For the past few years, Entertainment Weekly has released a Reunions issue, where they bring back cast members from your favorite movies and TV shows of yesteryear. This year's issue, which hits newsstands on Friday, features the beloved cast of Family Ties. Stars Michael J. Fox (Alex P. Keaton), Michael Gross (Steven Keaton), Meredith Baxter (Elyse Keaton), Justine Bateman (Mallory Keaton), Tina Yothers (Jennifer Keaton) and Tracy Pollan (Ellen Reed) all got together for a photo shoot and video interviews with both EW and the Today show, where they discussed the show's lasting impact, 26 years after it went off the air in 1989. Here's what Michael J. Fox had to say about how the show affected its fans.
"People grew up with Family Ties. That's a very special relationship I enjoy with people. I was there for a lot of big things in their lives. I wasn't physically there but I was a friend in their lives. It's really a blessing to be able to have people associate you with something pleasant and positive in their lives."
The show, created by Gary David Goldberg (Spin City), followed the Keaton's, lead by ex-hippie parents Steven and Elyse, and their conservative children. The show ran for seven seasons between 1982 and 1989, spanning 172 episodes and launching the iconic career of Michael J. Fox. While Michael J. Fox, Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter are still acting, Tina Yothers is now a stay-at-home mother with two children, and Justine Bateman is studying computer science and management full-time at UCLA. Although the show has been off the air for nearly three decades, Tina Yothers said that the cast has always stayed in touch.
"We definitely stayed in touch. It's probably more so than any normal job when you leave an office or workplace. And now with social media, Michael Gross for instance is all over Facebook. He is the Facebook king! My dad passed away 10 years ago and Michael reached out. He's been my dad. It's like we've never been apart."
The show even spawned a real-life romantic relationship as well. Tracy Pollan, who played Alex's girlfriend Ellen Reed on the show, has been married to Michael J. Fox for 27 years. While the show was always considered a comedy, it never shied away from a number of issues that many sitcoms would not have touched. Here's what Justine Bateman had to say about the show's dynamic.
"The show was more focused on getting Humanitas Awards than Emmys. Think about All in the Family, The Jeffersons, the topics they tackled. That's what was going before us, you know what I mean? We were in the early '80s, so we were all of that mind. There was an episode where Mallory's uncle makes a pass at her. I don't know if there was anything the [writers] wanted to do that the network said no to."
Family Ties fans can also see Michael Gross in the fifth installment of his long-running Tremors franchise, Tremors 5: Bloodlines, which debuted on Blu-ray and DVD yesterday. Michael J. Fox's timeless classic Back to The Future is celebrating its 30th Anniversary, with a new Blu-ray trilogy arriving in October 20, and all three movies coming back to theaters on October 21. Take a look at the video interviews below with the cast of Family Ties.