TV Review: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’

Brooklyn nine nine

So-so Fox comedy will test Andy Samberg's appeal beyond 'SNL' digital shorts

Despite the odd amusing moments and an appealing cast, Andy Samberg vehicle “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” demonstrates the difference between a “Saturday Night Live” digital short and an actual pilot, much less a series. Scarcely deviating from his goofball persona, Samberg stars in this comedy about an immature cop suddenly saddled with a straightlaced (but not, as it turns out, straight) captain, played by the always welcome Andre Braugher. Not as wacky as “Police Squad” or as droll as “Barney Miller,” “Brooklyn” occupies a comedic no-man’s land — affecting an irreverent tone seemingly designed to keep as many people out as it invites in.

The general conceit is that Samberg’s Jake Peralta has pretty much free rein around the precinct — he’s the Hawkeye Pierce of cops, irreverent and unorthodox, but effective in getting the job done — until Braugher’s by-the-book Capt. Ray Holt arrives. The two quickly find themselves butting heads over Jake’s resistance to wearing a tie, providing an excuse for the smartass to strip down to his underwear.

Because like a lot of recent “SNL” alums, Samberg doesn’t wear particularly well beyond sketch length, “Brooklyn’s” fate will likely hinge in part on the supporting players — as constructed by the “Parks and Recreation” team of Dan Goor and Michael Schur, a colorful but rather familiar bunch, including the nerdy guy (Joe Lo Truglio) with a crush on his gruff partner (Stephanie Beatriz); Amy (Melissa Fumero), who draws the thankless task of being paired with Jake; and Gina (Chelsea Peretti), the nosey office manager.

As for Braugher, he’s perfectly fine, but casting him in this sort of role still sort of feels like buying a sports car just to drive it around a suburban neighborhood.

“Homicide” this isn’t, but there’s still a crime to be solved, which inevitably feels like something of an afterthought. And while the pilot has a fair amount of business to get done, other than the 1980s-style musical cues, “Brooklyn” plays with copshow conventions less aggressively than it should.

Then again, the series joins a Fox comedy block that has demonstrated itself to be a little too precious for its own good — energetic, yes, but ultimately limited in commercial potential, where the humor is measured less in laughs than arched eyebrows.

Even so, Fox appears to have a lot invested psychically and spiritually (along with promotionally) in launching “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” much as the network did with the night’s flagship half-hour “New Girl” — a modest success by any standard, which is probably the most the network can hope for here as well.
By that measure, the antics on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” — stripped to their underwear and outfitted in a thin layer of snark — should, for better and worse, fit right in.

TV Review: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine'

(Series; Fox, Tues. Sept. 17, 8:30 p.m.)

Production

Filmed in New York by Universal Television.

Crew

Executive producers, Dan Goor, Michael Schur, David Miner; directors, Phil Lord, Chris Miller; writers, Goor, Schur. 30 MIN.

Cast

Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher, Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, Joe Lo Truglio, Stephanie Beatriz, Chelsea Peretti

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  1. GUS2327 says:

    Just serves as a reminder that the GREAT “Men of a Certain Age” is gone and for no good reason. THAT was a great show with real heart and effortless humor. Andre Braugher is being WASTED in this. At least Ray Ramano landed in “Parenthood”. BRING BACK “Men of a Certain Age”! Way too late, but I always feel compelled to say it.

  2. Brick says:

    Never before have I heard so much hype and praise over something so bad. Andy Samberg attempts to be funny only to come off as an ignorant fool. There was not an ounce of what anyone should be able to relate to in the real world. Samberg acting like a fool was funny from time to time on SNL, but we were fortunate to only see him in a 2 minute skit then. I love comedies, but this is not even remotely funny. I guess there is a market for garbage like this with the sub 75 IQ crowd.

  3. Tricia Shamwow says:

    Such a disappointment. Love Andre Braugher, and enjoy Andy Samberg 75% of the time, but there’s no “there” there. No reason to commit to a half hour “comedy”/or not. Wasted talent. Counterproductive time slot. Just a sorry mess most of the time.

  4. Jacques Strappe says:

    This does indeed look like an SNL conceit that sounded uproariously funny on paper but only mildly amuses for a split second in execution and painfully runs 4 times longer than it should. Looks beyond dreadful other than Braugher. Adam Sandler fans, all 2 of them, should be rejoicing..

  5. me says:

    Even mentioning “Barney Miller” in the same sentence as this is an insult.

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