The Conners (Season 1) (2018)

This spin-off to the “Roseanne” revival is inconsistent and occasionally spotty, which is not particularly surprising given the whirlwind of negative press that led to its inception in the first place. The furious public response to Roseanne’s racist tweet was intense enough to drive the showrunners to kill off the character in a disappointing, rather vicious manner, which leaves a dark stain on the rest of this introductory season. The elephant in the room is addressed head on in the first episode, which is also its best thanks in part to Mary Steenburgen’s electrifying guest performance, and while the show does struggle to find its footing without its former namesake it manages to deliver strong results here and there. The writing is often hilarious but some of the performances are off-key, like Lecy Goranson (as Becky) and Matthew Broderick in a thankless supporting role, and it’s hard not to notice that there’s something missing. It’s a shame that Roseanne’s off-screen behavior has always marred her creation, and she screwed herself and the audience out of a strong second arc for the Conner family. For now, there’s enough here to warrant at least one watch, but hopefully the second season will be tighter and more focused.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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