Fox had its very own night of the long knives on May 10th, which saw the cancellation of three critically acclaimed comedy series: The Mick, The Last Man On Earth, and, most controversially, Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Brainchild of the creators of Parks and Recreation Dan Goor and Michael Schur, Brooklyn Nine-Nine boasted a fine ensemble cast, including Lonely Island member Andy Samberg and vast living meme Terry Crews. Its cancellation has already provoked outrage from the fanbase, including big names such as Mark Hamill, Seth Meyers, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Hamilton. Change.org petitions to save the show have already garnered thousands of signatures, and the cast and crew have taken to Twitter to thank the fans for their support.
Wow. Thank you all for this incredible outpouring of support. #brooklyn99 fans are the best fans in the world. It means the world to me and everyone else who works on the show.
Despite this devoted fanbase, Brooklyn Nine-Nine was on thin ice already, having only barely been recommissioned for its fourth season due to low viewing figures hampered by the show’s inconsistent scheduling (it should be noted that this completely discounts streaming, which is the method the show’s younger fanbase would have reached for first). And despite the viewing figures, it was by far Fox’s highest rated live-action comedy this season, with the only shows rated anywhere near as highly being – irony of ironies – The Mick and The Last Man On Earth.
And despite being produced and airing in a climate in which the police are not viewed particularly favourably, Brooklyn Nine-Nine was embraced by progressive audiences – largely because of Andre Braugher’s character, Captain Raymond Holt, the least stereotypical gay character since Omar Little. The most recent season also saw Stephanie Beatriz’s character Rosa Diaz come out as bisexual, which given her character traits (or just the leather jacket alone) might have been seen as stereotypical were it not for the fact that Beatriz is herself bisexual, and the character development was at her suggestion.
The upcoming season finale, “Jake & Amy”, is apparently a wedding episode between two main characters – and as such, probably good material for a last episode ever. Usually I would make mention of ‘jumping the shark’ here, as shows which resolve their characters’ long-running sexual tension tend to take a nosedive in quality, but Brooklyn Nine-Nine – to give very due credit – had avoided that fate admirably.
And fans shouldn’t necessarily resign themselves to this conclusion quite yet – there is already extensive speculation that Hulu, the streaming service with rights to the show’s distribution, may pick it up as their own project. Hulu have form for this, having saved the far less well known The Mindy Project (another single-camera comedy) in 2015. However, given the online reaction, you might just as easily expect the show’s producers to start a Patreon and strike out on their own – particularly given as Samberg cut his teeth with online-only content.