The Michael J. Fox Show, Life With Parkinson's

Write a show about a family man with an incurable neurodegenerative condition, and make it funny and not manipulative. Okay, go.

In his forthcoming sitcom, Michael J. Fox portrays "New York's favorite newsman" who returns to work after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. That sounds fraught and potentially exploitative, but the just-released trailer fully anticipated those concerns and comes off self-aware and endearing and funny. The rolling chair bit at 1:40! 

NBC, the number-five television network in the United States, has The Michael J. Fox Show buried in a 9:30 slot this fall, so there's nowhere to go but up. As Richard Lawson pointed out, Fox's newsman role gives the network opportunities to crossover with other NBC properties like the spiraling Today show. Other crossover aspects are clearly biographical. The show stands to do good for a commonly misconceived medical condition, and potentially well.

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James Hamblin, MD, is a senior editor at The Atlantic. He writes the health column for the monthly magazine and hosts the video series If Our Bodies Could Talk.

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