DVD: 30 Rock - Season One

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If you leave SNL for a show based on SNL, where do you go from there? Tina Fey may ask herself the same question if her ship-jumping creation doesn’t pan out. Featuring Alec Baldwin, (coincidentally one of the most featured guest hosts in SNL history), as well as Tracy Morgan, whose tip of the hat to a Martin Lawrence highway freak out is well alone worth a peek on a Wednesday night.

What clueless schmuck wrote this stuff? I did, a year ago.

Much has changed since then – that other series about a sketch comedy show, the one whose every ham-fisted diatribe and Nicholas Cage impression was dealt out with such self-importance, as if the Studio 60 gang were the crew of Apollo 11 (turned out to resemble the crew of the Enola Gay much more) – that one, it’s dead and buried.

What remains is not just the better fakeSNL, but the best new show of the year, giving The Office a network-sibling rival for best broadcast comedy.

While her stint as a head-writer on SNL was seen by many as just a segment of a long span of mostly forgettable years, something about the not-quite-new environs of the 30 Rock set was fortuitous for Tina Fey. She had the backing of Lorne Michaels, with his decades of Rolodexed stars to call on for guest spots (Paul Reubens, Will Arnett, Rip Torn, Emily Mortimer, Issabella freaking Rossellini, Edie Falco for season 2), and a hall of famer SNL guest turned daily contributer, in Alec Baldwin. There’s also the on-demand bug-outs we’ve come to expect from Tracy Morgan (at the onset of the series, Fey told him “I want you to fly over the cuckoo’s nest every episode.”)

Take those factors, add the out-of-nowhere revelation that is slack-jawed NBC page Kenneth (played by Jack McBrayer), and the evolved on-screen self-confidence that Fey herself has discovered over the course of the season, and you’re champagne sipping at the Emmy’s, sitting on 10 nominations.

The 30 Rock season 1 DVD, out now, features some choice, Kenneth-heavy special features:

— Selected episode commentaries from Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Lorne Michaels, and Jack McBrayer.
— “An Evening with Kenneth” – Mini talk-show segments with cast interviews, hosted by Kenneth.
— Deleteds, Gag Reel, all the regular trimmings.

Season two debuts on October 4th.

Posted by Ted Zee on September 07th 2007 | Home Page | 2 Comments Subscribe to this site's feed

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