There is, obviously, a huge amount of interest in Michael J. Fox’s return to weekly TV after more than a decade away. In case you need a reminder, Fox, whose breakout role was Alex P. Keaton on NBC’s 1980s sitcom Family Ties, stepped away from his starring role on Spin City in 1998 after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Fox decided he wanted to spend more time with his family. He made a few appearances on shows like Boston Legal and The Good Wife, but only recently did he decide to resume his acting career full-time. The result is The Michael J. Fox Show. The actor plays Mike Henry, who, after years of staying home with his family while dealing with the effects of Parkinson’s disease, decides to return to his old job on TV. (He was a beloved New York news anchor.)
The autobiographical spin is a smart move by Fox, who clearly has a refreshing and humorous take on his own experience. In the opening of the trailer, a police officer recognizes him and asks for his autograph because his “uncle’s got Alzheimer’s.” Meanwhile Mike’s daughter, Eva (played by Juliette Goglia), attempts to use his illness in order to garner sympathy from her teacher for a class project. (She fails.) The amiable Fox, who has surely received more than his share of saccharine compassion in the years since announcing his illness, seems determined to shed the notion that he needs to be pitied—and The Michael J. Fox Show could go a long way toward humanizing those who suffer from life-changing diseases.