After months of controversy and curiosity but mostly controversy, The Conners will make its debut on Tuesday at 8/7c on ABC. However, on Friday morning, the network invited a handful of outlets — TVLine among them — to preview the Roseanne spinoff’s premiere as well as Episode 4 (featuring the return of Johnny Galecki’s David). The one caveat: We had to agree not to “discuss, imply or in any other way reveal what happens to the character of Roseanne Conner” in any of our pre-premiere coverage. Pretty much everything else was fair game. So, with that in mind, here are 10 snappy judgments/teases from this fall’s most anticipated “new” series. (Meanwhile, read Michael Ausiello’s “A” review here.)
* The spinoff picks up roughly three months after the events of last spring’s revival. The opening scene features the entire family — Bev included — gathered in the kitchen.
* The new opening title sequence arrives at an unexpected point in the episode — and it’s perfect.
* D.J.’s wife Geena (new series regular Maya Lynne Robinson) returns home from Afghanistan early on in the premiere. She’s very religious and likes to give D.J. a hard time.
* Last Man on Earth survivor Mary Steenburgen plays a pivotal character (whose name was mentioned in last season’s Roseanne revival). She shares an unforgettable scene with John Goodman.
* Becky’s dating again. Likewise, Justin Long is introduced as a potential love interest for Darlene, and he’s very much playing to type.
* If you enjoyed the revival’s second, Mark-centric episode, you’ll greatly appreciate a B-story that finds Darlene’s gender non-conforming son turning to Dan for advice about boys.
* Unless we missed it, there is not a single photo of Roseanne in the Conner household.
* Juliette Lewis fits right in as David’s hippie-dippy girlfriend Blue. She quickly oversteps her bounds with the kids (particularly with Harris), giving Darlene reason to dislike her.
* Dan is back on speaking terms with David, although some of the words he uses are super morbid (and really funny).
* After dealing with Roseanne’s pill addiction last season, another member of the family begins to seriously address his/her substance abuse issues.