Family Ties

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  • TV-G
  • 1982
  • 7 Seasons
  • 7.3  (20,261)

Family Ties was one of the most popular sitcoms during its run on CBS from 1982 to 1989. The series was created by Gary David Goldberg and revolved around the Keaton family, based in Columbus, Ohio. The show featured Meredith Baxter as Elyse Keaton, a proud feminist and architect, and Michael Gross as Steven Keaton, a former hippie who had become a public television manager. Together, they raised their four children: Alex, Mallory, Jennifer, and Andrew.

Michael J. Fox played the character of Alex P. Keaton, the oldest and most ambitious of the Keaton children. Alex was a staunch conservative who held President Ronald Reagan in high esteem and aspired to be a rich and powerful businessman in the future. Justine Bateman played Mallory Keaton, the eldest daughter, who was more interested in fashion and boys than education. They were joined by Tina Yothers as Jennifer Keaton, the youngest daughter, and Brian Bonsall as Andrew Keaton, the youngest son.

Throughout its seven seasons, Family Ties was distinguished for its sharp writing, strong performances, and its ability to address relevant issues while remaining funny and engaging. The show tackled various political and social issues, including feminism, Reaganomics, the Cold War, and the AIDS crisis. One of the show's most memorable episodes was "A, My Name Is Alex," where Alex deals with the emotional aftermath of a friend's suicide attempt.

In addition to the family dynamic, the show also highlighted the close relationship between Alex and his best friend, Skippy (played by Marc Price). Skippy was the goofy, lovable neighbor who was always around the Keaton household, whether for dinner or for advice from Steven. Tracy Pollan, who later became Michael J. Fox's wife, appeared on the show as Ellen Reed, Alex's college girlfriend.

Towards the end of its run, Family Ties introduced a new character, Nick Moore, played by Scott Valentine. Nick was a former bandmate of Steven's who became a love interest for Mallory. Courteney Cox also had a recurring role on the show as Alex's girlfriend, Lauren Miller.

Family Ties was known for its exceptional cast, especially Michael J. Fox, who became a breakout star and solidified his place in pop culture history. His portrayal of Alex P. Keaton earned him three consecutive Emmy awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series from 1986 to 1988. The show itself was also a critical and commercial success, winning numerous awards and consistently ranking in the top ten highest-rated shows on TV.

Overall, Family Ties was a beloved sitcom that captured the zeitgeist of its time while remaining timeless in its portrayal of a loving and quirky family. Its legacy continues to be felt in countless other family comedies that have followed in its footsteps.

Family Ties is a series that is currently running and has 7 seasons (176 episodes). The series first aired on September 22, 1982.

