If you’re a fan of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” you sure had one hell of a time this month. Fox announced on May 10 that the show’s fifth and current season would be its last, and by the evening of May 11, NBC announced it was picking the show up for a sixth season with 13 episodes. Don’t worry if you had emotional whiplash in that short span of time, though, because many were riding that emotional roller coaster with you.
RENEW BROOKLYN NINE NINE
I ONLY WATCH LIKE 4 THINGS
THIS IS ONE OF THE THINGS#RenewB99
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) May 10, 2018
Oh NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! ???? I'm SO not ready to say #ByeBye99. Be forewarned @FOXTV-when networks dump shows I love, I'm known for holding grudges a long, L-O-N-G time. I'm still mad @CBS didn't renew #SquarePegs! ?#EverythingILikeGetsCancelled https://t.co/NEry6Hrpng
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) May 10, 2018
Not long after the news of the show’s cancellation dropped, it was trending on Twitter as viewers all over expressed their dismay, with some citing diversity and kindness as the reasons they’ll miss the show. But to fans’ relief, and possibly thanks to their tweeting, the show got picked up in less than two days.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” showrunner and co-creator, Dan Goor, tweeted that NBC picked up the show, adding, “Thanks in no small part to you, the best fans in the history of the world!”
Hey everyone, just wanted to say no big deal but….
NBC JUST PICKED #BROOKLYN99 UP FOR SEASON 6!!!
Thanks in no small part to you, the best fans in the history of the world!
— Dan Goor (@djgoor) May 12, 2018
The support certainly showed in the short period between the show’s cancellation and pick-up, but if so many people are watching and loving the show, why did it get cancelled in the first place?
The occasional tweet accuses the network of fearing diversity, but that theory is up for debate as other reasons appear more substantial. Fox cancelled its other comedies similar to “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” in form and style, like “The Mick,” suggesting an effort to maintain a certain type of show on the network.
With that, ratings also played a part as they do with most cancellations. The problem there, though, is one you’ve probably heard before — that live viewings don’t reflect how many people actually watch the show because many people watch online later on some sort of streaming platform.
On the topic of viewers watching online instead of live, Dan Goor said in an interview with Vulture, “Hulu doesn’t release its numbers, but I’m under the impression that we do very, very well there. But from a Fox perspective, they don’t own the show, so the show doing well on Hulu or internationally isn’t necessarily relevant to their business decisions.”
Goor gets why Fox made the decision they did, and he doesn’t want to criticize them for it, but given the fans’ eagerness to come to “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”’s defense, there was clearly a disconnect between the ratings and the show’s actual support. Hopefully NBC can take that support and run with it, especially regarding what many consider to make the show most appealing.
In the same Vulture interview, Goor made this point about what draws fans in to “Brooklyn Nine-Nine:” “People really responded to the fact that it’s a very diverse cast, that it feels very inclusive, that the jokes aren’t at the expense of characters. Those are all things we try to do and it was really heartwarming to see those were the things people liked about the show.”
With the show’s representation of people of color and the LGBTQ+ community, along with a more empathetic use of comedy than shows that prey on their characters, fans were understandably upset at the thought of the show being cancelled. But there’s still room to improve. This expansion of diversity and positivity may be something NBC allows or even encourages the show to do.
While there haven’t been any accusations against Fox trying to censor “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” or make it focus less on its variety of representation, moving to a different network gives the show a chance to give fans even more empathy and diversity.
If show-runner Goor identifies diversity as one of the biggest draws to the show, he has all the more reason to amp it up, and if NBC sees viewers love the representation, they’ll be happy to provide a platform for it and get the bump in ratings that provides.
And if for any reason you think “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” has reached the peak of diverse representation, know that there’s always more to do. Include more storylines that explore the characters’ diversity, their cultures or the struggles they face.
Give Rosa Diaz more room to express her bisexuality and more plotlines that show her in relationships with other women. Show Terry Jeffords being a simultaneously strong and emotional man and father. These are things the show already does, sure, but it’d be a win for fans and NBC alike; fans see characters like themselves on TV, and the network can continue to build its high ratings.
When out promoting “Deadpool 2,” Terry Crews of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” expressed his gratefulness and joy at the pick-up, saying, “First of all, NBC is bigger and better, it’s the perfect place for us. It’s kind of like out of the frying pan and into heaven, not into the fire but into heaven itself.” Crews’ claims could be backed up by a report last year by The Wrap, which showed NBC ranked highest in ratings.
That number may only go up with “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” in their lineup, but it could also introduce more viewers to the show who may not have seen it before. Hopefully the popularity of the show and network combined take a show already doing groundbreaking work for diversity on TV and take it strides ahead.