May 25, 2016

[TV] Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2

After the fun of the first season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, you'd think this highly episodic sitcom would now slide into the comfort zone of longer-term narratives or something. But at the same time, it's undeniable that a lot of the strength of the show is how crazy and unpredictable each episode is. But not allowing the story to dominate, they've allowed the individual character stories play a larger role in things. And I think that has helped drive things forward.

The second season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is an interesting continuation of those strong, character-driven stories but also dropping hints of longer term stories as well. In this sense it sort of reminds me of the narrative structure of Discworld where it helps to read the books in order but each stands alone well. And this is how the various episodes of the show feel like to me as they're all crazy little tales but in the end it all works out.

And I'm glad that they didn't really go for introducing a whole host of additional regular or featured players in character roles. So the show remained focused on the crazy little crew that they had already assembled.

Synopsis: Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a police comedy series created by Dan Goor and Michael Schur. This second season ran for 23 episodes, which is one episode more than the first season. At this point, the series has already been confirmed for a full fourth season.

The season begins with Jake (Andy Samberg) returns from an undercover assignment with the FBI. I'm not entirely sure how he managed to survive being undercover without, well, being himself and thus ruining his cover, but we just go with it. And while his undercover life seems to have had some sort of impact on him, but this only really lasted for an episode or two. He's still Jake after all. And this sort of sets the tone for the show where we see characters go through major changes, but at the end of the day they're still themselves.

But facing the group as a sort of antagonist figure isn't some big crime boss - that would be far too serious for this show. Instead we got Deputy Commissioner Madeleine Wuntch (Kyra Sedgwick) as an adversary to Captain Holt (Andre Braugher), thus making her a rival to the Nine-Nine as a whole. And thus we begin a running gag of both Holt's friends and enemies all being of very similar demeanor to him - you know, total life of the party.

The season also threw in some interesting curveballs like how Jake and Amy (Melissa Fumero) didn't act on Jake's profession of love, thus we get a lot of Amy making the most of her time with her new boyfriend Teddy. Then there's how Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) and Gina (Chelsea Peretti) actually become a strange sort of thing and it oddly works and yet is such a trainwreck as well.

And that's also part of the charm of the show - how we have a group of quirky and even misfit detectives in a precinct that could be a lot better. And while they do become more successful as a unit they never quite stop being freaks and misfits. This is not about the becoming better than they were before but just making the most of their limited skills for the group good. And I really like that about the show.

And the big twist at the of the season feels like the sort of thing that could totally change the direction of the show, but that's a question that can only be answered come the third season. And for this second season, Brooklyn Nine-Nine gets a great 4 crazy arrests out of a possible 5.


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