30 Rock Season 1

30 Rock Season 1

NBC sitcom 30 Rock, headed by former Saturday Night Live writer/performer Tina Fey, about a SNL-like sketch comedy show, started the year in the shadow of the similar Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip but turned out to actually be under the shadow of a genius performance by Alec Baldwin as Fey’s boss. Studio 60 got the axe and so might have 30 Rock if NBC wasn’t in a serious ratings slide - a circumstance that also saved fellow Thursday night laughers Scrubs and The Office. But a very funny thing happened through the course of 30 Rock - Tina Fey went from stunned to stunning as the straight woman to the surrounding insanity, and another SNL alum, Tracy Morgan, turned his character Tracy Jordan into the most brilliant deconstruction of African American culture on television. Critics, peeved that their previous love The Office was actually getting (sniff) popular, jumped on Fey’s bandwagon and a cult hit, well, it wasn’t born but it survived the ratings guillotine for now. Sadly, on this first season DVD, the show has fallen in love with its own quirks, particularly in the form of NBC page Kenneth (Jack McBrayer), who gets most of the screen-time in the winking, oh-so-droll featurettes. He hosts his own low-budget talk show, gives tours of the back lot and generally avoids mentioning that Fey and Baldwin only show up for a couple of commentaries, and Morgan only does so briefly and with reluctance. The vibe is of a show completely convinced of its own cutting-edge genius (which The Office has but knows better than to flaunt); the sitcom itself doesn’t suffer from such pretensions. Here’s hoping it doesn’t affect the on-air product in the coming year, otherwise increasing numbers will be saying, "I gave at The Office.” Plus: deleted scenes, wrap party, blooper reel, more. (Universal)