The Rise of ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’
The Rise of ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’
When Andy Samberg won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a TV Comedy earlier this month for his work on the freshman Fox police comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, two words went through a lot of viewers’ minds. As it turns out, the same two words went through Samberg’s head, too.
“I was like, ‘Oh fuck,’” he says.
Samberg won for Detective Jake Peralta on the show, a mischievous crime-solving wunderkind who alternately charms and tortures his Brooklyn police precinct co-workers with his equal parts smug and sweet personality. It was undeniably one of the Golden Globes’ biggest shockers. The win only held that title for a few minutes, however, as Brooklyn Nine-Nine the series was soon announced as Best TV Comedy, too, beating out odds-on favorites like Girls, Modern Family, and The Big Bang Theory.
“Somebody won big on us winning, if they were betting,” Samberg tells me. “That was the longshot of longshots.” Samberg also knows how these things work, and had a hunch that after his upset win that he might have to take the mic again on behalf of his show. “After I won and did some backstage press I came back to the table specifically because I thought, ‘Oh shit, the Foreign Press like our show.’ There maybe a chance now that our show will win and I don’t want to miss that,” he says.
The thing is: the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press aren’t the only people who like the show. As it turns out, a lot of people do—more than you, or maybe even Samberg himself, might think. After cautiously positive reviews for the pilot—best described as polite golf claps—critics began aggressively applauding the show after an early run of progressively stronger, tighter, and, most importantly, funnier episodes. Ratings are up, too, with the recent Jan. 22 episode scoring its highest viewership to date.
But perhaps the people who like the series most are those at Fox. There are few things that networks can do to guarantee that people will actually watch a show it believes in, but each year one network is given that very power by choosing which of its series to run after the Super Bowl. The potential is huge, with over 100 million football-watching eyeballs up for grabs. Grey’s Anatomy, The Office, and Glee catapulted from TV shows that a few people liked to pop-culture phenomena after their post-Super Bowl berths.
This year, Fox is giving two comedies its vote of confidence, hoping they’ll do the same. First, an episode of Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl will air. Then, it’s Andy Samberg and company’s turn, as Brooklyn Nine-Nine will broadcast right after it. Higher ratings. Awards. The Super Bowl Hail Mary. Brooklyn Nine-Nine might be TV’s next hit sitcom.
In a television era where new shows now debut year-round on an ever-increasing number of networks and, more recently, streaming services and outlets for web shows, it’s a near-impossible task to land on a new idea. If not new, at least one that hasn’t been done to death. The latter (more realistic) mission is what inspired Brooklyn Nine-Nine creators Michael Schur, who previously co-created Parks and Recreation with Amy Poehler and was a writer for The Office, and Daniel Goor, a veteran of the Parks and Rec writer’s room, to invent Brooklyn’s 99th precinct. There’s been a handful of police comedies over the years—Barney Miller, The Job—but there hasn’t been a good, successful network one in a long time.