For the first time since the loss of Roseanne Barr, the spinoff series considers a world with another woman in John Goodman's life.
It took eight episodes, but "The Conners" is finally ready to at least consider the possibility of John Goodman's Dan Conner moving on after the death of his wife, Roseanne, and they tapped a television legend to help.
One of the most iconic television actresses of the modern era looked absolutely radiant as an old classmate returning to Lanford after she failed to make her mark in the music industry. And while it's impossible to fully imagine "The Conners" attempting to replace Roseanne Barr at the heart of the show, you could do worse than Katey Sagal.
The venerable actress first gained our attention as the matriarch of TV's most dysfunctional family on "Married...with Children" before she took on a far more menacing character on "Sons of Anarchy." And yet, she fit right into the chemistry of "The Conners" like she'd been there for years.
It was admittedly a little obvious when she suddenly appeared behind the bar in the cold open to flirt with a clueless Dan, but even then we didn't mind. There was a sweetness to their banter and an instant chemistry.
It also happens that Sagal is a fantastic actress, more than capable of going toe-to-tow with Goodman, who can be an absolute powerhouse when he turns it on. We got a hint of that potential when he sat her down to talk seriously about her interest in him.
"I'm still in love with my wife," he said, spinning the wedding band he still wears on his left hand. It was a sweet moment that rang absolutely true, but it didn't close the door on their friendship and the possible burgeoning of a relationship.
It's unclear if Sagal has committed to more than just this one episode on "The Conners," but it would be great to see her return. Seeing Dan as a widower trying to navigate the world of dating (when he's ready) seems a logical extension of this show as it moves forward.
With solid ratings for ABC, "The Conners" seems a lock for a second season renewal, and this would certainly be a good story arc and journey for Dan to explore as the series progresses. It's a facet of life not often explored on television and with its pedigree in dealing with hard issues, this is the right series for it.
Plus, we'd love to see John Goodman step back to the front of the series with a storyline of his own, as he's largely mourned in the background as his daughters took the helm of the show. Not that we haven't enjoyed the evolution of their adult relationship, but any day we can get more John Goodman is a good day.
And any time we can see him smile is even better, and no matter how much he's not ready to move on from Roseanne, Louise makes him smile. And that's someone he needs in his life right now for sure.