"The Michael J. Fox Show" would be your typical comedy pilot struggling to find its groove, if it weren't for the incredibly warm and endearing presence the lead actor brings to the show.
He earns your good graces right from the start, although that's because he earned them several years ago, with "Family Ties" and "Spin City." Bottom line: Michael J. Fox missed us, and we certainly missed him.
The laughs are certainly there, and Fox does an incredible job bringing levity to the excruciating and debilitating disease of Parkinson's.
Betsy Brandt is also good here as Mike Henry's (Fox's character name) wife, and the supporting cast should do well, once they get over the typical Season 1 hump that many of NBC's shows in years past were forced go through (Seinfeld in particular, and I think that turned out okay for the network).
All in all, I was thrilled to see Michael J. Fox back on screen, in his element, winning over the hearts of millions of Americans with feel-good charm comparable to Jimmy Stewart on the big screen.
The territory is familiar, but refreshingly honest. It's also another show with long-range potential for NBC, and the network needs more TV shows that can go for more mileage than one or two seasons.
We love Michael J. Fox, not because he has Parkinson's, but because of his relentless dedication to his craft. We love him for his constant motivation to please us and get to know us, without ever saying anything to us in person. And because he teaches us that nothing can stop you from pursuing your dreams. It's a sappy message, but one that's impossible to not embrace.
"The Michael J. Fox Show" one-hour premiere airs tonight on WSLS 10 at 9 p.m.