Hey you! This isn't a review, it's a PREview. Huge difference. Most notably, the "P." Also, these PREviews are based on early cuts of pilots that might change drastically by the time they officially hit the air, so we can't properly review them. But we CAN give you an idea of what to expect. In this series of early looks at the new shows of fall 2013, there's no contemplating, no deep analysis; just super-duper quick thoughts on what we just watched that we're passing on to you. We'll revisit each previewed show in the fall with the hyper-intellectual breakdowns and fart jokes you're used to from us goons here at TV.com.
STARRING AND CREATED BY: It's the Andy Samberg show! Well sorta. Samberg is the showcase here, but overall, this cast is fantastic. Andre Braugher (last seen warning the hell out of us in Last Resort), Melissa Fumero (One Life to Live), Terry Crews (beefy Old Spice guy), newcomer Stephanie Beatriz, Chelsea Peretti (Parks and Recreation writer), and Joe Lo Truglio (The State) make one of TV's best new comedy ensembles. Parks and Recreation's dynamic duo of Dan Goor and Mike Schur are co-creators.
THE GIST: A ragtag group of detectives working in a Brooklyn precinct are goofy, and that's pretty much all you need to know. Samberg plays the hotshot cocky cop, Fumero is the hot cop, and Braugher is the new captain who has to keep these kids under control. Funny cops, basically.
SNAP JUDGMENT: Ladies and gentlefolks, we now have a contender for best new network comedy of fall 2013. It looks like the show will split its time between hanging around the precinct and being out in the field solving cases, and based on the pilot, you're going to want to spend time in both places. Mixing them gives the show some very welcome forward momentum that most comedies lack, but it also means some of the B and C stories get pushed back a bit. There are definitely The Office and Parks and Recreation vibes here as Brooklyn Nine-Nine is technically a workplace comedy, and what makes those shows chug along are the characters and the cast. Fortunately, this cast is outstanding overall. And I'll watch anything with Braugher; he knows how to play a part, which in this case is the straight man (well, sorta, you'll see). This is that second strong comedy (the first one being New Girl) that Fox has been searching for. It's got an instantly strong voice and tone.
PILOTITIS DIAGNOSIS: The precinct is already up and running when we show up, it's just Braugher's character who's a newbie, so we get a very natural introduction to the gang when Crews' character gives him the download. There's a great sense of what the series is: a combination of cases, inter-office escapades, slapstick, and one-liners.
FACES TO LOOK OUT FOR: You already know Samberg and Brauer, so it's the women who have the biggest chance to break out. Peretti, who's well known around the comedy scene, should have had a regular gig on a TV show a long time ago. She's hilarious and probably the best character in the pilot, despite having less screen time than the rest of the cast. Beatriz reminds me of Aubrey Plaza's homicidal sister, in a good way. And Fumero (meow!) should be fine in her turn on the comedy scene once she learns how to disguise the fact that she's always juuuuust about to crack up at Samberg's jokes. You'll also recognize the well-traveled comedy vet Lo Truglio; this is your chance to remember his name instead of just thinking of him as "that guy from that thing."
RANDOM THOUGHTS: Samberg's idle smirk makes me want to slap it off his face. And though I've been historically anti-Samberg, you know what? He's not too annoying in this. Even when he's wearing a Speedo.
EXCITEMENT LEVEL: Pretty high! On the 1 to 10 scale, it's an 8, which is great for a network comedy. Would watch again.
PILOT PREVIEW POWER RANKINGS:
(Where we rank the fall season's pilots based on very early impressions)
1. Almost Human - J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman's robotic buddy-cop drama
2. Intelligence - Josh Holloway stars as a Cyber Command agent who has Wi-Fi in his brain
3. The Blacklist - James Spader is a master criminal who turns himself in to the FBI on one condition: He only works with the pretty new FBI agent
4. Dracula - Jonathan Rhys Meyers is the fanged one in this re-imagining of the classic story of an undead guy chasing his old girlfriend
5. Lucky 7 - A group of gas-station employees win the lottery, for better or worse
1. Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Andy Samberg and a bunch of buffoons are cops in Brooklyn
2. Trophy Wife - Malin Akerman marries into a big family and ends up with two ex-wives and three stepchildren in the process
3. The Crazy Ones - Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar are a father-daughter team in the advertising business
4. Enlisted - Geoff Stults goes to army reject camp with his two brothers
5. About a Boy - Jason Katims' TV adaptation of the film adaption of Nick Hornby's novel about a man-boy friendship