What Samberg and company bring to the table is a cast of unique and colorful characters, all of whom get even development, that gels with fantastic chemistry and charisma. Jake Peralta (Samberg) is one of the top detectives in Brooklyn’s 99th police precinct, one who struggles with maturity. Likely the most talented detective on the roster, Jake turns his strength into a weakness at every turn with his childish behavior and a general overconfidence. It’s a role that Samberg was born to play, and he does so with enthusiasm.
The crux of the show really comes down to the character interactions and chemistry. In the first episode we are introduced to the hapless crew of the 99, with Terry Crews playing (of course) Terry, the sergeant and de facto father figure. Soon enough, Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) comes in as the new head of the precinct, and his hard-nosed and by-the-book style immediately clashes with Jake’s jokester persona. The two compliment each other in such a wonderful way, that they quickly have become one of my favorite comedy duos of the past decade. Braugher’s deadpan delivery and sale of his no-nonsense character helps accentuate the nuance of Samberg’s childish idiocy perfectly.
The rest of the cast also fill their roles well, especially Joe Lo Truglio as Detective Charlds Boyle and Stephanie Beatriz and Detective Rosa Diaz. The two characters have such a clash in style with each other, yet their interactions are so enjoyable. Boyle is an eccentric foodie with an unhealthy and unrequited love for Diaz, who couldn’t be more out of his league. Beatriz’ Diaz provides some of the strongest comedy moments of the entire series with her intimidating delivery.
There really isn’t much of a dark-spot when looking over the ensemble cast, though a few characters can come off as a bit overbearing in certain episodes, while others seem underdeveloped. In the early episodes, I didn’t care for Gina (Chelsea Peretti), the quirky citizen administrator of the precinct and lifelong friend to Peralta. Her character is easily the most over the top and goofy on the show, which says a lot considering Peralta’s behavior. As the season rolls on, though, she becomes more tolerable and eventually becomes an enjoyable member of the cast. As such, the characters of Skully and Hitchcock (Joel McKinnon Miller and Dirk Blocker) have some genuine comedy moments as their own comedy duo, but feel criminally underutilized in these roles. Their roles as series regulars are more for background noise and the occasional site-gag rather than being functioning members of the cast, and it leaves you wanting a bit in that department. The brilliance of the show’s frantic and frenetic comedy is great for being able to juggle a larger cast like this, so it’s a bit disappointing to see two characters that have a pension for great comedic moments be relegated to simple support roles.
As for the show’s style itself, it’s one of the many shows to employ a live-action compliment to the Family Guy mold. With quick-cuts and a multitude of zany flashbacks that serve up one-liners, it’s a tried and true method of comedy that is executed effectively. I don’t think there was a single episode that failed to elicit at least one laugh-out-loud reaction from me, which is rare, even for someone who watches and enjoys a large amount of sitcoms.
In the end, Brooklyn Nine-Nine stands out above the rest of the new sitcoms that were introduced this year. With a great cast and remarkable chemistry, it’s comedy is rarely off-point, even if it’s ratings didn’t reflect that. Thankfully, it was picked up for a second season, something which I’m sure was helped by the two Golden Globes it won for Samberg’s Best Comedic Performance and the huge upset over perennial winner Big Bang Theory for Best Comedy. Hopefully the positive buzz heading into the second season will see an uptick in viewership, as this has the potential to be one of my favorite comedies for years to come.