For five seasons, Brooklyn Nine-Nine aired on Fox to the tune of modest ratings and critical acclaim, as a smart police-centric sitcom that hilariously tackled some heavy social issues. While the television landscape has long been dominated by police dramas, Brooklyn was a welcomed breath of fresh air – a smart, well-written series that broke away from traditional narratives and brought about the best cold opens since The Office. But late last week, Fox announced it would be pulling the plug on the series.
The move came on the heels of the network signing a $3.3 billion deal with the National Football League for Thursday Night Football, which meant there would be some scheduling changes, though few thought Brooklyn would suffer the same fate as countless Fox shows before it. That’s because the Andy Samberg-led ensemble was really beginning to hit its stride the last two seasons, celebrating its 100th episode and lightheartedly tackling subjects like racial profiling and police corruption. But with the news of the cancellation, Brooklyn fans flocked to Twitter to voice their displeasure and, despite a slight ratings dip this season, it was the network’s top-rated live action comedy series.
Within almost an hour, the television show was the No. 2 trending topic in the world on Twitter – no easy feat – with people sharing a wide range of emotions about the cancellation. Tweets just continued to pour in, coming from the show’s cast as well as some of Hollywood’s heavy hitters – with everyone from Mark Hamill to Guillermo del Toro, and even the Backstreet Boys, sharing their displeasure of the cancellation news. Almost immediately, fans were calling for another network to pick up the series, which has happened recently with shows such as The Mindy Project, Community and Southland getting un-cancelled.
— backstreetboys (@backstreetboys) May 10, 2018
And then it happened, just several days later, with NBC officially announcing it would pick up Brooklyn for 13 episodes, much to the elation of fans and the cast alike. The network might be taking a bit of a gamble in acquiring the series but the transition to NBC just makes a lot of sense for all parties involved. The show is made by Universal Television, which just so happens to be the sister studio of NBC, though it wasn’t on the peacock network because Fox shelled out more cash back in 2012 and its competitor failed to match it – and apparently regretted it.
“Ever since we sold this show to Fox I’ve regretted letting it get away,” NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt admitted in a statement. “Mike Schur, Dan Goor, and Andy Samberg grew up on NBC and we’re all thrilled that one of the smartest, funniest, and best cast comedies in a long time will take its place in our comedy line-up. I speak for everyone at NBC, here’s to the Nine-Nine!”
A move like this one is still a complete rarity, despite the fact that television continues to evolve towards countless major networks and streaming services. Two decades ago, without the clout of social media, a cancelled show returning on a different network would almost never have occurred. Sure, there are a handful of instances – but that’s about it. While fans often used to moan when a network pulled a plug on their favorite show, that was usually the end of it, whereas today they have a platform to voice their displeasure and can interact with those who feel similar. Fans were adamant about Brooklyn’s cancellation and immediately it went to the forefront of the news cycle. So, what exactly do the fans get out of the series’ move to NBC?
Most importantly, fans will get closure. Though it seems highly unlikely because of the events that just took place, if Brooklyn sputters with NBC for the 13-episode sixth season, the show will at least get the opportunity to end the way the writers and cast want, rather than with a season finale cliffhanger. Because Samberg’s character appeared set to marry Melissa Fumero’s character in the upcoming finale, it might have been a good way to close the book on the series, but probably not the appropriate way, considering how the series and characters developed.
Right now, television is at its all-time best, with programming that often rivals the big screen, features Hollywood’s best actors entering our homes and has the ability to be consumed at our convenience. Older generations that lived through shows like I Love Lucy, Cheers or Hill Street Blues might disagree but there’s just so much more available now and with premium networks and services throwing in more cash to produce content, the quality of shows is much more groundbreaking and incredible. And, the fact that fans can be instrumental in somewhat determining the fate of a series just proves we are living in the best era of television.