Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fox Fall Pilot Review: Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Premieres Tonight; MeTV Network Reaches 90% of U.S. with 5 New Stations

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Tuesdays at 8:30PM ET/PT on Fox
Premieres Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 8:30PM ET/PT


by Vincent

From Parks & Recreation writers Dan Goor and Michael Schur, Brooklyn Nine-Nine follows the staff of Brooklyn's 99th precinct, which has just been taken over by tightly-wound Captain Ray Holt. Captain Holt is determined to make the precinct's diversely dysfunctional staff and turn them into the best precinct in Brooklyn – which may wind up being more of a challenge than he expected.

Cast Details:

Andy Samberg as Detective Jake Peralta
Andre Braugher as Captain Ray Holt
Melissa Fumero as Detective Amy Santiago
Terry Crews as Sergeant Terry Jeffords
Stephanie Beatriz as Detective Rose Diaz
Chelsea Peretti as Administrator Gina Linetti
Joe Lo Truglio as Detective Charles Boyle

Andy Samberg (Detective Jake Peralta) is best known for his seven-year tenure as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. His largest contribution to SNL was the creation of the "digital short" - short, pre-recorded videos designed to become viral hits. It was through these digital shorts that he launched The Lonely Island, a satirical hip-hop group well-known for popular comedy anthems such as "I'm On a Boat" and "I Just Had Sex." He also has a sizable filmography, appearing in well-known comedy films such as Hot Rod, That's My Boy, and Grown Ups 2.

Andre Braugher (Captain Ray Holt) portrayed Frank Pembleton on the critically acclaimed crime drama Homicide: Life on the Street. He also played Owen Thoreau on the TNT drama Men of a Certain Age. Most recently, he starred as Captain Marcus Chaplin last season on ABC's Last Resort, and has had a recurring role on Law & Order: SVU since 2011.

Melissa Fumero (Detective Amy Santiago) made her on-screen debut was as Adriana Cramer on One Life to Live, a role she played for four years. She has also appeared on a variety of other television shows, including The Mentalist, Gossip Girl, and CSI: New York.

Terry Crews (Sergeant Terry Jeffords) is a former NFL player. As an actor, he is best known for his work as Julius in the UPN/CW sitcom Everybody Hates Chris. His filmography also includes appearances in films such as White Chicks and The Longest Yard, as well as television shows such as Arrested Development and The Newsroom.

Stephanie Beatriz (Detective Rose Diaz) has appeared in guest roles on shows such as Modern Family and Southland. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is her first starring role.

Chelsea Peretti (Administrator Gina Linetti) is a comedian who has made appearances on many shows, including The Sarah Silverman Program, Tosh.0, and Louie. She also spent a year on the writing staff of Parks and Recreation during the show's fourth season.

Joe Lo Truglio (Detective Charles Boyle) is best known for his roles on the MTV sketch comedy series The Slate. He also has a large list of appearances in popular comedy films such as Superbad, Pineapple Express, Wreck-It Ralph, and Pitch Perfect.


Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (airs Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 8:30 PM ET/PT)

In the pilot episode of the series, we meet Detective Jake Peralta - a talented, but carefree police detective at Brooklyn's 99th precinct who, along with his eclectic group of colleagues, are used to having a lax captain around the office. However, when tightly-wound Captain Ray Holt takes over, he is determined to make this dysfunctional group of detectives into the best precinct in Brooklyn.

Analysis:

Brooklyn Nine-Nine was my most anticipated new show this season. Not only does it feature an all-star cast, but its creators (Michael Schur and Dan Goor) are two of the most important creative minds behind Parks and Recreation, one of the best sitcoms of the past decade. While I know that comedy pilots are tough (even Parks got off to a rocky start), I came into this pilot expecting to be really impressed considering the pedigree behind it. I'm very happy to report that I wasn't disappointed – Brooklyn Nine-Nine's pilot isn't exactly fantastic, but it's overall quite good, and a suggestion that there may very well be fantastic things to come from this show in the future.

There's a lot to like about Brookyln Nine-Nine, but what makes this pilot such a promising one comes down to one simple element: its all-star ensemble. While Brooklyn is being marketed as an Andy Samberg vehicle, the show has a talented, sprawling cast that few shows on television – network or cable – can compete with. But the strength of the ensemble goes beyond just who's playing it – credit has to be given to the creators, who have developed a well-defined cast of characters that feels more diverse than one might expect from a network sitcom, both in terms of their ethnicities and their personalities. What I especially like about these characters is the way they take certain stereotypes and twist them on their heels a bit – there's a lot of characters that could be stereotypical here - goofy detective, straight-laced captain, textbook 'tough' girl – but the shows peppers in unique elements to each of these characters to make them...well, characters, and not just types. This is a pitfall that even pilots of shows that went on to be great have sometimes fell into, so to see this show resisting such temptations this early in its run is very promising to see.

Perhaps what's most promising, though, is the strong relationships the show is already building between these solidly drawn characters, relationships that are carefully executed in ways bound to provide fruitful for the future. The most obvious is the antagonistic relationship between Jake and Captain Holt Рwhile the "tough captain/goofy detective" pairing is about as old as television itself, Samberg and Braugher's top-notch performances breathe new life into a tired clich̩, aided by some razor-sharp writing. But there's plenty of other promising relationships to go around Рthe tension between rival partners Jake and Amanda is also nicely developed and brings to light a lot of interesting aspects to both characters, and there's even a sweet subplot that adds a few layers to supporting characters Rose and Charles. This kind of development is something that sitcoms typically don't start messing around with until a few episodes into their first season, when all of the exposition is out of the way and they're able to begin truly exploring the depths of their characters. The fact that Brooklyn Nine-Nine is already comfortable enough to begin doing this says a lot about the pilots' confidence.

