Detective in underpants

Many of us were concerned when Andy Samberg retired from Saturday Night Live last spring. Would the comic genius get trapped in more forgettable movies like Hot Rod, then disappear?

We needn’t have worried. Samberg stars in Brooklyn Nine- Nine, a single-camera sitcom that perfectly showcases his talent (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., Fox). He plays hotshot detective Jake Peralta, who jokes his way through investigations and clashes with his by-the-book captain (Andre Braugher). You won’t be surprised to see that Samberg — known for his absurdist SNL videos — finds just the right level of deadpan weirdness. (The pilot features a memorable sight gag with Jake in tie, holster and underpants.) You might be surprised to see him slip so effortlessly into a leading-man role. Jake is not only silly, but also confident in a sexy way.

“Humility over!” Jake announces after a brief attempt at self-effacement. “I’m amazing!” I would have to agree.

Haven 

Friday, 9 p.m. (Syfy) 

Haven is
based on Stephen King’s tale of a Maine town plagued by “Troubles.” The
Troubles are deadly phenomena — tornadoes, lightning, etc. — caused by
residents with unwanted paranormal powers. At the end of last season,
heroine Audrey (Emily Rose) seemingly sacrificed herself to end the
Troubles, dying in a sort of supernatural storm. But season four opens
with Audrey creepily transformed and local cop Nathan (Lucas Bryant) now
determined to end the Troubles by sacrificing himself. How to respond
to such a nightmarish scenario? With wisecracks, of course.

Haven
has a knack for keeping things tense while not taking itself too
seriously. The town’s residents are easy to like, though I can’t get
behind their obsession with ending the Troubles. Then there’d be no
season five.

Sleepy Hollow 

Monday, 8 p.m. (Fox) 

This
new dramatic series takes the fish-out-of-water gimmick to
unintentionally funny extremes. Revolutionary War soldier Ichabod Crane
(Tom Mison, playing a version of the Washington Irving character) wakes
up in the 21st century after a battle with the Headless Horseman. Ichabod
tries to convince a feisty modern-day detective (Nicole Beharie) to join
him in preventing the Horseman from unleashing hell on earth. For some
reason, this involves keeping him from finding his head.

When
the authorities get wind of Ichabod’s story, they throw him in the
loony bin. A similar fate may await the Fox executives who greenlighted Sleepy Hollow.

Dads 

Tuesday, 7 p.m. (Fox) 

In
this new sitcom from Seth MacFarlane, Warner (Giovanni Ribisi) and Eli
(Seth Green) must put up with their insufferable fathers (Martin Mull,
Peter Riegert). Warner resorts to knocking back a Scotch to survive a
night with his dad, who makes offensive comments about gays, Asians and
Puerto Ricans.

“The
Chinese are lovely, honorable people,” he says, “but you can’t trust
them!” The laugh track goes wild over that line, making you wonder if
it’s a laugh track left over from the 1950s.

The
problem with Dads is that, like Warner and Eli, viewers have to put up
with these insufferable fathers. And that proves impossible. Anybody
have a bottle of Scotch?

Dean Robbins

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