TV Review: Fox's 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine'

Fox premieres Brooklyn Nine-Nine, an ensemble cop comedy starring Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher, on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET. The following are reviews from TV critics around the Web, compiled by B&C.

“The throwback feel of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is built into the premise. It belongs to a narrow genre, the squad room sitcom, whose most notable example remains the 1970s classic Barney Miller. And the relationship between Mr. Samberg’s Detective Jake Peralta and Mr. Braugher’s Capt. Ray Holt stems from an even older and more celebrated show: they’re a modern, manscaped version of Hawkeye Pierce and Colonel Potter in M*A*S*H.”
–Mike Hale, The New York Times

“The getting-to-know-yous aside, Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s pilot feels as if the show as already been on for weeks, and I mean that in the best possible way. It knows its characters, their voices, and the dynamics between them. As in co-creator Michael Schur’s Parks and Recreation (which started weaker) you have the sense that you could pair any two characters in the ensemble and get a distinctive, funny storyline. The pilot isn’t the most hilarious I’ve ever seen, but it’s funny enough, it’s appealing, and the show knows itself, which is much more important in the long run.”
–James Poniewozik, Time

“Given Samberg’s SNL work and Fox’s youthful inclinations, you might expect Holt to be the foil for Peralta’s jokes: The dumb boss constantly outsmarted by the young hotshot. Wisely, though, the pilot takes a different tack, allowing Holt to consistently gain the upper hand. It’s a shift that showcases Samberg’s comic talents while reducing the smugness that can sometimes tarnish them.”
–Robert Bianco, USA Today

Brooklyn Nine-Nine isn’t uproarious yet, but pilots, even of good sitcoms, rarely are. (It took Parks and Recreation an entire season to figure out its tone.) What Brooklyn Nine-Nine has, unlike many of the other new fall comedies, is intelligent design. The characters aren’t just archetypes, they are twists on archetypes. Braugher’s not just the macho boss. Samberg’s not just the reckless detective savant. Peralta’s love interest is also his rival. The klutzy, loser detective (Joe Lo Truglio) is good at his job.”
–Willa Paskin, Slate

“Braugher anchors Samberg’s performance, and indeed he anchors the whole show. He slides from his expert deadpan to poignancy and back again almost invisibly — it’s a marvelous trick. After watching him look so complex and troubled on a number of dramas including Homicide: Life on the Street, I wasn’t sure Braugher could be funny. Then I saw him deliver a relaxed, often humorous performance on the extraordinary Men of a Certain Age, using his gravitas for laughs, and I realized that he’s quite versatile.”
–Matthew Gilbert, The Boston Globe

“Samberg’s detective, whose wisecracking ways do not belie but certify his effectiveness (”The only problem he hasn’t solved is how to grow up,” says his sergeant, played by Terry Crews) is a cousin of Hawkeye Pierce and Lt. Cmdr. Quinton McHale; in Saturday Night Live terms, he is Chevy Chase in Fletch and Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours and the first decade of Bill Murray’s film career.”
–Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I suppose, might have been considered a noble, cutting-edge failure if had been produced 30 years ago, when its MASH-in-a-police-station concept would have been fresh and its lampoons of 1970s cop shows topical. But staleness is only one of the show’s many problems.”
–Glenn Garvin, The Miami Herald