Fox took a hatchet to their comedy lineup on Thursday. The network canceled three sitcoms from their 2018 lineup, The Last Man On Earth, The Mick, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The cancellation of Brooklyn Nine-Nine led to an online outcry. After five seasons, the series had developed a faithful following that was disappointed the series would not be returning. Late Friday evening, NBC rescued Brooklyn Nine-Nine by picking up the series for a 13-episode sixth season. Brooklyn Nine-Nine deserved one more season. Brooklyn Nine-Nine earned a chance to end on its own terms.
Thankfully, NBC is giving the sitcom about a precinct of misfit cops another shot. Brooklyn Nine-Nine will be the third Michael Schur comedy on NBC for the 2018-19 season, joining The Good Place and the new sitcom Abby’s.
This is the first time since Conan O’Brien was foolishly kicked off the Tonight Show that I have been grateful for an NBC lineup decision. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one of the very few comedies that I have watched every episode of. Judging by the online outcry in support of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I am not alone.
Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Torro tweeted lavish praise for the series, calling its characters “beautiful, powerful, flawed, vulnerable, majestic”
Sean Astin also aired his disappointment that the series was cancelled. The actor said, “I love all of those people & they earned the right 2 have a final season victory lap where I could emotionally prepare.”
Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Appeal
An unrivaled ensemble cast has always kept my interest in the workplace comedy. Balanced writing ensures that the series never jumped the shark. In many ways, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the perfect network sitcom. Throughout much of this current season, there were indications that the series might be going through some changes.
Many characters have gone through significant developments, a sign that the series might not be quite the same after this year. Captain Holt is in line for a promotion to be NYPD Commissioner, Rosa Diaz went public with her sexual identity, Amy Santiago received a promotion to be sergeant, and Amy and Jake Peralta are about to married.
These are normally signs that a comedy series has stretched its material as far as it can go, but that is not the case for Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It is the rare comedy whose fifth season is just as funny as its pilot.
Jake Makes Suspects Sing “I Want It That Way,” Season Five, Episode 17:
The series has mostly achieved this feat through Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s incredible ensemble cast and their implementation of a wide range of stories. No episode or season spent too much time with one character or plot. There have been few developments that lasted more than a couple of episodes. This style allows for a perpetually fresh vibe every week.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Cast
Another reason for Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s continued electricity has been its amazing ensemble cast. Most of the characters receive just the right amount of screen time. Even though Andy Samberg is the biggest name of the series, he does not dominate the show and is just as much a part of the sitcom as anyone else in the principal cast.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Creator Michael Schur should receive high praise for pulling off this equity. Whether it is Jake’s obsession with Die Hard, Amy’s organizational OCD, Rosa’s tough persona, Terry’s yogurt habit, Andre Braugher’s amazing Julliard delivery, or even Cheddar the Corgi, each member of Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s cast feels equally important. Even though the gross behavior of Scully and Hitchcock is used in limited chunks, it is always used judiciously. They never go away for too long and they never dominate the show.
Holt’s Secret Weapon, Cheddar the Corgi, “Season 4, Episode 5”
This is an unusual accomplishment for a comedy to pull off. Most shows eventually center around one or two characters.
A series like Parks and Recreation had a popular ensemble cast, but there was never a doubt that Amy Poehler was the star of the series. Night Court featured a great regular cast, but Harry and Christine’s love story dominated much of the series. Family sitcoms like Home Improvement and The Cosby Show frequently center on the Dad.
What makes great television special is when a show has created characters that we become invested in. These characters enter our homes every week and you can’t help but develop a unique attachment to a drama or comedy. After a while, you can forget that you watching a production because you feel like you know these characters as well as you know your friends. It can be a bad guy like Tony Soprano or a funny woman like Liz Lemon.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the type of show where you learn to love each character. One reason for that bond between audience and actors might that we saw something of ourselves or people we know in the series.
Captain Holt’s Hula Hooping, Season 1, Episode 21:
Many observations have been made about Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s diversity. The main characters include an African-American male, a gay African-American male, a Caucasian woman, and three Caucasian men, and two Latina women, one of whom is bisexual. While this important, it is the manner in which the series relays so many individual stories that allows for a genuine connection between viewers and the show.
Perhaps it is through my own filter, maybe it is through the show’s intent, but it really never dawned on me until recently that the series is a standard bearer for diverse television. Stories involving each character’s personal background are typically contained within an episode. They are also performed in a way that does not seem trite. The stories happen. The characters treat each development as normal and not a special showcase event.
Instead of seeing each character through a demographic lens they are primarily known for their personal traits. They aren’t only gay, straight, or a person of color. Not one actor is a token representation. They are a nerd, a fanboy, an opera fanatic, a badass, a foodie, a workout junkie, and a couple of weirdos.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Deserved One More Season
I know that asking for just one more season may come off as wanting one more weekend day on Monday morning. Brooklyn Nine-Nine should receive a shot at ending on its own terms.
After five years, many beloved characters are going full circle with important story arcs. Even if the series only receives an additional half-season, it would have been a shame to spend five years watching characters grow and not see them complete their on-screen stories.
Fans who have stuck with the series through five years might now be rewarded with a proper send-off. These characters have earned closure. Brooklyn Nine-Nine deserved one more season.