It's safe to say we're speaking for all TV fans when we say we're thrilled to see Michael J. Fox return to NBC this fall with a new sitcom. As thrilled as Alex P. Keaton learning Reagan just got re-elected. (Well, maybe not that thrilled. But close.)
But we do have one lingering concern: How will Fox's on-camera persona be affected by his well-publicized bout with Parkinson's disease -- which forced him to leave his last full-time TV gig, ABC's "Spin City," in 2000?
Well, the first trailer for Fox's new series, "The Michael J. Fox Show," just came out (you can watch it below), and rather than hide from his disease, Fox tackles it head-on with a surprising amount of biting humor. After all, laughter is the best medicine, right?
Fox plays Mike Henry, a TV news reporter who left his job to focus on his health after being diagnosed with Parkinson's. Now he has his family's blessing to jump back into the TV game. But this isn't a gooey, heartwarming schmaltz-fest. In fact, it's clear that Mike's family is more than ready to get him out of the house.
As Mike's wife Annie ("Breaking Bad's" Betsy Brandt) tells the camera, "For twenty years, he's poured everything he had into work. Now he pours it all into us. Yay!" (That "Yay!" is sarcastic, by the way.) When Mike announces he's going back to work, his wife and kids all let out a collective sigh of relief.
And the show actually mines Fox's disease for punchlines. Mike's shaky hands (a side effect of the Parkinson's) betray him when he tries to call his wife and misdials 911 -- leading the cops to bust down his door. He jokes to a co-worker during a bumpy van ride, "For me, this is perfectly still." And the trailer's biggest laugh comes when the family waits patiently for Mike to spoon… out… some… eggs... until Annie just grabs the spoon away: "Can you not have a personal victory right now? We are starving!"
It's not a shock that Fox still has his TV fastball: He's made great guest appearances in recent years on "The Good Wife" (as attorney Louis Canning) and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (as himself). But carrying his own sitcom for 22 episodes is a whole other story. Still, this trailer, and the show's irreverent take on its star's real-life disease, has us thinking Fox could make Thursdays on NBC must-see TV again.
"The Michael J. Fox Show" airs Thursdays at 9:30 PM this fall on NBC.