Airing from 1982 to 1989, Family Ties was unique for reflecting not only the decade in which it was set, but also (through the back story and attitudes of the Elyse and Steven Keaton), the cultural changes and liberalism of the 60s and 70s. Through Michael J. Fox’s Alex P. Keaton, the series tacked the cultural divide of the generation of kids in the 1980s rejecting the counterculture of previous decades. And much hilarity did ensue. Middle sister Mallory, played by Justine Bateman, was also far more traditional than her feminist mother. Only Tina Yothers’ Jennifer embraced the views of her parents.
Orignally pitched as “hip parents, square kids,” audiences so loved Alex, that the show soon focused around Fox’s character, a part he almost didn’t get. Fox got the role after Mathew Broderick turned it down and he certainly made it his own. Commenting on how the sitcom was truly unique to the 80s, creator Gary David Goldberg pointed out “When else could a boy with a briefcase become a national hero?”
Notable stars who dropped by to visit with the Keaton family include Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Courtney Cox.