You can add Roseanne to the growing pile of 1980s and/90s TV shows that are making a comeback. For nine seasons, the popular sitcom detailed the none-too-glamorous daily travails of the Conners, a working-class family scraping by in a small town in Illinois. Infused with star Roseanne Barr’s particular brand of humor, which she developed during a successful stand-up career, Roseanne was notable for its believable depiction of lower-class family life in middle-America; a subject that had seldom been tackled on network TV (and hasn’t been tackled that much since).
Roseanne was a ratings giant from the beginning and to this day remains one of the most-beloved sitcoms ever. The recent wave of revivals that has brought us new versions of popular shows Full House, One Day at a Time and Gilmore Girls appears ready to now sweep Roseanne back onto our screens for the first time since it signed off in 1997.
Deadline reports that a group including original producers Barr, Tom Werner and Bruce Helford along with Sara Gilbert (who starred as Darlene in the original) and Whitney Cummings are putting together a proposed limited-run Roseanne revival series. All the major original cast members, including John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf and Big Bang Theory star Johnny Galecki, are in talks to appear in the eight-episode series in one capacity or another. The show’s original network ABC is reportedly the front-runner to land the series, though revival-happy Netflix is also in the running.
In Roseanne, Barr played a no-nonsense mom running a family that included her reliable husband Dan (Goodman), and their three kids (Gilbert, Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman). Laurie Metcalf played Roseanne’s promiscuous sister Jackie, and Oscar-winner Estelle Parsons played their oddball mother Bev. Later seasons would see Johnny Galecki, Sandra Bernhardt, Martin Mull and Michael O’Keefe added to the cast. Sarah Chalke would memorably replace Goranson as daughter Becky, only to be dropped after one season when Goranson returned.
Though Roseanne made its mark as a true working-class sitcom, the show would evolve over its run and become less-believable in its depiction of the Conners and their lives. By season 9, Roseanne Barr had steered the show away from its roots, bringing in bizarre elements like the family shark-jumpingly winning the lottery, leading up to an audience-betraying final episode that revealed the entire series to have been a skewed representation of reality dreamed up by writer Roseanne.
Silly final seasons aside, Roseanne was a huge hit and in many ways a groundbreaking sitcom. Among other things, it launched John Goodman onto his career as one of Hollywood’s most valuable character actors (he missed out on most of season 9 because he was too busy filming The Big Lebowski). Seeing the Conners back together again will be a great nostalgia trip for fans, and hopefully that ninth and final season will simply be ignored or maybe explained away, as the result of Roseanne and Dan once again getting their hands on some skunky old pot.
We’ll bring you more details on the Roseanne revival as they become available.