Now don’t get us wrong, we love a police procedural with high-octane chase scenes, shocking discoveries and gory forensics. But even we need a sweet palette cleanser after a winter full of bitter detective dramas, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine is just the thing.
Walking joke factory Andy Samberg leads this sitcom, set in a New York City police precinct. Here he’s free spirited, eccentric (read: useless) detective Jake Peralta, who is forced to pull his socks up when a new gaffer, Captain Holt, joins the team. He’s the yin to Peralta’s messy, unorganised yang, appreciating by-the-book policing and a serious stance at all times. Reminds us a bit of The Bridge, but with much less gore, and hopefully more laughs…
Like with most sitcoms, you kind of need to spend a bit of time getting to know the characters before you get the most out of it – the seriously stern Holt, played by Andre Braugher, perfectly complements Peralta’s wonderfully immature humour, cutting through the show’s love of absurdity with his emotionless expression and the deadpan delivery of his lines. But it’s not just for comedic effect – his character came out in the 1980s, and has dealt with all sorts of adversity and abuse in his career. It’s not merely Samberg and Braugher show, though, as the supporting cast are equally brilliant. We have Stephanie Beatriz as the sassy and strong detective Rosa Diaz, and Joe Lo Truglio as clumsy detective Charles Boyle.
If you hadn’t already guessed at this point, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a serious celebration of all things silly, getting laughs out of weird behaviour, funny costumes and displays of uselessness. That’s what makes it brilliant. It’s easy viewing and it’s not trying to compete or out-do any of its sitcom rivals, it’s just trying to make you laugh. And that it does very well.
So well, in fact, that it’s won a handful of awards over the series, and (possibly more significantly) shoots to the top of Netflix’s series chart every time there’s a new season. That could be due to its ability to be “smart but goofy and a whole lot of fun,” as said by The Guardian’s Hannah Verdier, who comments “the more you watch it the funnier it gets.” The Telegraph’s Patrick Smith says the series is “well aware of the fact it doesn’t tread new ground or defy sitcom conventions, and it’s completely OK with that,” making it “funny, familiar and breezy.” And clearly this is a winning recipe, as when Fox cancelled the show after five seasons NBC picked it up the next day, and has continued in the same “giddy, goofy and stupid-grin inducing way” since, according to The Rolling Stones’ Alan Sepinwall.
First shown September 2013. You can watch the trailer here: