Spin City: Michael J. Fox His All-Time Favorites, Volume One (review)

Michael J. Fox’s introductions to his favorite episodes of this ABC sitcom highlight perhaps the most important aspect of this 2-disc set: Spin City may well constitute his last live-action performances. In the recently shot video that precedes each episode, it’s obvious his Parkinson’s palsy has advanced to the point where acting would be difficult — but his enthusiasm for his work remains clear. Fox (Stuart Little 2) won an Emmy and several Golden Globes for his role as the “hapless” deputy mayor of New York, basically running the city himself and working overtime to protect the idiot mayor (Barry Bostwick) from putting his foot in his mouth too often. The laugh track, as with many sitcoms, is obnoxiously distracting, often overwhelming the sometimes subtle political humor while accenting more obvious yucks that don’t need accenting. But the slyness is still there: in Woody Harrelson’s school janitor who becomes “mayor for a day”; in the holiday-spirit-puncturing Christmas episode that Fox, with a giggle, terms “sick”; in the celebrity guests galore who poke fun at themselves, from Yankee baseballers to political players like James Carville. Fox shines above it all, a whirling dervish of energy and self-deprecation, and it’s all the more bittersweet to know that we’ll never see him like this again. The set lacks any extras, but the transfer is crisp and clear.

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