Brooklyn Nine Nine’s first season was one of the strongest first seasons of a comedy in recent years. Most of the great comedy series have taken until season 2 or 3 to really hit their stride. Brooklyn 99 had started to gel as a comedy series halfway through the first season. The characters within the show were quickly established and the chemistry between the amazing ensemble cast had started to produce some hilarious episodes. Credit has to go to the writer/creators Dan Goor and Mike Schur. Having previously worked on The Office and Parks and Recreation it was clear the lessons they had learnt on these two shows helped them develop Brooklyn Nine Nine into a great comedy quickly. Juel Bestrop did some amazing casting. The most genius casting decision was hiring Andre Braugher.
Andre Braugher has done some outstanding work in drama and his work as Detective Frank Pembleton created one of America’s best television characters. There was actually a lot of comedy within Homicide and he continued some of that work in Men of a Certain Age. He can definitely pull off comedy but he has been a revelation in this series. The writers have used him well, giving him dramatic moments to ground the series and giving him outrageous comedic scenes that surprise and shock. Andre’s reaction to the statistical analysis of Moneyball was one of the series funniest scenes. Andy Samberg may have won a Golden Globe but Andre deserves an Emmy for his work in Brooklyn Nine Nine.
The show’s biggest problem in the first series was with it’s star Andy Samberg. It took a while to get the character of Jake Peralta right. Initially he was simply too silly, and when there was too much Peralta it took the show too far away from reality. Although developing the relationship with Santiago may have been an obvious choice the growth in their relationship through the first series helped the character a lot. Seeing Jake have a few more serious moments helped when he then does deliver some great comedy.
The first season had many great episodes. “The Party” was probably the best. Getting the series away from solving a weekly case proved to work wonders. The entire cast visiting Captain Holt at his home and trying to impress him produced some hilarious scenes. In this episode we also got to meet the Captain’s husband and learn that Holt’s friend actually he thinks he is one of the funniest people they know. The Party was the perfect mix of character development, great interactions between the cast members and sharp writing.
“The Pontiac Bandit” featured a great guest appearance from Craig Robinson. His obsession with Rosa provided some great laughs and it was a smartly written episode that hopefully leads to the return of Robinson in this role. He could prove a great nemesis for Jake.
“Old School” was a great episode which explored the cops of the past with their present day counterparts. It showed the police setting can actually really work for a comedy. Stacey Keach was excellent as an old beat reported comparing the rough cops of the 70s to the present day.
“Sal’s Pizza” featured fire marshal Boone played by Patton Oswalt. The rivalry between the cops and the fire department made for some great scenes as they fought over a case. It also featured Boyle talking about his weekly pizza email blasts and his reviews which take into account “mouth feel.” This was a great character development for Boyle, and was when Joe LoTruglio really started to shine on the show. He quickly started to stand out with his excellent display of physical comedy. I think when he got engaged it started to move away from his best work but thankfully that storyline has ended so we can get back to regular Boyle (not full Boyle).
The key to Brooklyn Nine Nine becoming a great comedy is really about making the audience care about the characters. I think they are well on their way to achieving that. If they can build on the first season they can maintain one of TV’s strongest comedies. Although the show has received great reviews from the critics it has struggled to find an audience. People may have started the show and given up or never given it a chance but if you buy the first season on DVD or Blu-Ray I can guarantee you will end up a fan.