Roseanne: The Complete First Season

Though it was ultimately one of the highest rated sitcoms of the '90s, Roseanne remains one of the most underrated series of all time. Often (rightfully) criticised for its bizarre final season and its vulgar representation of lower class America, in its prime, Roseanne blended wit, important "issues" and spectacular comedic acting that placed it above most of its counterparts in every possible way. Its first season, however, is not the best representation of the series' strengths. As most series find, the first season is often a bit messy, and the intimacy of the cast is yet to be established. Roseanne in particular is lacking in the acting skills she acquired in the next few seasons, and the Conner children (Lecy Goranson, Sara Gilbert and Michael Fishman) seem like typically cardboard child actors. (In later seasons, Gilbert in particular would prove one of the finest, and funniest, representations of teen angst in television history). But more than enough clues as to what was to come are present. The lines are quick and very well written, and Roseanne's husband and sister, John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf, respectively, bring warmth and spirit to what could have been second banana roles. Many of the episodes are worthy of numerous repeated viewings, if not simply for the multiple appearances of a young George Clooney as Roseanne and Jackie's boss. The set also contains a number of excellent extras, including a fantastic blooper reel and interviews with both Roseanne and Goodman. Scenes from future seasons can be found throughout the interviews, which make one hungry for more. Roseanne is the type of series that warrants ownership of every season created (except the last one of course; one should pretend it never occurred), and although not its finest hour, the first season is a good start. (Anchor Bay)