When ABC announced The Conners, it was intended for a 10-episode premiere season. Well, the network has now ordered an additional episode, despite a ratings drop-off between the first two shows, demonstrating a vote of confidence in the series.
With the cancellation of Roseanne and the rest of the cast (minus Roseanne Barr) being given the chance to star in a spin-off, the question of whether or not people like John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert and the rest could pull it off was a legitimate one. In fact, when watching the first episode, the impression one was left with was that, yes, it was well done, but did this series really need to exist? Well, with the airing of episode two, “Tangled Up in Blue,” the answer came back a decided yes.
Whereas the death of Roseanne Conner (it was established she had died of an opioid overdose in the premiere) could have cast a shadow over the entire season, the writers decided to go in the opposite direction with the rest of the characters. Yes, there are references to her and there’s no question that they miss her, but this is a family that has dealt with a lot over the years, and they have always managed to pick up the pieces and move forward. That’s exactly what they’re doing here, and it doesn’t feel disrespectful or too quick. It feels like life.
Interestingly, the characters — from Dan to Darlene, Becky, Jackie and even David (guest star Johnny Galecki of The Big Bang Theory) — are given the opportunity to have a life outside of orbiting Roseanne. We can already see the cast further developing their own voices and deepening their characters in ways that they otherwise may not have been given the opportunity to do had the show remained Roseanne.
And just a quick side note: did anyone notice just how good Johnny was in episode two? There was virtually no trace of Leonard Hofstadter (his Big Bang Theory character he’s been playing for the past 12 years) in David, demonstrating his strength as an actor and our own hopes that should The Conners come back for a second season — and given that this is Big Bang‘s final year — he’ll be a part of it.
The Conners airs Tuesday nights on ABC.