"Family Ties" original plan was to center around two former hippy parents. It showed Meredith Baxter-Birney as television's first successful working wife and mother. Sure the 1970s started to showcase unmarried career women and single moms, but the sitcom world by the 1980s had yet to purge itself of wives serving as homemakers! The Keaton family showed a woman balancing a career and motherhood, only to be overshadowed by "The Cosby Show". In fact during the third season of "Family Ties" NBC sandwiched it on Thursday nights between two popular sitcoms: "The Cosby Show" and "Cheers"! After spending three seasons following Cosby the "Peacock Network" uprooted "Family Ties" and had it exiled to Sunday night, in order to make way for Lisa Bonet to star in a "Different World"; which was then a sorry "Cosby Show" spinoff! "Family Ties" served as great springboard for Michael J. Fox! As the series progressed the focus was taken off of the liberal parents and placed on MJF's character: the conservative Alex P. Keaton. It was clear to viewers that without Alex there wouldn't be much to the show! While Meredith Baxter had a proven track record, she was clearly overshadowed by Michael J. Fox. After Fox starred in "Back to the Future","Teenwolf" and other theatrical release blockbusters; he was clearly being groomed for superstardom! In fact he was being molded into the "All-American Boy"! Fox found himself correcting the media by saying he was an "All-Canadian Boy", because he was a native of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada! None of the juvenile stars of "Family Ties" had the screen presence of Michael J. Fox. He was the only one that had a promising future after the series ended.There was good chemistry between him and the adult stars. There were many laughs when Alex's conservative views clashed with the left-leaning views of his parents. This is also combined with the awkwardness of adolescense and taking pride in the fact that he was smart. He exudes the real world sarcasm towards his younger sisters. Everyone else seemed to serve as interchangable leggo pieces! "Family Ties" without Michael J. Fox was like "Corn Flakes" without the milk!