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Review: ‘The Conners’ lacks Roseanne’s bite but provides a satisfying meal

The Conner family has to adjust to life without Roseanne. “The Conners” is already doing so.

ABC’s sitcom (Tuesday, 8 EDT/PDT, ★★★ out of four), a spinoff rising from the ashes of the “Roseanne” revival’s May cancellation, is missing a major asset, fired series namesake Roseanne Barr, along with the sharp, controversial political bite (and P.R. headaches) that characterized her return last spring as a President Trump-supporting conservative. 

Nevertheless, it’s better than might be expected after an emergency star-ectomy.  “The Conners” keeps much of what’s  best about the original classic – the sarcasm, the blue-collar grit, topical issues and schmaltz-free emotion – as it evolves into a more traditional family sitcom, one that still focuses on the often-neglected working class.

ABC screened two episodes for TV critics: Tuesday’s premiere, which immediately addresses matriarch Roseanne Conner’s absence – we’re not allowed to say how she exits, although co-star John Goodman accidentally let slip in an interview that she died – and a later episode, featuring a guest appearance by Johnny Galecki as the estranged husband of Darlene (Sara Gilbert), the Conners’s daughter. 

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