Family Ties
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Alex Doesn't Live Here Anymore  (2)
26. Alex Doesn't Live Here Anymore (2)
May 14, 1989
Alex and Elyse need to have a talk after a blow up over his accepting a new job in NY, and his shunning of his family, calling him arrogant and inconsiderate. Come the next morning, Alex is off for his new life.
Alex Doesn't Live Here Anymore  (1)
25. Alex Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1)
May 14, 1989
Elyse is stunned when Alex announces he has landed a dream job on Wall Street in NY, and will be required to move their immediately.
Mr. Keaton Takes a Vacation
24. Mr. Keaton Takes a Vacation
May 7, 1989
Mallory asks if Nick can stay at the Keaton home while his apartment gets painted. Steven is not too enthusiastic about the situation and even bunkers down in the living room to assure that no hanky panky will occur with Mallory.
Wrap Around the Clock  (2)
23. Wrap Around the Clock (2)
April 23, 1989
The Keaton's share their fondest memories as they help Andy with his time capsule about his family history.
Wrap Around the Clock  (1)
22. Wrap Around the Clock (1)
April 23, 1989
Andy needs help in planning a Keaton family time capsule which includes a history of them all.
Rain Forests Keep Falling on My Head
21. Rain Forests Keep Falling on My Head
April 16, 1989
Jennifer invites her whole family to participate in making the world ecologically sound after hearing about its condition in her science class.
They Can't Take That Away From Me  (2)
20. They Can't Take That Away From Me (2)
April 9, 1989
Alex's situation between Lauren and Marty heightens when they all meet in the school cafeteria. Although Alex needs to work on his valedictory address for the graduation ceremonies, he finds himself talking to the images of Freud, Sartre and Shakespeare for advice.
They Can't Take That Away From Me  (1)
19. They Can't Take That Away From Me (1)
April 2, 1989
Alex begins his first economics lecture at Leland college when he is interrupted by a scatter brained female music student. Soon, he finds himself attracted to this girl and puts his relationship with Lauren under a strain.
All in the Neighborhood  (2)
18. All in the Neighborhood (2)
March 19, 1989
Steven and Elyse learn of Gus and Maya's work they did in the civil rights demonstrations back in the '60's after returning home to find their living room has been destroyed by bigoted vandals.
All in the Neighborhood  (1)
17. All in the Neighborhood (1)
March 12, 1989
Steven and Elyse discover they live in a racist neighborhood when Steve's black co-worker, Gus, moves into the house across the street from them.
Simon Says
16. Simon Says
March 5, 1989
Jennifer and her friend Simon begin working at a fast food diner. When an infatuated Simon proves to be inept, it's Jennifer who comes to the rescue and in turn receives a promotion, which means she will need to fire her friend. Meanwhile, Alex becomes the object of an 11 year old girl's desires.
'Til Her Daddy Takes the T-Bird Away
15. 'Til Her Daddy Takes the T-Bird Away
February 26, 1989
Steven backs out as a cosigner for a car loan for Mallory, after overhearing that she plans on taking a cross country trip with Nick in it. But Mallory won't let that stop her as she decides to buy a car from Nick's father in which she can afford by herself.
My Best Friend's Girl
14. My Best Friend's Girl
February 19, 1989
Lauren offers to help Skippy after he confesses that he has trouble with women. He takes the sessions a bit to seriously when he falls in love with her.
The Wrecker's Ball
13. The Wrecker's Ball
February 12, 1989
Elyse is heartbroken when she learns the first building she ever designed is scheduled for demolition, and the family backs he in the attempt to get it stopped. Meanwhile, Mallory is taking up acupuncture.
The Job Not Taken
12. The Job Not Taken
February 5, 1989
Alex is chosen to work for a brokerage firm, but will he give up his dream job when he discovers the man he is replacing is the man who recommended him?
Get Me to the Living Room on Time
11. Get Me to the Living Room on Time
January 29, 1989
Andy befriends an elderly couple who Steven has decided will be the main focus of his next PBS documentary. The family lends its home for the site of the couple's wedding, which is being protested by the groom's son.
Nick's Best Friend
10. Nick's Best Friend
January 15, 1989
Nick is reunited with his best friend from his childhood, his mangy mutt named Spunkers. While at a birthday party for Andy, Spunkers is hit by a car.
Deja Vu
9. Deja Vu
January 8, 1989
Mallory is worried that Jennifer's new boyfriend will break her heart as his older brother once did to her years earlier.
Basic Training
8. Basic Training
January 1, 1989
Low test scored at Grant College has Skippy considering dropping out of school and joining the Army.
Heartstrings  (3)
7. Heartstrings (3)
December 18, 1988
Steven has finally arrived home after his grueling heart surgery and has trouble adjusting to his new restrictions and feels like the family is treating him as an invalid.
Heartstrings  (2)
6. Heartstrings (2)
December 11, 1988
Steven is undergoing a major heart operation. During the five hour procedure, the kids gather around the waiting room in support for their mom as they discuss the possible outcomes.
Heartstrings  (1)
5. Heartstrings (1)
December 4, 1988
Steven suffers a heart attack after jogging with Elyse. He is rushed to the hospital but no one can find out what his condition is.
Beyond Therapy
4. Beyond Therapy
November 27, 1988
Alex and Lauren's relationship has suddenly hit a snag, which prompts her to convince Alex to attend a couples counseling session.
3. Truckers
November 13, 1988
Nick's nephew and Andy have become good friends which leaves Alex feeling left out.
Designing Woman
2. Designing Woman
November 6, 1988
Mallory loves her new job in the fashion world but soon learns that it's a dog-eat-dog world when her boss steals her ideas for a new fashion line for the working woman.
It Happened One Night
1. It Happened One Night
October 30, 1988
Steven and Elyse want to take the kids camping, but they believe that they have outgrown such frivolity. As they leave with Andy, Steven and Elyse plant a guilt trip on the kids and soon they are on their way to surprise everyone at the campsite, along with Nick and Lauren. But the only map in the car is for ancient Greece, a few thousand miles from their destination.
Where to Watch Family Ties
Family Ties is available for streaming on the CBS website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Family Ties on demand at Paramount+, Amazon Prime, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, Apple TV and Pluto TV.
  • Premiere Date
    September 22, 1982
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (20,261)