Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. Remember Arrested Development
? Smartest, funniest show on television. A critics' darling. An Emmy-winner for Best Comedy Series. But no one watched, and it was cancelled. Will history repeat itself with 30 Rock
? It's the smartest, funniest show on television. A critics' darling. An Emmy-winner for Best Comedy Series. And it finished its inaugural season in 137th place! Hopefully, people will discover all that they missed with this Season 1
set and 30 Rock
will, better late than never, find the audience it so richly deserves. A behind-the-scenes workplace comedy in the grand tradition of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
and The Dick Van Dyke Show
, 30 Rock
stars comedy geek goddess Tina Fey as Liz Lemmon, who juggles her hapless personal life with her chaotic career as the producer and head writer of an SNL
-ish sketch comedy show. She has a new boss, cunning and ruthless GE executive Jack Donaghy (Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award-winner Alec Baldwin), who insists on being her mentor, and a new star, medicated, loose-cannon comedian Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan), who steals the spotlight from the show's flighty star, Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski).
Briskly paced and perfectly cast, 30 Rock rewards viewers with brilliant dialogue (when Liz asks Jack why he is dressed in a tuxedo with no formal event to attend, he coolly responds, "It's after six; what am I, a farmer?") and fresh characters you haven't seen on a hundred other sitcoms. Jack McBrayer is the series' scene-stealing breakout star as NBC page Kenneth, a sweet and innocent "rube." The ensemble's seemingly spontaneous byplay invites repeat viewings to catch jokes and sly bits of business you might have missed (in "Tracy Does Conan," listen for the initial confusion over how to pronounce Tracy's less-than-ethical physician, Dr. Spaceman, or, in "The Hair and the Head," watch for the Katie Couric slur on the wall of what is purported to be NBC anchor Brian Williams' trashed office). In a season full of gems (including "Black Tie," featuring Paul Reubens as severely inbred royalty), there are only a couple of comparative clunkers, but the pleasure of this ensemble's company more than compensates. 30 Rock is highly recommended for people like Kenneth who just love television so much. And by the hammer of Thor, watch season 2! --Donald Liebenson
Emmy Award winner Tina Fey writes, executive produces, and stars as Liz Lemon, the head writer of a live variety program in New York City. Liz's life is turned upside down when brash new network executive Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin in his Golden Globe winning role) interferes with her show, bringing the wildly unpredictable Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) into the cast. Now it's up to Liz to manage the mayhem and still try and have a life. Join in the behind-the-scenes hilarity with the complete first season (21 episodes) on DVD.