eve and Graham to school. On the walk, people stop Michael on the street to take pictures and say hello to New York's beloved ex-news anchor. The family runs into Michael's old boss, Harris, the news director at NBC, who offers Michael his old job back. Mike is hesitant and refused, citing a rolling chair incident and other issues that arose due to his Parkinson’s.
Annie wants to make Mike feel useful and tries to convince him to go back to work. While Mike tries to work on writing his book, a new dishwasher is being delivered. Annie has left Mike instructions for the dishwasher deliverymen, but they get wet and he has to call her to ask what the instructions say. His Parkinson’s medication has not yet kicked in, and he accidentally dials 911. Forty-five minutes later, the police show up, as it is NYPD protocol to investigate any and all 911 calls. When Mike asks why it took them so long even though it was a mistaken dial, he finds out that the new 911-call system, which cost $2 billion, is not effective.
This sends Mike into news anchor mode and prompts him to call Harris and ask for his job back, with the intention of making the 911 system defects his first story back. Mike arrives at NBC’s news studio and receives a standing ovation from the staff and an upsetting promo that milks his triumphant return to television.
Eve’s teacher fails her for her video project featuring her family, calling it “manipulative,” and tells her to apply herself. Per Ian’s suggestion, she asks for an extension on the project, which sets up the video diary portion of the show that we are sure to see in future episodes.
Matt Lauer makes a guest appearance as Mike’s “rival,” which Annie says is just Mike being jealous. Mike returns to television in a guest appearance on the Today show for his first story back, the 911 story. Matt Lauer cuts to a different story in Washington before Mike can even begin his story.
Mike’s family is excited for him to return to television. They end the episode on a positive note, with the entire family sitting down for breakfast at the kitchen table, as Mike has been asking for throughout the episode. The Michael J. Fox Show is quick witted, combining sarcastic entertainment with an inspirational story about one man’s struggle to return to his successful career regardless of the obstacles his illness impose. I feel that while this may have started out slow, this show has immense promise and will find its comedic footing in NBC’s new fall lineup.
The Michael J. Fox Show airs Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c on NBC.