In preparation for the television upfronts, Fox axed a huge percentage of its lineup last week, but the cancellation heard ’round the world was critical darling Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The fans’ reaction was immediate, and people such as Guillermo del Toro, Mark Hamill, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and seemingly half of Twitter took to the internet to voice their disappointment, ultimately leading to NBC’s decision to pick up the show the very next day. (Cue a well-deserved Jake Peralta “Noice.”) As a result, the fans literally saved the Nine-Nine, NBC got back a series they let slip to another network (despite airing on Fox, Brooklyn Nine-Nine was produced by NBC/Universal), and everybody lived happily ever after.
The backlash Fox received from cancelling Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a testament to its quality. Joke by joke, it’s one of the funniest shows (if not the funniest) currently airing on television. For some shows, you’ll hear people say that you should skip the first season or it doesn’t really get going until episode 4. Not the case with B99. If you haven’t seen it, the pilot is actually a great place to start. Written by Dan Goor and Michael Schur (whom you may recognize from another amazing sitcom Parks and Rec), the pilot is an instant classic and introduces the audience to its lived-in, diverse cast of characters, who feel like real people with unique, specific points of view and not just a collection of punchlines.
The tone is almost anything-goes when it comes to humor, but at the same time, the show respects its characters and allows time to explore serious issues. For example, the pilot introduces a new captain to the Nine-Nine, Raymond Holt, an openly gay, black detective played by a spectacularly deadpan Andre Braugher. The first season makes frequent references to his being openly gay in the workplace at a time that wasn’t socially acceptable (the ‘80s), and while the show makes (hilarious) jokes about that through flashback, it avoids diminishing his experiences or his character. The show is equally inclusive when it comes to race and gender, and that inclusivity is what makes it a standout series. The cast is stacked with talented performers: Melissa Fumero as type-A-to-a-fault Amy Santiago, Stephanie Beatriz as intimidating-as-hell-but-incredibly-loyal Rosa Diaz, Terry Crews as the physically intimidating but soft hearted Terry Jeffords, Andy Samberg as the goofily charming man-child Jake Peralta, Chelsea Peretti as the narcissistic assistant Gina Linetti, Joe Lo Truglio as oddball Charles Boyle, and Dirk Blocker and Joel McKinnon Miller as the Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum of the Nine-Nine, Michael Hitchcock and Norm Scully. Each of them has multiple hilarious lines every episode, and they help fill out an already well-defined world.
So in short, you should read the pilot, catch up on the show on Hulu if you haven’t yet, and wait for season six to come to NBC later this year.