Air Dates: September 22, 1982-May 14, 1989
Stars: Michael J. Fox, Justine Bateman, Meredith Baxter-Birney, Michael Gross
Michael J. Fox didn't always get to play the cool guy. Before he earned his stripes as Marty McFly in the Back to the Future franchise, he played Alex P. Keaton, the young Republican son of two former tree-huggers on NBC's Family Ties. Set in suburban Ohio during the Reagan era, the show followed the Keaton family. Yes, it's common to see offspring that are nothing like their parents, and Family Ties showed how kids often reject their parents values. However, they flipped it: Alex was dressing like a Capitol Hill staffer as a kid and his sister Mallory was the typical vapid teenage girl, the polar opposite of her feminist mother.
The show was really a sign of the times; it reflected how a whole generation of kids had moved away from the radicalism of the 1960s and 1970s in favor of conservatism. It's cute how the showrunners put a pretty little bow on the Reaganomics that fucked up the country during the 1980s, too. If you're crafting a documentary about what it meant to be white in America during the '80s, it wouldn't be complete without a segment on Family Ties.