So, why the Internet freakout for a show that was averaging fewer than 2 million viewers this season? For those unaware of the show and its impact, allow us to explain:
Of course humor is subjective, and the series — about the adventures of detectives in a Brooklyn police precinct — is filled with inside jokes that only viewers can appreciate. But just watch this recent cold open that involves crime, the Backstreet Boys and singing from Andy Samberg, who starred as the always goofy detective Jake Peralta.
Ratings don’t tell the whole story.
In an interview with TVGuide, co-creator Dan Goor admitted that the live ratings aren’t great — but Fox executives consider more than just traditional TV numbers, particularly in this era of on-demand and streaming.
“Their official statement to us is they don’t look at that kind of ratings data, and I hope to god that is true,” Goor said. “But also, our show does very well in the Live+7 setting, and we’re one of the most-watched live-action shows on Hulu.”
The Live+7 rating means all the people who watched the show a week after it first aired; that, combined with the Hulu numbers and its TBS syndication deal, proves that the show actually had quite a loyal fan base.
It has one of the most diverse casts on broadcast television.
When the show was first picked up in 2013, Melissa Fumero — who plays detective Amy Santiago — marveled that there were two Latina women in the main cast. That was very rare, even five years ago.
“When we first did the pilot, and we first got picked up and did the first season, it was something a lot of people were talking about,” Fumero told Us Weekly. “It was something that my [co-star] Stephanie [Beatriz] and I couldn’t believe — that they hired two Latinas. At the time, that never happened. We thought one of us was going to get fired, for sure.”
Beatriz’s character, detective Rosa Diaz, came out as bisexual in the fifth season. And Andre Braugher starred as Capt. Raymond Holt, who frequently spoke of the challenges of being a gay, African American cop in the New York Police Department.
It explores tough issues.
This past Sunday’s episode dealt with the precinct’s reaction to an active shooter; last season, an entire episode talked about racial profiling when Sgt. Terry Jeffords (played by Terry Crews) was stopped on the street in front of his own home by another officer.
The characters were actually nice.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” comes from co-creators Goor and Mike Schur, who were also behind NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” which was known for being one of the kinder, happier shows on television. And while the “Brooklyn” characters never hesitated to make fun of each other, or play pranks, there was an underlying sweetness to it all, a theme that struck a chord for viewers.