It is a rare joy (though less rare than it once was) to watch new episodes of a show you thought was gone forever. That cheer makes the latest season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine even more gratifying…that and the show’s goofy sweetness, which makes it through the transition from Fox to NBC completely intact. The season 5 cliff-hanger — did stoic Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) land the job as NYPD Commissioner or not? — is resolved in the first few minutes, and that news has consequences for the 99th precinct, as well as Jake (Andy Samberg) and Amy’s (Melissa Fumero) honeymoon in Mexico.
The first two episodes feature a characteristic blend of low-brow humor (a running gag involving novelty T-shirts, including one boasting a picture of a thong-wearing pineapple and the word slut), detailed deconstruction of said low-brow humor (“Is the pineapple the slut, or is it calling someone a slut?”), office comedy (a turf war erupts over the break-room microwave), and unexpected literary references (Jake reads Walt Whitman — who knew?). It’s smart, silly, good-natured, and very Brooklyn.
A new network may mean some new viewers. Welcome, but be warned: The real delight here is cumulative, in the clever build of seasons-long running jokes to the mythology around the squad’s more peculiar characters. Episode 2 serves as an origin story of sorts for the buffoonish Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker) and Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller), and it is majestically absurd. This is a show that rewards loyalty, but even newcomers can enjoy the beauty of Braugher’s impeccable enunciation. Just wait until you hear him say “legs akimbo”! Grade: B+