When The Conners return to TV tonight, minus their matriarch Roseanne, viewers will have a new look at the beloved blue-collar family after “a sudden turn of events” forces the family to “face the daily struggles of life in Lanford in a way they never have before.”
While it’s a sure bet that means Mama Rosie met her maker, there will also be some unexpected twists and turns as Dan and his clan find their new normal.
Viewers last saw the Conners in the Roseanne finale episode “Knee Deep” earlier this year. The series ended with the Conners dealing with a catastrophic basement flood as Dan (John Goodman) struggled over how to pay for Roseanne’s much-needed knee surgery. There was also a storyline about Roseanne’s addiction to pain medication, an arc that could come back to haunt the family on The Conners.
Here’s what can viewers expect when they tune into The Conners premiere episode “Keep On Truckin’.”
A Slight Time Jump
According to TV Line, The Conners spinoff picks up approximately three months after the events of last spring’s revival finale. The opening scene will feature the entire Conner family, including Roseanne’s mother Bev (Estelle Parsons), gathered in the kitchen.
A New Title Sequence
There has been a lot of talk about the iconic original opening to the show, which always ended with Roseanne Barr’s familiar cackle. For The Conners, a new opening title sequence has been created and it arrives at an unexpected point in the episode.
In an interview with TVLine, The Conners showrunner Bruce Helford said producers “certainly” had to create a new opening with Barr no longer part of the show. Helford also teased that for The Conners premiere, the opening will pop up in an unusual spot and “you’ll know it when you see it.”
Executive producer Dave Caplan told Variety, “The opening will be reflective of the new dynamic of the characters and we hope will still give people the same feeling of family and joy they have from the previous one.”
There are several new characters in the Roseanne spinoff, and one of them will be introduced early on. In the premiere episode, D.J.’s religious military wife Geena Williams-Conner (new series regular Maya Lynne Robinson) returns home from Afghanistan. A brief clip from the episode showed D.J. (Michael Fishman), Geena, and their daughter Mary (Jayden Rey) at church.
Several Emotional Scenes
Emotions will be running high for at least part of the episode. Goodman previously told The Sunday Times that his character will “be mopey and sad because his wife’s dead.” A new promo shows Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) breaking down as she says she doesn’t ever want to go home.
In addition, Mary Steenburgen will guest star as “a pivotal character ” in the episode— a character whose name was mentioned at least once in last season’s Roseanne revival, TV Line reports. The character will share a “harrowing” scene with Goodman as they argue on the Conner family’s front porch.
All of the Answers About Roseanne
Producers won’t shy away from the elephant in the room. All of the questions about what happened to Roseanne will be answered in the premiere—and not a minute before.
“We want people to watch the show and see what happens and how we [wrote Roseanne off],” executive producer Bruce Rasmussen told Variety. “You don’t want to be flip about how you do this. A lot of people cared about that character and it’s separate from whatever feelings they had about the person and her political views and the things she said. We wanted to honor that character.”
The “lack of the Roseanne character” will be tracked through multiple episodes of The Conners.
The Conners premieres Tuesday, October 16 at 8 p.m. on ABC.