* Prices may differ from that shown
30 Rock is a programme that I had heard good things about for a while without actually watching. I had enjoyed a few things that I had seen Tina Fey in or she had written (such as Mean Girls) and knew that she and the rest of the Saturday Night Live crew had a very good comedy reputation, and so thought that this would be the kind of programme that I would enjoy. The first series was therefore one of the DVDs that I bought before moving to Spain about a year and a half ago, as I wanted something new to watch as I wouldn't have access to iPlayer, 4oD and the like while abroad. I gave it a go not long after moving there and have to say that I was fairly unimpressed. While there were a lot of things to like in it, I found a few of the actors/characters annoying and just couldn't really get into it and so stopped watching it about half way through. I didn't go back to it until just last week, when my boyfriend and I were looking for something light to watch that didn't require much concentration. He had seen and enjoyed the first series before and so was keen to watch it again, and so I thought it was about the time that I gave it a second chance.
== 30 Rock ==
30 Rock is a comedy set at the headquarters of American broadcaster NBC at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. The main character is Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) who is head writer on a comedy show called 'The Girlie Show', which is broadcast live on Friday nights. Things change, however, when NBC gets a new boss, Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), who wants to make some fairly major changes to 'The Girlie Show', including bringing in new talent in the form of crazy movie star Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan). The series sees Liz try to juggle her new star as well as her original one, who is her best friend, Jenna (Jane Krakowski).
== What I Thought ==
I have to say that I enjoyed watching 30 Rock a lot more the second time round and watched the first series in its entirety, so I am glad that I gave it another go. I enjoyed it so much that I very quickly went on to watch the second series and was surprised to find that I enjoyed it even more than the first. Both of these series are funny and certainly easy to watch, with some very strong characters and great jokes and comic situations.
Tina Fey is great as the main character, Liz, a woman in her mid thirties who works a lot while still often coming across as a bit of a bitch to her colleagues and employees. Her love life has its ups and downs and she can be a bit of a mess at times, and so while her character is hardly unique or original she is an interesting one and Fey plays her well. Alec Baldwin is also excellent as NBC's new boss and Tracy Morgan is talented and believable as the supposedly mentally ill Tracy Jordon (who, despite the name, is a man). Jane Krakowski is an actress whom I recognised from her role as Elaine in Ally McBeal, which I used to love when I was younger, but I have to say that I found her to be pretty annoying in 30 Rock. While this is probably largely due to her character being a bit of an irritating idiot, she was one of the main reasons why I didn't enjoy watching the programme as much the first time around.
The real star of the show, however, would have to be Jack McBrayer, who plays Kenneth, a 'page' or assistant at NBC. His performance and character are indescribably sublime and he really steals any scene that he's in.
There are also some superb cameos in the first series from Nathan Lane and Will Arnett, both of which I enjoyed greatly. The second series also has a few appearances from Edie Falco, who played Carmela in The Sopranos and is Nurse Jackie, a ridiculous episode with David Schwimmer, as well as Jerry Seinfeld and Carrie Fisher.
In terms of comedy and watchability (to coin a term), both series score highly. 30 Rock is witty and clever with lots of apt cultural references and good jokes, with many jokes referring back to previous ones in an enjoyable way. While the series' premise is unsubtly based on Saturday Night Live itself, this is a programme that I am in no way familiar with, and so cannot compare the two in any way. I imagine that for fans of SNL, this programme will provide an interesting parody of an insight into what went on behind the scenes of the show.
This box set includes all episodes from the first two series, which adds up to 36 episodes in total. I remember enjoying them all without any exception and would say that if anything they get better as they go on. There is great character development in this show and I felt that the blossoming friendship between Liz Lemon and Jack was done particularly well and Tracy's character became more interesting and slightly less cartoonlike as the series progressed.
== Conclusion ==
I'm definitely glad that I gave the first series another try and went on to watch the second one as well. While I have to say that I don't quite love it as much as other American comedies, such as Frasier or Arrested Development, 30 Rock is an easy watch that has many great comic moments. If you're interested in purchasing this box set after reading my review, you may be disappointed to hear that it's no longer readily available, with Amazon only offering it from sellers (but from only £6.07 pre-owned, which is a very good price). To buy separately it's good value anyway, with the first series costing £7.44 and the second £7.99. The first four series are available for £20.37 for the lot, which is definitely the best value per series. I've seen most of the third series and would definitely recommend it, but as I haven't seen the fourth, I can't say whether it measures up and is worth getting. Either way, each series works out at a reasonable price so giving 30 Rock a try is not an expensive choice.