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.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (January/February)

    I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized) The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two Hooperman - Season One 227 - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek) Fuller House - The Complete First Season

    01/03 - Girls - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
    01/10 - Broad City - Season 3
    01/17 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized)
    01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume One
    01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two
    01/24 - Hooperman - Season One / Review
    01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two / Review
    01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
    02/07 - Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - Sabrina Down Under
    02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 1 - School's Cool - Boy Crazy
    02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 2 - About a Family - Hangin' Out
    02/07 - 227 - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek)
    02/07 - Vice Principals - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
    02/14 - Beavis and Butt-Head - The Complete Collection
    02/14 - Grace and Frankie - Season Two
    02/28 - Fuller House - The Complete First Season
    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Tuesday, February 28

    Fresh Off the Boat - "Living While Eddie" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    After her precious morning papaya goes missing and the dishwasher was used for its actual purpose rather than just a drying rack, Jessica automatically accuses Eddie as the culprit. Yet when a record store manager accuses him of stealing a CD, she realizes he has other motives for his actions. Meanwhile, Louis and Emery are bursting with excitement when a TV crew comes to shoot an infomercial at Cattleman’s Ranch.

    The Real O'Neals - "The Real Heartbreak" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Devastated by his break-up with Brett, Kenny tags along with Pat and Jimmy to a Lonely Hearts happy hour, but when they try to use Kenny’s sadness to get attention from single ladies, Kenny inadvertently steals the show. Meanwhile, Eileen shuns the usual Valentine’s Day traditions until a chance encounter changes her mind.

    American Housewife - "Westport Zombies" (ABC, 10:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Katie, jealous of Taylor’s friendship with neighbor Viv (Leslie Bibb), reluctantly competes in the Westport Halloween “Zombie Run” after she finds out they’ll both be running. Meanwhile, Greg and Anna-Kat get a little too much in character for the “zombie” part of the run’s obstacle course.

    New Girl - "Young Adult" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    When Jess worries that she may not be a cool enough principal, she recruits Nick and “The Pepperwood Chronicles” to help make her popular with the students. Meanwhile, Schmidt hires an eager and overly-aggressive new assistant and Winston realizes that Furguson may be two-timing him.

    The Mick - "The New Girl" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    When Mickey believes Ben’s school is discriminating against him, she stands up for her nephew. Meanwhile, Sabrina and Chip spend time with Alba and learn some surprising things about her.

    Kevin Can Wait - "The Power of Positive Drinking" (CBS, 10:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    When Kevin takes a job as a bartender, he goes too far when he starts dispensing unsolicited advice to his customers.

    The Detour - "The Tub" (TBS, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    As Nate and Robin contemplate having another child, a neighbor's casual get together turns into a home birth; Delilah learns about being a third wheel.

    Teachers - "Thirty-One and Done" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
    Ms. Snap struggles with the idea of turning thirty-one and tries to regain her youth. Ms. Bennigan offers to babysit Blake for Hot Dad. The Teachers deal with every teacher’s nightmare when the copier breaks down.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 27)

    Tuesday, February 28

    • Lisa Kudrow (Friends/The Comeback) - Lisa appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. She also talks about Table 19 on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 9am hour.
    • Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) - Aubrey is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Whoopi Goldberg (Whoopi/Bagdad Cafe) - Whoopi visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Bradley Whitford (Trophy Wife) - Bradley stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Martin appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Natalie Zea (The Detour) - Natalie is a guest on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
    • Dan Bucatinsky (Marry Me/The Comeback) - Dan drops by Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
    • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
    • Connie Britton (Spin City/The Fighting Fitzgeralds/Lost at Home) - Connie appears on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings. She also talks about the new season of Nashville on the AOL Build Show at 11am.
    • David Spade (Rules of Engagement/8 Simple Rules/Just Shoot Me!) - David drops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Allison Williams (Girls) - Allison is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
    • Katherine LaNasa (Three Sisters) - Katherine bakes a Mardi Gras king cake on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • Craig Robinson (The Office/Mr. Robinson) - Craig talks about Table 19 on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
    • Josh Henderson (One on One) - Josh talks about his The Arrangement on the AOL Build Show at 5pm. He will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
    • Tiffani Thiessen (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The College Years) - Tiffani is a guest on The Doctors, so check your local listings.
    • Kate Walsh (Bad Judge/The Drew Carey Show) - Kate appears on PIX11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 8:50am.