Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Monday, May 20, 2024
The Observer

'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Shines

Steph Wulz

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” this year’s Golden Globe Award-winner for Best Television Series — Musical or Comedy, aired its season finale on March 25, capping a stellar first season. The network sitcom, appearing on Fox, is the latest success from creator Michael Schur (“The Office,” “Parks and Recreation”), along with co-creator Dan Goor (“Parks and Recreation”), Executive Producers David Miner (30 Rock) and emerging duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller (“Clone High,” “21 Jump Street,” ‘The Lego Movie”). This roster of all-star contributors is indicative of the immediate quality found in their new show.

With the thorough work of this exciting staff, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” has the feel of a series in stride, even from the first few episodes. They have melded Andy Samberg from a polarizing goofball into a fully formed, likeable — read, Golden Globe Award–Winning — protagonist. Jake Peralta, the 99th Precinct of New York’s finest detective, may retain Samberg’s apparent childish antics, but he has an emerging depth that subverts immaturity, and the actor ably plays subtle moments just as well as over-the-top ones. In addition, the remainder of the Nine-Nine’s ensemble cast has been given room to grow, with arcs incorporating various pairings and relationships to round out each character.

Standout performances from Andre Braugher and Terry Crews in leadership positions on the show see the two in the greatest comedic roles of their respective careers. Similarly, relative newcomers Melissa Fumero and Stephanie Beatriz fill out the squad in dynamic breakout roles as two other strong, yet significantly unalike, detectives. The rest of the main cast includes comedians Joe Lo Truglio and Chelsea Peretti in very typical performances that nonetheless expound upon their usual character work.

Throughout the first season, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” has developed due to mindfulness from its writers in navigating the confines of a traditional, crowd-pleasing sitcom. Because of its nature as, at its basis, an office sitcom airing on a major network, it must be broad enough to cater to a wide audience, which might be seen as a hindrance to originality. Instead, however, the show transcends these boundaries by deftly handling each main character with the same weight, to the long-term benefit of the series — this conscientiousness much like that exhibited and recognized in the creators’ previous endeavors. After a couple of minor hiccups early on, the writers diverged from the all-too-typical tropes of the sitcom genre, allowing for more natural, self-defined characters.

The wealth of character development in the 22 episodes of the first season has also allowed for the show to capitalize on character-based humor, besides the standard punch line jokes and expert delivery featured across the show from writer to actor. The cast members’ distinct personalities are continuously being fleshed out, letting slighter moments increase in payoff and adding to audience investment. Without delving into any specific storylines or plots, for the sake of not spoiling any part of the season, the cast and crew of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” are evidence enough to trust its merit.

The ensemble sitcom has had perhaps the best first season of a network sitcom since those of NBC’s “Community” and Fox’s “Arrested Development,” while skewing a bit more mainstream than either. This bodes longevity while also predicting withstanding quality. Fox already renewed “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” for a second season on March 7, and the announcement brings with it excitement for more growth from the storylines planted in the string of final episodes.