Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Michael J. Fox Show - Pilot

In a plot not that far removed from the actor's own struggles, Michael J. Fox stars as a news anchor who leaves his job to spend more time with his wife (Betsy Brandt), sister (Katie Finneran), and three children (Juliette GogliaConor RomeroJack Gore) after being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. The Pilot episode revolves around Mike driving his family crazy with his over-attention, Mike's old boss (Wendell Pierce) trying to woo him back into the studio, and Mike's daughter Eve (Goglia) making a sappy pseudo-documentary of her father's struggles to get out of her actual homework assignment.

The Pilot certainly gets mileage out of Mike's disease and the overwhelming support of the community that desperately wants to see their beloved anchor fight and get back on the air. With the exception of equally manipulative (each in their own way) Mike, Eve, and Harris (Pierce), the rest of the characters are a little thin. And the docudrama style of the Pilot works in spots but as it is abandoned and reapplied randomly throughout the episode it feels more gimmicky than anything else.

One episode in I'm glad to see the show is putting Mike Henry back to work as I was already growing tired of the anchor spending time with his all to precious and chaotic family. I want to see more of the Harris/Mike relationship as wells seeing Fox struggle and succeed despite his illness rather than the show only using it as a gimmick to make the character likable (which we get more than enough of here). There's promise here, but quite a few rough edges and some glut of supporting characters (particularly Finneran as Mike's sister and Ana Nogueira as his wet-behind-the-ears goofy new producer) who get far more screentime than is deserved, that need to be addressed if the show is going to eventually succeed.

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