Although it’s actually in the middle of airing its third season over in the US, the award-winning comedy series Brooklyn 99 is back all-guns-blazing with season two, available on Netflix for those of us still a year behind in the UK. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, Brooklyn 99 follows an only mildly dysfunctional group of New York cops, and the various and hilarious hijinks they get up to at the ‘Nine-Nine’. Very much in the vein of co-creator Michael Schur’s other projects (Parks and Recreation; The Office), the show stars comedian Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live; The Lonely Island) and cop-show veteran Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life on the Street), to name just a few of the talented and diverse cast.
I was a fan of season one right from the start, but the new season really opens up full-throttle on the relationships between the lead characters. The laughs keep coming, but more importantly, there’s a real sense of progression and change in many of the characters. Stoic Captain Holt (Braugher) really begins to shed his impenetrable facade at crucial moments, leading to some truly enjoyable bonding with the rest of the cast. Accordingly, ‘Payback’ was by far one of the most enjoyable episodes of season two, finally seeing Detective Santiago (Melissa Fumero) get her chance to partner-up with Holt, with rather disastrous consequences. Notable shout-outs go to ‘The Jimmy Jab Games’, ‘Halloween II’, and ‘Chopper’, though every episode has some great moments.
These moments are, of course, what makes the show, combining witty dialogue with just the right amount of slapstick and absurdity. No character is ever solely the butt of a joke (except, perhaps, Hitchcock and Scully), making the banter seem very real. The main cast aren’t clowns at their job, either—they’re good cops, and the show reminds you of this more often than not. It manages to carve out its own unique style amid a sea of cop-show comedies, realistically balancing competence and incompetence in a way that we can all relate to.
That said, while Brooklyn 99 might have it’s own distinctive tone and style, it’s one that isn’t immune to change. The first season established the tone far more effectively than the premier seasons of Parks and Recreation and The Office, but most importantly, season two offers something subtly new, rather than more of the same. Shows with small casts of characters are notoriously difficult to write for, since writers have to find a halfway point between writing the characters people know and love, and being innovative enough to keep people interested. Brooklyn 99 certainly delivers on this, and like Parks and Rec before it, has a promising future ahead. So if you’re already looking to procrastinate this semester, why not ‘cop’-out with Brooklyn 99?
It’s okay, I’ll show myself out after that pun.