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.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

    Father Knows Best - Season Six Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season Alice - The Complete Fifth Season Rhoda - Season Four Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four

    06/13 - The Andy Griffith Show - Return to Mayberry
    06/13 - That's My Mama - The Complete Series
    06/20 - Workaholics - The Final (Seventh) Season
    06/20 - Workaholics - The Complete Series
    06/27 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Third Season
    07/04 - Superstore - Season Two
    07/18 - Father Knows Best - Season Six
    07/25 - Diff'ernt Strokes - The Complete Sixth Season
    07/25 - Girls - The Final (Sixth) Season (Blu-ray)
    08/01 - Alice - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
    08/01 - Crashing - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
    08/15 - Rhoda - Season Four
    08/22 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Four
    08/29 - Will & Grace - Season One (Universal)
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Wednesday, August 23

    The Goldbergs - "O Captain! My Captain!" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Beverly substitutes for Barry’s chemistry class in hopes to inspire students in the same way as Mr. Keating from “Dead Poets Society,” much to Barry’s embarrassment. When Beverly refuses to give Barry special treatment, Murray pushes Barry to work hard and prove to her that he can get a good grade.

    Speechless - "C-H-- CHEATER!" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Maya and Kenneth work together to hold JJ accountable for his academic future when he cheats on an exam at school. Meanwhile, Ray gets into a get-rich scheme; but when Jimmy bails him out and teaches him an important lesson, Ray’s motivation to make fast money is revealed.

    Modern Family - "Pig Moon Rising" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    During a quick workout session in the garage, Mitchell accidentally knocks over an urn filled with the ashes of Cam’s beloved pet pig Lilly. He quickly attempts to cover up his blunder and devises an appropriate cover-up. Hoping to catch Mitchell in his lie, Cam makes up a tall tale to trap him, but his own lie soon becomes a little too big to manage.

    American Housewife - "The Otto Motto" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    When Taylor keeps quitting school activities, Greg says that Katie, quite the quitter herself, sets a poor example. He challenges her to finally learn French after quitting lessons so long ago, so she reluctantly enrolls in a college class.

    Modern Family - "Do It Yourself" (ABC, 10:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Feeling empowered after his successful do-it-yourself project, Phil convinces Jay to co-invest in a property he has always wanted to develop. Meanwhile, Claire’s new obsession with a TV chef and her new love of cooking Sunday dinners hasn’t been as tasty as she thinks. Haley is the family’s only hope to add a little spice to the situation. At the Pritchett-Tucker house, Cam and Mitchell see that the family is too reliant on technology, so they attempt to teach Lily the importance of hard work, which ends disastrously. Back at the Pritchett’s, Jay feels replaced when he sees Gloria has hired Coach Gary (Payton Manning) to coach Joe and serve as a handy man.

    The Goldbergs - "Recipe for Death II: Kiss the Cook" (ABC, 10:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    After learning of Murray’s love of action movies, Adam uses the moment to garner the courage to ask his dad for money to film his own action film. But the production goes from bad to worse when Barry goes missing for playing the lead, and an unlikely replacement steps in. Meanwhile, Erica takes Beverly to go clothes shopping. When a situation at the hip store goes awry, Erica decides to make her own version of the popular outfit she wants –using Beverly’s own sweaters.

    Marlon - "Boys Only Want One Thing" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Marlon (Marlon Wayans) struggles to come to terms with his daughter bringing home a boy for the first time. Yvette (Bresha Webb) uses Stevie (Diallo Riddle) to get great seats to a Beyoncé concert.

    Marlon - "Exes With Benefits" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    Marlon (Marlon Wayans) and Ashley (Essence Atkins) contemplate whether to have no strings attached 'ex-sex.'

    Swedish Dicks - (Pop, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    Porn actress Taylor Slow asks the guys to find her stalker; Sarah asks her father to check out her new boyfriend, Steve; Ingmar is sure he'll find some dirt on Steve; Axel infiltrates Jane McKinney's agency.

    Younger - "The Incident at Pound Ridge" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Sparks fly at the annual Empirical Publishing picnic. Liza finds herself caught between Josh and Charles.

    Odd Mom Out - "Weber M.D." (Bravo, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    By day, Jill shoots Brooke's new line of Von Weber wares, and by night, she and Vanessa investigate a rash of infections plaguing the Upper ``Yeast'' Side; Candace seeks answers for why she keeps getting called ``Candy Ass.''

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 21)

    Wednesday, August 23

    • David Alan Grier (The Carmichael Show/Bad Teacher/Life with Bonnie/DAG) - Watch David on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Gillian Jacobs (Love/Community) - Gillian appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Kelly Ripa (Hope & Faith) - Kelly is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Fred Savage (The Grinder/Working/The Wonder Years) - Fred appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Kathryn Hahn (I Love Dick/Happyish/Transparent) - Kathryn is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Kathy Bates (Disjointed) - Kathy stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Jessica Capshaw (Odd Man Out) - Jessica guest co-hosts a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Anna Chlumsky (Veep) - Anna appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
    • Nicole Ari Parker (Second Time Around) - Nicole is a guest on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Marlon Wayans (Marlon/The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon discusses his new NBC show Marlon on People Now at 8:30am.
    • John Lithgow (Trial & Error/Twenty Goods Years/3rd Rock from the Sun) - John joins Clinton to create a classic carnival treat in the kitchen on a repeat of ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
    • Fran Drescher (Happily Divorced/Living with Fran/The Nanny) - Fran talks about reducing your cancer risk and see her own anti-cancer regimen on a repeat of The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
    • Tamera Mowry (Sister, Sister/Roommates) - Tamera is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • James Van Der Beek (What Would Diplo Do?/Friends with Better Lives/Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - James appears on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
    • Josh Henderson (One on One) - Josh is a guest on a repet of Steve Harvey, so check your local listings.