Michael J Fox is back, but does his new sitcom deliver?
Perhaps we were expecting too much. Maybe we thought Michael J. Fox playing himself in a new NBC sitcom was almost too perfect. This was going to be...like...Curb Your Enthusiasm meets The Office right?
The actor's first regular sitcom role since Spin City, The Michael J Fox Show, premieres on NBC tonight (September 26, 2013) following a TV news anchor returning to work after a five-year retirement following a Parkinson's diagnosis. The cast is pretty good, with Fox doing his thing alongside Breaking Bad's Betsy Brandt and The Wire's Wendell Pierce - two of the better supporting actors on TV over the past few years.
However, it seems the cable network has committed the only crime possible in this situation. Great basic premise, great cast - but no story. Though most of the critics agree that The Michael J. Fox Show is nice enough sitcom to while away the hours, almost all are unanimous that the writers have no idea what to do with the family.
"Unfortunately, having successfully created Mike and his family, Fox seems to have no idea what to do with them. The second episode and a later one made available for preview that features Anne Heche as Mike's rival at work fall back on what can be labeled the Comedy of Sitcom Stupidity," said USA Today.
"Very little that Mr. Fox, or anyone else, does in The Michael J. Fox Show, which starts on Thursday night, will force you to laugh. Everything about his return to sitcom stardom is mild, tucked in, determined not to offend," say the New York Times.
"It wants to be funny, it wants to be urbane, it wants to be human and it wants to nail every line. Where it fails miserably is in premise and character," added the Washington Post.
Fox fans shouldn't fear. Some critics loved it.
The San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "The Crazy Ones and The Michael J. Fox Show] have great, always likable stars heading up solid ensemble casts in well-written and mostly plausible shows. Who could ask for anything more?"
"The Michael J. Fox Show tries really hard to be as warm as a cup of cocoa yet hilariously irreverent. Maybe too hard.... On the plus side, Fox still oozes self-deprecating charm, and I love the sweet and playful chemistry he has with Brandt," wrote the San Jose Mercury News.
HitFix.com played it safe, opining, "It's more likable than funny, but it has a very clear sense of what it wants to do and how it wants to frame its star."
Catch The Michael J. Fox Show on NBC tonight.
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