The recent Roseanne revival went from ABC’s dream show to its nightmare in just a few tweets. Even rivaling juggernaut The Big Bang Theory as most popular comedy on television, ABC found a huge hit despite middling reception and some big political baggage from star Roseanne Barr. The latter issue wound up mattering more as Barr’s mouth wound up sinking the show in mere hours after posting vulgar tweets.
Apparently, ABC could not let the publicity around the show (and Barr) wither without capitalizing on it, so in comes the Roseanne spinoff The Conners. Basically, it’s Roseanne without Roseanne. Original series cast members John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman will reprise their roles as the Conner family in this spinoff. Additionally, multiple writers from season 10 including show-runner Bruce Helford are also returning.
All in all, this seems like season 11 of Roseanne with the title character photoshopped out. There are multiple reasons ABC would want to push this spinoff. First, the aforementioned stars already signed on for another season of Roseanne, so in a use it or lose it scenario, may as well put your talent to work. Second and more importantly, Roseanne did really well. The 11th season was slated to earn ABC tens of millions of dollars in revenue. I can’t really blame the studio for trying to make money off of a dead mega-hit, but unless the show will be another season of Roseanne and not a spinoff, it won’t have that uniqueness or hook shows need now.
I definitely think we’re at peak Roseanne right now; the controversy is still fresh and many people did enjoy the show. However, without Barr serving as a lightning rod for publicity, I can’t see this spinoff being as controversial as the revival or recapturing the special message the original series has. The original Roseanne took heartfelt, real looks at working through familial problems, especially those relating to economics and class. With the matriarch gone, the family dynamic and show will have to change pretty dramatically to not disappear behind Roseanne and Roseanne’s shadow. I’m all for this spinoff though, if only for morbid curiosity and seeing how shows adapt when they lose their star.