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Brooklyn Nine-Nine Review: Go Team!

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the best new comedy on television for two simple reasons:

  1. Andy Samberg.
  2. Andre Braugher.

Sitcoms are difficult to judge after one episode.,. or sometimes even one season. The best (Parks and Recreation, Community, New Girl) need time to dig into their characters, to learn who plays best with whom, to mine humor from established traits, relationships and flaws.

But Brooklyn Nine-Nine managed to come out of the gate without shooting blanks due to a pair of established stars in ideal roles.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine Premiere Pic

Samberg earned himself a loyal following for playing characters on Saturday Night Live that are similar to Detective Jake Peralta, although this officer is a bit more grounded than the guy who gifted his girlfriend with his junk in a box.

Jake is goofy, sweet, funny… and yet actually effective at his job. That last part is key.

Parks and Recreation - also created by Michael Schur and Dan Goor- struggled in its opening season by making Leslie Knope more bubbly than bureaucratic. The show took off when its lead became respected by those around her for an infectious enthusiasm that actually got things done.

Peralta already seems to be there. We quickly learn on the premiere that he's considered the best detective in the precinct, and then we get to witness his investigative acumen for ourselves. This is helpful for the long-term success of the series. Viewers wouldn't be able to take it seriously if a cop just went around wearing G-strings and leading fire extinguisher races all the time. He needs to actually put away bad guys.

Then there's Braugher.

One of the best dramatic actors on television, this is his first comedic role (although he told us he considered Men of a Certain Age to be a comedy), though he's playing the straightest of straight men.

Still, producers clearly know what they have in the former Homicide and Last Resort star, giving an unusually heavy storyline for a half-hour comedy: Captain Holt is gay and yearning to prove that he deserves the opportunity that has finally been afforded to him. Talk about an unexpected development. It lends gravitas to a show already built around the fairly serious subjects of burglaries and murders, making Brooklyn Nine-Nine feel unlike any sitcom on television.

The rest of the supporting cast is solid - Terry Crews as a sergeant who is happy to be behind a desk; Joe Lo Truglio as the awkward hard worker; Melissa Fumero as Jake's rival/potential love interest; Chelsea Peretti as a quirky civilian aide; Stephanie Beatriz as a scarily serious detective - each possessing a few clear traits that can be fleshed out in future episodes.

But this is Samberg and Braugher's vehicle and they led the pilot with aplomb. There were multiple laugh-out-loud moments, yet most importantly there was groundwork to be laid for an office comedy with strong lead and supporting players. And, thanks to the four men in charge of Brooklyn Nine-Nine (the two in front of the camera, Schur and Goor behind it), there's every reason to believe that in plenty more humor down the tie-wearing road.

What did you think of the Brooklyn Nine-Nine premiere? Grade it now:

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (43 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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    10 Comments New Comment Subscribe

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    Joyeful, you hit it with the "Cagney and Lacey" line. I laughed so much I had to rewind to hear what happened next! (And they're not bad names, either.)

    I was mixed about the pilot. Maybe it was that gravitas. Then again, I liked the seriousness of Andre Braugher; it added depth to what could be just a superficial comedy. And his smile at the end after Peralta left reminded me of Leroy Jethro Gibbs—a hardass who cares so much for his team.

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    I enjoyed it... a little less Samberg and more of the the capt & detectives...the nerd/dork detective needs to go or change - too unbelievably unreal. Has some good writing and not to be taken seriously....just sit back and enjoy

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    I would watch Andre Braugher read the back of a cereal box. Looking forward to seeing more of this series.

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    what show were you people watching? the pilot empisode was terrible.

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    the show stunk period.

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    Ya, that was a funny pilot. Hope the writers still have some juices...

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    I loved the pilot! Andy Samberg really is amazing. And him and Andre really play off each other well. I love that the captain doesn't actually punish him too much, just tries to beat him at his own game. And being a huge OLTL fan, I loved seeing Melissa Fumero play opposite him. Good for her! I hope this show sticks around! It's a GREAT Tuesday night line up! I really cracked up at the white noise being racist comment.

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    So far it is ok, but not the best.

    Joyeful

    They had me at "my twin daughters, Cagney and Lacey..."

    I quite enjoyed this. I think Samberg managed to hit a sweet spot between cocky and likeable - and I think it's because his team likes him. Often the cocky character has trouble working in a team, trouble following orders, ego getting in the way of the job and workplace relationships. Peralta has a little trouble with authority, but not so much so that it affects his job and his place on a team. That's a good start to the character.

    Braugher (who to me is the best voice of Darkseid ever) was fantastic - funny and compelling. Crews playing against type is going to be interesting. Everything Lo Truglio did made me laugh.

    The only supporting character I wasn't quite feeling was Melissa Fumero's. She'll take some time.

    Fortyseven

    Samberg ruins it.




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