'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Season 6: TV Review

The show remains the show, and that's a good thing.
1/10/2019

After a brief Fox cancelation, the comedy moves to NBC basically without skipping a beat.

Look, sometimes things just work out for everybody.

When Fox cancelled Brooklyn Nine-Nine last spring, there was a solid 24 hours of outrage and garment rending, from lowly TV critics and less lowly Lin-Manuel Mirandas alike.

Then NBC picked Brooklyn Nine-Nine up and there was great rejoicing.

Well, you may mock Fox for essentially choosing to resurrect Last Man Standing instead of continuing with Brooklyn Nine-Nine and the ratings speak for themselves. Fox is happy.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, meanwhile, returns to TV on Thursday night to what is probably a better home for it anyway. As an NBCUniversal production, it's now in-house for NBC and they have reasons to nurture it that maybe Fox never did, and even if there isn't more hands-on nurturing, Brooklyn Nine-Nine just feels like it fits better paired with co-creator Mike Schur's NBC favorite The Good Place or in the same sphere as NBC's comparable workplace comedy Superstore. Along those lines, watch Superstore if you're not watching it already. It really is one of the best things on broadcast TV these days, a show that started off star-driven and has become a precious ensemble that can do wackiness or, when the situation calls for it, play drama. It's really a lot like Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Consider this, then, less a "review" and more a "reassurance." The Brooklyn Nine-Nine that premieres Thursday night on NBC is essentially the Brooklyn Nine-Nine you remember from Fox. That's a very good thing, indeed.

Although it isn't some spoiler-rich mythology-based show that one could ruin by revealing key details, it's still more friendly to tip-toe around what transpires in the first two episodes of the 18-episode sixth season.

When we left, Jake (Andy Samberg) and Amy (Melissa Fumero) had successfully tied the knot, capping off one of the smoother TV transitions you'll ever see from will-they-or-won't-they flirtation to tentative romance to engagement to marriage. The premiere, called "Honeymoon" because much of it takes place on Jake and Amy's honeymoon (making that not a spoiler of any significance), is a quick and easy reminder of how good Fumero and Samberg are together. When Brooklyn Nine-Nine began, it was a star vehicle for Samberg as he departed Saturday Night Live, and the show's progression from hit-and-miss curiosity to top-tier comedy came when all involved parties recognized that Samberg could still be a leading man without the show stopping every time he wanted to do some schtick. He still can go big when the situation requires, but he's just as comfortable playing Jake small, human and sympathetic, and that, in turn, has given Fumero the opportunity to go wonderfully broad at times. I don't buy every "opposites attract" couple on TV. I absolutely buy the elements that make sloppy, frequently untethered Jake and stuffy, frequently obsessive Amy work.

The premiere also picks up on the cliffhanger of whether or not Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) was selected as commissioner. It remains true that if this were the 1990s, Braugher would have already won four or five Emmys for this performance, and the only reason we don't bemoan his having won zero Emmys for this performance is that Andre Braugher does not lack for Emmys. Here, he continues to play the very genuine drama of Holt's desire to be commissioner, the barriers he wants to break and the respect he yearns for, and yet I could watch a full 22 minutes of Holt/Braugher explaining the euphemisms on vacation novelty t-shirts and never stop laughing.

The season's second episode is also titled to thwart possible spoiling. Named "Hitchcock & Scully," it is the origin story for Dirk Blocker's Hitchcock and Joel McKinnon Miller's Scully that you never knew you needed. Other than to tease that part of the episode takes place in 1986, I won't ruin anything beyond saying that the episode is a reminder of the depth of the Brooklyn Nine-Nine ensemble. I don't think I'd watch a Hitchcock/Scully-centric episode every week. I'd definitely watch a Hitchcock/Scully-centric episode every season.

And don't worry — Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz), Terry (Terry Crews), Charles (Joe Lo Truglio) and Gina (Chelsea Peretti) have showcase moments in the first two episodes as well. In the hypothetical '90s Emmys world I just mentioned, each member of the supporting cast probably would have an Emmy nomination or two and there would surely be great worldwide recognition for how complicated a comic creation Beatriz's Rosa has become. I can't strongly enough urge every person with an Emmy vote to find a YouTube clip in which Beatriz speaks in her own voice and uses her own mannerisms.

Returning quickly to the new Brooklyn Nine-Nine episodes, this isn't one of those network-transferring situations in which there's an evident change in budget or production values. In fact, there's some initial plot-driven chaos that plays out in the first couple installments that made the secondary storylines feel a tiny bit over-filled and frenzied — but only occasionally too frenzied. Since Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a show that does chaos well — even if I'm not the biggest fan of the annual heist episode — most viewers will probably just see this as an extension of the business-as-usual start to the new season.

So consider this also a reminder that in transferring networks, Brooklyn Nine-Nine probably slipped off your DVR recording list and you probably need to set a new recording if you're a fan of the show because, as I may have mentioned, the Brooklyn Nine-Nine that premieres Thursday night on NBC is essentially the Brooklyn Nine-Nine you remember from Fox. And that's a good thing.

Airs: Thursday, 9 p.m. ET/PT (NBC)