TV: Brooklyn Nine-Nine season 1 (2013-14)

brooklyn99Creators: Dan Goor & Michael Schur
Language: English with a couple of sentences of Japanese
Length: 22 episodes of about 22 minutes each
Finished watching on: 20 April 2014

This is one of a growing number of series that I’ve been introduced to by seeing photos and gifs on internet sites like Tumblr before taking the plunge and watching the show. Like many others of its type, I was more specifically enticed by the presence of a gay character, who is also black and relentlessly deadpan in a cast full of larger-than-life outspoken jokesters.

The show concerns a police precinct in Brooklyn and is nominally about the police, although it’s one of those sitcoms set in an office where very little work gets done. Occasionally they will go out to try and solve a crime, and there will be elements of a whodunnit or police procedural, but in general they just ignore the police side of things and go straight for the comedy.

I guess the main character is called Jake Peralta, who is the closest thing to an everyman the show has (although that isn’t saying much), and in certain ways the show seems to be conducted from his point of view (this may be because he’s one of the writers or something). Each of the characters is just as weird as the others, but in a very unique way, such that describing them all here would become a chore, as they all have two or three distinguishing aspects, which often fit together ironically. The characters really make the show, though: even after one episode they fit right into expectations and becomes fun to predict how they will react. For that reason alone it was easy to watch at least two episodes in one night.

The writing is also pretty slick, especially the one-liners that pepper the show, which come much thicker and faster than many other shows I’ve seen recently. There’s also a good dose of surrealism, which makes the show feel fresh and new. I feel like TV in general seems to be heading that way, and if so, I’m very pleased. The fast pace and the comedy make this very easy to watch. I’m glad I took the plunge with this one.


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