If ever there was a show that owed its fans a redo, it's "Roseanne."

When the classic sitcom about the blue-collar Conner family signed off the air in May 1997, it was revealed that the show's surreal final season was a figment of matriarch Roseanne Conner's (Roseanne Barr) imagination after she turned to writing to deal with the death of her husband, Dan (John Goodman). The Conners hadn't won the lottery after all, and daughters Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and Becky (Lecy Goranson) had swapped husbands in Roseanne's imagination. It was a total slap in the face for fans that had embraced these true-to-life characters and made "Roseanne" such a smash hit.

Now, those fans are getting their apology through a revival of the show that's timely, relevant, smart and real - all the things the show had forgotten it was 20 years ago. And, oh yeah, it's hilarious too.

When we are re-introduced to the Conner family, Darlene and her kids have moved home to take care of Roseanne and Dan. Son D.J. (Michael Fishman) has recently returned from a tour of duty in Syria, while his wife is still overseas.

Roseanne and her sister, Jackie (Academy Award nominee Laurie Metcalf), are barely speaking because of who each voted for in the 2016 presidential election.

In the premiere, the issue of Dan's "death" is dealt with quickly as, much like "Will & Grace," the controversial ending gets swept under the rug.

Becky announces that she's decided to be a surrogate for a woman she barely knows (Sarah Chalke, who also played Becky) turning Roseanne and Dan's world upside-down.

Dan and Roseanne also are having trouble dealing with Darlene's son, Mark (Ames McNamara), wearing girls' clothes. Roseanne and Jackie finally confront their differences, and Dan and Roseanne deal with not being able to afford their medications or Roseanne's knee surgery.

I didn't watch "Roseanne" much in its heyday, so my first reaction to the three episodes ABC provided was, "Was the show always this funny?" I laughed out loud a lot, mostly at Metcalf, whose ex-cop turned life coach gets most of the good laughs.

The writing is topical, but it doesn't hit you over the head with political opinions. The magic of "Roseanne" has always been the realism of the Conner family, and that's definitely still the case here - only with today's problems.

But the thing that really makes the revival work is the chemistry amongst the cast, who act like they never stopped working together. You truly believe these people are a family, which makes you care about them all the more.

I'm generally opposed to revivals, but "Roseanne" is truly a show whose time has come again - especially when it's this good. "Roseanne" premieres at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, on ABC.

Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact her at ahenderson-bentley@hotmail.com.


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