Headlines, Television

Why aren’t we watching The Michael J. Fox Show?

A few days ago I read a piece claiming the inevitable demise of NBC’s The Michael J. Fox Show and was saddened by the prospect of it ending so quickly. While ratings seem to have somewhat propped back up after the Chris Christie guest-starring episode (at least in the 18-49 demo), there is an air of weariness to it that indicates perhaps, the full season pick-up it received was a little premature.

It’s a shame really, because while The Michael J. Fox Show trades contemporary humourism for a more classic, older comedy routine, there is still a lot to like from it. Mostly because it’s Michael J. Fox (playing one-time NBC anchor Mike Henry who returns to the network as a reporter) and there is still something about him that captivates the screen. His vulnerability and charm come across sharper than its ever been and in reality, much of the show’s humour hinges on him being on screen (which thankfully, is for the majority of the show).

There are some struggles of course, the Modern Family-esque mockumentary narrative leaves a lot to be desired and would benefit the show greatly if it were written out completely. Secondly, some of the characters struggle greatly to really come across as appealing; namely Michael J. Fox’s on-screen sister (played by Katie Finneran) and his eldest son (newcomer Conor Romero). Both are unfunny and unfortunately, so unbelievably unbelievable the only ground they break is that of one dimensionality. Anne Heche’s guest starring role as Mike’s office spoil? Like a throwback to Murphy Brown except without the cantankerous Candice Bergen charm … leaving it more of an annoyance than anything else.

What does the Fox say?

What does the Fox say?

So what’s good about the show you ask? Well, Michael J. Fox. He’s that good that he’ll make up for the rest of the show’s shortcomings and awkward humour. He’ll play a Parkinsons joke and you’re about the burst out laughing before you stop and question your moral ground… then you see Fox light up on screen and laugh along with the joke and you know it’s okay.

There’s a sense that the show wants to find middle ground between the humour of the day (shows like Parks and Recs, Community) and remain relevant, and the humour Michael J. Fox did so well in both Family Ties and Spin City. Perhaps this writer is showing his age when he says that it would probably be advantageous for the show if it didn’t bother trying to be like Modern Family, and that there is a good family dynamic in this show that needs further exploration.

The show doesn’t need to try and be hip and contemporary, and it certainly doesn’t need to be a Parks and Recreation. The Michael J. Fox Show has one of the most enduring and well-loved personalities to have ever graced the small screen and it would be a mistake to try and cast the light on this show around anything, or anyone else. 22 episodes is how long it has to prove to NBC that its worth keeping around, and while the numbers will probably be less than stellar come season’s end, the show has a core that needs some time and life to breathe. Something sadly, doesn’t exist in the world of television.

Let’s start watching.

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The Michael J. Fox Show airs Thursday nights on NBC.

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Few words are needed really, but Michael J. Fox is back on TV. After his humorous cameo stint on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Michael J. Fox returns to network television with his first show since Spin City in the aptly named The Michael J. Fox Show.

The show is part of NBC’s new line up for next season. It’s great to see Fox back on TV in a starring role.

 

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Television

MTV’s Teen Wolf looks no fun at all

MTV have debuted the trailer for their upcoming revision of the 1985 hit comedy film.

The new series is about a teen (Tyler Posey) in search of an identity in high school. His friend (Dylan O’Brien) convinces him to venture into the woods where is he soon bitten by a werewolf. Things take a teen-romance turn when new girl Allison (Crystal Reed) comes to town. Her father, like herself, appear to be hiding more than what is first revealed.

The network has been quoted as saying the new series takes the same name of the film, Teen Wolf, but is unlike the original, and instead has a more American Werewolf in London atmosphere to it. The new series is an MTV co-production with MGM and its pilot was directed by Russell Mulcahy (Highlander, Resident Evil: Extinction) and written by Jeff Davis (creator of Criminal Minds). Executive Producers include Davis, Marty Adelstein (Prison Break) and Michael Thorn of Lost Marbles TV and Ren Echevarria (Medium, Castle). No air date has been released as of yet.

After viewing the trailer (above), we are left with a distinctly uneasy feel. We understand the need to modernize old great ideas, but if you were to take Teen Wolf and make it less an enjoyable comedy and more of a Twilight/Vampire Diaries escapade without the vampires, wouldn’t it make sense to call it something else? And since you are going for an American Werewolf in London feel, how about you call it American Werewolf?

Anyone who remembers the original Teen Wolf will fondly recall the film’s humorous moralism and its well-meaning ideals. The film is an iconic institution of the wonderful madcap innocence of the 1980s, and to call a modernized series that bears little resemblance the same name is a blatant misuse of the title. We are not saying MTV’s series won’t be good, because it very well could be, but why use the name? No one could come up with anything original? And why are these series all so miserable? Don’t kids these days have any fun?

Michael J. Fox should be outraged.

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Film, Videos

Michael J. Fox returns to Back to the Future

To promote the 25th anniversary (wow) reunion of Back to the Future at the upcoming Spike TV Scream Awards, Michael J. Fox has gone back to the film that made him a global name, shooting a scene-for-scene remake of the original teaser trailer. The original can be viewed here.

This news comes on the back of footage that has appeared showing original actor Eric Stoltz in the role of Marty McFly. Stoltz was originally cast in the role and director Robert Zemeckis had filmed up to 5 weeks with the actor before ultimately deciding Fox was the better fit.

Back to the Future fans can catch special screenings of the film at AMC Theatres throughout the United States next week.

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