Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1 (DVD)

Cop raucous.

From Michael Shur, the brains behind Parks and Recreation comes a show sort of like that but with cops and Andy Samberg. If that sounds up your alley, then you’re golden.

The 99th precinct in Brooklyn has its share of crazy characters, but that doesn’t mean they don’t arrest bad guys. In fact, lead character, Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg, Hot Rod) is one of the ace detectives, a fact that he is eager to share with his colleagues, most notable his bad-ass sergeant Terry (Terry Crews, The Expendables) and the fetching and equally proficient Santiago (Michelle Fumero, Gossip Girl). But things are about to get a whole less wacky with the arrival of a stern, no-nonsense apparently utterly humorless Captain (Andre Braugher).

Pound for pound, I have to say Brooklyn Nine-Nine is my favorite broadcast sitcom currently on the air. I know that’s sort of like saying “explosive diarrhea is my favorite side effect of intestinal flu” these days, but the show keeps me laughing, which is a win. It’s not coincidence that this and Parks and Recreation share the Shur connection and both sit atop my current comedy food chain.

But here’s the big asterisk: you’re going to have to be an Andy Samberg guy. I find him funny. He’s loud and over-the-top, but his shtick manages to remain endearing. It’s a touch-and-go balancing perch when most of your jokes erupt at jet engine decibel levels, but Samberg’s earnest approach helps a great deal. If you fall on the other side, and would rather eat thumbtacks than watch Samberg gesticulate madly, then move on: this is his show.

The supporting cast is strong, but their best moments transpire when they’re used as foils with Samberg’s Peralta. Like any ensemble, episodes break down into separate stories, featuring a mixture of characters. The non-Peralta stuff is fine enough, but it’s obvious that Samberg is the engine to the show and whoever he’s matched up with tends to benefit. Number 2 on the hierarchy is Braugher, though; his wooden Captain Holt isn’t breaking any genre molds, but the actor is so good and he makes an effective juxtaposition with Samberg. The two have the most interesting character dynamic on the show, by far.

At its core Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a romp, with very little connective tissue holding episodes together. There are some “cases of the week” (it is a police station still) and Peralta and Santiago are nursing some sexual tension but that’s about it for season-long arcs. But it is funny. Breezy and innocuous (and occasionally clichéd), but funny.

The DVD set is about as basic as you get though. Episodes look solid in their 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers and the Dolby 5.1 mix sure gives you the full Samberg. Just deleted scenes for extras.

No perp walk for you.


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