If I have any reservations about Brooklyn Nine-Nine, they're related to the shows' intent on seemingly being a "comic police procedural." It's an interesting idea, for sure – one that we haven't seen on TV in quite some time. But TV is so over-saturated with crime drama that every time Brooklyn Nine-Nine buckled down on its police setting, I couldn't help but get a bit of a "been there, done that" feel. Still, there is enough evidence here that Goor & Schur will be able to breathe new life into a tired genre – if its characters can resist their types, than there’s no reason to believe the show itself won’t be able to do the same.

Conclusion:

Brooklyn Nine-Nine doesn't completely avoid the typical comedy pilot pitfalls – the humor isn't all there yet, and there's a few characters that still feel underdeveloped. But it's one of the more well-constructed comedy pilots I've seen recently, and there's a rare confidence to it that almost makes you feel like you're watching an episode from the middle of the first season. That's a good place for a comedy to start at, especially a comedy with a cast and creators with this level of talent. I'd be really surprised if this didn't turn out to be one of the years' best new comedies, assuming it gets the chance to be – it already seems quite sure of itself, and there's already several strong characters that I'm interested to see more from. While there's really no "sure things" when we're talking about predicting the quality of new TV shows, Brooklyn Nine-Nine seems to be – at least creatively – as close as it gets.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4.5/5
Funniness: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013 at 8:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • Fox.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine Photo Gallery

    Preview:






  • MeTV Network

    The MeTV Network has announced five new affiliates, which brings the classic TV network up to 155 markets and more than 90% of the U.S. The following five stations and markets have been added:

    · Capitol-owned WILM-DT, Wilmington, NC (DMA #131)
    · Bonten-owned KTXS-DT, Abilene, TX (DMA #165)
    · Western Family Television-owned KJCZ-LP, Billings, MT (DMA #168)
    · KTGF License Corporation-owned KTGF-DT, Great Falls, MT (DMA #191)
    · Western Family Television-owned KJJC-LP, Helena, MT (DMA #205)


    With these additions, The MeTV network can be found in 28 of the top 30 U.S. markets on cable and satellite. Several major media groups that have MeTV affiliates include: Hearst, Gannett, Raycom, Sinclair, Media General, Post-Newsweek, Nexstar, Allbritton, London Broadcasting, Belo, Hubbard, Cordillera, Bahakel, Fisher, Cox, Morgan Murphy, Grant, New Press Gazette, New Age, Granite, Dispatch, Journal and Titan.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Monday, October 22

    The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the Housewarming" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Dave and Gemma decide to invite the Butlers to their housewarming party. However, when everyone but Calvin accepts, Dave decides he’s finally had enough of Calvin’s refusal to welcome him to town.

    Happy Together - "About Your Parents" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    When Claire gets sick, Jake is determined to prove that he can take care of her without relying on her parents, Bonnie and Gerald.

    Andi Mack - "It's a Dilemma" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Andi's plans for a group outing with Buffy, Cyrus and Jonah are interrupted by Walker; Bowie's new guitar student proves to be a challenge; Cyrus seeks an alternative to P.E. and ends up in a dance class.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 22)

    Monday, October 22

    • Juliette Lewis (Camping/A Family for Joe/I Married Dora) - Watch Juliette on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
    • Sarah Silverman (The Sarah Silverman Program) - Sarah appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She will also be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Scott Bakula (Murphy Brown/Eisenhower and Lutz/Gung Ho) - Scott drops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He will also be on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
    • Ike Barinholtz (The Mindy Project) - Ike is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Dakota Johnson (Ben and Kate) - Dakota visits The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Craig Robinson (Ghosted/Mr. Robinson/The Office) - Craig stops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) - Aubrey appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Mary McCormack (The Kids Are Alright/Welcome to the Family) - Mary drops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo. She will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagement/Reno 911!) - Wendi chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Jada Pinkett Smith (A Different World) - Jada talks about the Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Finesse Mitchell (A.N.T. Farm) - Finesse visits The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The Cosby Show/Here and Now/Malcolm and Eddie/Listen Up!/Reed Between the Lines) - Malcolm-Jamal appears on ABC's GMA Day at 1pm.
    • Cedric Yarbrough (Speechless/Reno 911!) - Cedric is a guest on People Now at 12pm.
    • Nico Tortorella (Younger) - Nico is a guest on the BUILD Series at 12pm.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (September/October)

    The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season Step by Step - The Complete Second Season Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season

    09/04 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - The Complete Season 12
    09/04 - Mom - The Complete Fifth Season
    09/04 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Fifth Season
    09/04 - Superstore - Season Three
    09/04 - Young Sheldon - The Complete First Season
    09/11 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Eleventh Season (Blu-ray)
    09/11 - The Middle - The Complete Ninth Season
    09/11 - Modern Family - The Complete Ninth Season
    09/11 - People of Earth - The Complete Second Season
    09/18 - Community - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    09/18 - Step by Step - The Complete Second Season
    09/18 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fourth Season
    09/25 - Blondie - The Complete 1957 Television Series
    09/25 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fifth Season
    10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
    10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
    10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
    10/16 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest