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 – while 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 clichĂ©, aided by some razor-sharp writing. But there's plenty of other promising relationships to go around – the 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.


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