10 premieres The Conners with a double episode next Thursday and it starts with the worst kept secret in television – Roseanne Conner is dead! It’s from an opioid overdose, a storyline that started in the reboot series, but was unseen in Australia because 10 yanked it after that vile Twitter racist rant.
Roseanne Barr’s tweet deserved some punishment, but instead she has been obliterated from TV history. Her groundbreaking sitcom doesn’t air or stream anywhere any more and it could even be locked away with Hey Dad and The Cosby Show in some vault. No great loss with those others, but Roseanne was a great show. And that’s why The Conners can continue because it has a legacy of socially relevant stories and keeps doing them today, whether it’s Darlene’s (Sara Gilbert) cross-dressing son or Becky’s battle with the bottle.
The Conners will survive without Roseanne because Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) and Dan (John Goodman) are still there, and so is the entire original cast. Wonder if it’s a one-off that Mary Steenburgen is a guest star because, although there is some grieving to do, Dan, like all great sitcom widows, will be paired with various women while gauging audience reaction.
Other guest stars like Matthew Broderick, Justin Long, and Johnny Galecki (perfectly timed with The Big Bang Theory ending) are around for romantic interest, but this show is still driven by its female characters. Roseanne might be gone, but her rage and madness still live on in the other Lanford women.
My Brilliant Friend, starting Tuesday on Fox Showcase, is another female-centric story, but this is a sumptuous sweeping saga over several decades. The small village, near Naples, Italy, is described as having “men that were always getting furious, but then they calmed down whereas the women flew into a rage that had no limit and no end” leaving them as “angry as starving dogs”.
Although that could be any episode synopsis of Roseanne, this HBO drama, its first European commission, is another saga soaked in family and friendship. It’s based on a bestselling novel and once upon a time that would have made it a must-see miniseries event over successive nights. Today, there is a must-see drama to watch every week and frankly, I’m exhausted. I’d still find some time to watch those missing episodes of Roseanne though.