“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is a stale cop show — why did it get picked up?

The show's no better than the cancelled "Ironside" -- is Fox hoping for the next "Parks and Rec"?

Topics: TV, ironside, Blair Underwood,

"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" is a stale cop show -- why did it get picked up?Blair Underwood in "Ironside," Andy Samberg in "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (Credit: NBC/Vivian Zink/Fox/Eddy Chen)

Last week it was announced that NBC was canceling its “Ironside” remake after only three weeks. That comes as no surprise considering the show is based on a winning formula that can’t always win. Both overly flashy and unconvincingly gritty, “Ironside” stars Blair Underwood as a surly cop haunted by his past who flouts regulation at every turn and employs rapid deductive reasoning at a level that borders on the mystical. Underwood does his best to imbue the wheelchair-bound detective with edge and gravitas, but ultimately the effort just felt like a competent actor taking a shot at a fairly stock character. No more can be said for the supporting characters, a collection of in-fighting wannabe anti-heroes clearly intended to read as a dysfunctional family.

Fox’s “Brooklyn 99″ also features a dysfunctional band of NY-based police officers. It also boasts a surly black cop in Andre Braugher’s Captain Ray Holt, a decorated monk of an officer whose sexual orientation — Whoa, he’s gay! — adds about as little to his character as Underwood’s chair does to his. But Holt is not the center of the precinct universe. That would be former SNL’er Andy Samberg’s Detective Jake Peralta. Like Robert Ironside, Peralta is a rule-breaker and authority-baiter and, predictably, a kick-ass crimefighter. But because “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is a workplace comedy and not a drama, Peralta is also a slacker, a goofball, and an office prankster.

Neither program feels greater than the sum of its parts. From the pilot episode, Samberg’s self-absorbed doofus felt well on its way to stale. Now and again, Braugher’s exceedingly flat delivery scores points for pure weirdness. But as a whole, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s” ensemble never seems to strike the chord of fun, functional workplace anarchy that hums on, say, “Parks and Recreation.” “Parks and Rec” did take a season before it began to sing, though. So maybe that’s why Fox has decided to pick up “Brooklyn Nine-nine” for a full season despite what the New York Times calls “marginal” ratings. (The show is getting a coveted spot behind the upcoming Super Bowl with “The New Girl,” a more established hit. Also, oddly, “Parks and Recreation” has recently been put on hiatus by NBC. So, apparently, no funny deed goes unpunished.)



A final note about “Ironside:” While I’m not sad to see the show go — we’re all waist-deep in procedurals at this point — I am disappointed that Blair Underwood will not be a staple on weekly television. “Ironside” may not have been the best possible vehicle for Underwood’s amalgam of good looks and bountiful charm. But even in this flawed setting, the veteran actor’s proven leading man qualities were evident. I hope to see him in the driver’s seat again soon.

 

Correction: An earlier version of the headline of this piece misstated “Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s” status. It has been picked up for a full season. 

Actor Adam Scott has also disputed initial reports that “Parks and Recreation” had been put on hiatus.

Neil Drumming

Neil Drumming is a staff writer for Salon. Follow him on Twitter @Neil_Salon.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...