'The Conners' Finally Lives up to Original 'Roseanne' Series, Critics Say

The reviews are in for The Conners, ABC's Roseanne spinoff, earning positive notices from critics who say the series is a good follow-up, even without Roseanne Barr.

ABC ordered The Conners over the summer as a replacement for Roseanne, which they cancelled after Barr sent a racist tweet about former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett. The new series includes all of the original Roseanne cast aside from Barr, including John Goodman, Sara Gilbert and Laurie Metcalf. Barr's name appears nowhere on the series, and Entertainment Weekly pointed out that Barr's image is even missing from family photos in the Conner home.

The critics did not give away how Barr is written out of the show. However, Barr claimed her character died from an opioid overdose.

EW's Kristen Baldwin gave The Conners' the episodes critics saw a "B," writing that "The Conners is an above-average family comedy with a strong cast and sharply-drawn characters that could very well exist for several seasons on their own — if, of course, the audience is able to let go of the past."

Baldwin later wrote, "Will this be enough for viewers, queasy about what came before, to give The Conners a chance? For those on the fence, I'd say if you liked the original and its short-lived revival, this new incarnation will feel like a new — and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny — window into the lives of old friends."

Indiewire's Michael Schneider wrote that the show is allowed to go deeper into the characters' lives without Barr's politics getting in the way.

"Now, that's the show's true core, and the attention isn't on its lead character's politics. And it's not just Darlene's plight: Every character on this show is facing their own disappointments, as their lives haven't quite panned out as expected," Schneider wrote. "Life in Lanford doesn't look much different than it did 30 years ago, and that lends to the show's dark, somewhat tragic comedy."

Variety's Caroline Framke wrote that the show could become great if it is allowed to stand on its own terms and if fans of the original series continue to watch.

"Going forward, The Conners will likely split the difference, mentioning [Roseanne] in passing while continuing to have the Conners live their lives. As it stand now, the series has a fighting chance of becoming great on its own terms — but for that, the Roseanne audience will have to actually care enough beyond their basic curiosity to stay tuned and find out," Framke wrote.

The Hollywood Reporter's Daniel Fienberg also wrote a positive review, also noting that the show does not emphasize politics, but is still about world views and ideologies.

"It's absolutely still a show about ideology or world-view, but it's that without ever saying 'Trump' or 'Clinton' or 'Democrat' or 'Republican' once," Fienberg wrote. "The questions are about how you pay for medical bills or how you raise children or how you handle difference."

Deadline's Dominic Patten gave the show negative marks, comparing it to Two and a Half Men without Charlie Sheen.

The Conners kicks off on ABC Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. ET.

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