New show: "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. on Fox
Andy Samberg was always a reliable comic presence in his years on "Saturday Night Live," but his charms tended to work best in small doses. So when you hear he's the lead of the new Fox comedy "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," premiering Tuesday night, you wonder whether the goofball is capable of pulling it off.
Happily, the answer is an emphatic yes. With a smart script (courtesy of "Parks and Recreation" writers) and a talented, diverse cast backing up Samberg, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" is one of the best comedies of the new season.
Granted, the set-up is not that novel – a fun-loving, sarcastic police detective faces a by-the-book new captain. But Samberg's Detective Jake Peralta is more endearing than annoying, whether he's quoting "Donnie Brasco" or flouting a new dress code by pairing his tie with a Speedo.
And as the captain, Andre Braugher is much more than the straitlaced straight man he seems to be at first glance. (Braugher, an Emmy winner as a very serious cop on "Homicide: Life on the Street," shows real comedic talent as a lawmen who once cracked the case of the "disco strangler.")
Throw in Melissa Fumero as Samberg's ultra-competitive detective partner, Terry Crews as a sergeant who seems to have lost his edge and Chelsea Peretti as a busybody civilian employee in the precinct, and you've got the potential for a lot of fun. Fumero, in particular, shows a flair for physical comedy in the pilot as she tries to apprehend a suspect while simultaneously shooing a nosy maintenance worker out of the way.
There are other fun touches, such as promised cameos from other comics that the detectives will meet while going door to door during an investigation. (It's Samberg's old "SNL" buddy, Fred Armisen, in the pilot.)
This is a sharp show that has virtually nothing in common with its dumb lead-in, "Dads." Here's hoping viewers will find "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." Missing it would be a real crime.