"30 Rock: Season 3" DVD Review
September 21, 2009 by Zach Demeter
When it comes to prime time comedies, NBC soundly trumps all other networks. While CBS may pop in there occasionally with some good humor, it’s usually hindered by their insistence on using laugh tracks still (we know when to laugh at jokes CBS…really!). Not so on NBC, which did way with laugh tracks years ago with such breakout hits as My Name is Earl and The Office. Shortly thereafter 30 Rock joined the fray and has since routinely trumped other network shows in both laugh out loud moments but also in primetime Emmy nominations (22, according to the sticker on the cover of the set). With the show about to begin its fourth season, fans who may have missed an episode or two (and had no access to Hulu for some reason) can now catch up with the complete third season on DVD.
Re-enjoy the complete third season of the Primetime Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning comedy 30 Rock, hailed by The New York Times as “its third season” and by The Sun as a “comedy… shown on NBC… [which is a] network.” Primetime Emmy®, Golden Globe® and SAG® Award winner (and show creator) Tina Fey and Primetime Emmy®, Golden Globe® and SAG® Award winner Alec Baldwin star as corporate executive Jack Donaghy and TV writer Liz Lemon (reverse respectively). Together, Jack and Liz manage the workplace chaos with no help from Liz’s loose-cannon stars Tracy Jordan and Jenna Maroney (Tracy Morgan and Jane Krakowski) and hapless NBC page Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer). The end result is topless break-dancing, professional tetherball, geriatric kidnapping, bird murder, sexual espionage, Appalachian witchcraft, patricide, gay lion tattoos and important life lessons learned from Sasquatches. Join in the behind-the-scenes fun with lots of exclusive content and all 22 episodes of the acclaimed third season of 30 Rock from executive producer Lorne Michaels (Hot Rod).
Are there enough registered logos in that description? Geesh. Still, this show definitely deserves all of the accolades it gets, as I can’t think of a single episode out of its twenty-two episode third season that didn’t have me in fits of laughter from start to finish. It’s got a style of humor different from that of The Office, yet the two go hand-in-hand for creating one of the best nights of TV that could ever be possible (Thursday nights are seriously cramped this year…). Whether it’s the rock solid and relentlessly funny cast, 30 Rock is not only one of the best shows on NBC but one of the best shows on TV period.
This third season brings more of the same to the table in terms of the comedy, but we get new additions to the cast such as Jon Hamm as Tina Fey’s boyfriend and Selma Hayek as Alec Baldwin’s girlfriend, both of whom are just terrific in their roles (that episode where Hayek wear’s the Battlestar Galactica shirt is just so hilarious…and not just because of the shirt). Plus there’s the hilarious “Flu Shot” episode with Chris Parnell returning as Dr. Spaceman to help Liz decide what to do about flu shots for the staff. The whole series is relentlessly funny and it’s hard to pick out just a few episodes out of the batch, simply because they’re all really winners—I can’t say a bad thing about a single one of the bunch.
I can, however, gush over more particular ones. Never was there a moment so perfect in the series this season than in the episode “Apollo, Apollo” in which a video for an old video that Liz Lemon played in for the 1-900-OKFACE phone line. The joke is ridiculously simple in construction, but the delivery of it is just a freakin’ home run when it comes to the execution of the joke. The simplicity is what helps make it such a hilarious quip and even though it flies by on the episode in mere seconds, it lasts with you for much longer than that.
This third season really was just another stepping stone in the series that will likely go down as something as brilliant as Arrested Development (although since 30 Rock is on NBC, it’s actually being given a chance to thrive). The show still doesn’t have a really strong audience, but the critical acclaim and constant awards that the show gets showered with are honestly probably the only way this show is still surviving…but hey, I’m fine with that. As long as it gets to thrive until the jokes somehow become stale and don’t work…but considering how much chemistry the cast has with each other, I doubt that’ll happen any time soon.
Overall this season is Highly Recommended. Fantastic from start to finish, 30 Rock is brilliant for the entire eight hours that this season runs.
Universal brings 30 Rock to DVD in the same packaging as previous releases (single tray digi-pak with a cardboard slipcase), so it’ll all be nice and tidy on your shelf. The three discs themselves each house a variety of episodes, although the third disc is where the majority of the bonus features can be found. Sadly, however, Universal has once again compressed the crap out of the transfers for this series. I’m not sure why this series is consistently treated as such, but there’s over a gig of extra space on nearly every disc on this set, so why wasn’t that used to provide less compressed and red crushed transfers? They’re still interlaced too, which is also bewildering. Especially when The Office manages to look so good. I know this is still standard definition, but it can look better than this.
Audio arrives in a DD5.1 mix but considering this is a dialogue and character driven show, the majority of the noise will be found in the center channels. English Subtitles are included, but no alternative audio or subtitle tracks are included.
Audio Commentary on "Flu Shot" with Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond
Audio Commentary on "Goodbye, My Friend" with Judah Friedlander & John Lutz
Audio Commentary on "The Bubble" with Jon Hamm and Jack McBrayer
Audio Commentary on "Apollo, Apollo" with Jack Burditt and Robert Carlock
Audio Commentary on "The Ones" with Jane Krakowski and Jack McBrayer
Audio Commentary on "Mamma Mia" with Alan Alda
Audio Commentary on "Kidney Now!" with Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond
Deleted Scenes (13 total, 6:20) no play-all. No Back to Bonus, you have to go back to the main menu and sit through the transition clip gain
Behind-the-Scenes with the Muppets (3:10)
"Kidney Now" Table Read (31:26)
The Making of "He Needs a Kidney" (12:23)
Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery (2:06)
Alec Baldwin's SNL Monologue (4:50)
Tracy Jordan's Rant (2:08)
Award Acceptance Speeches (3 Total, 3:42)
OK so I’ll lighten up on the video transfers now that there is such a heaping of extras to check out. Truth be told most of the content lies within the seven episode commentaries spread across the discs as the featurettes and deleted scenes are pretty short lived affair. Still, there’s plenty of good chatter to listen to and the full 1-900-OKFACE commercial is awesome to have. The “Tracy Jordan Rant” is a bit odd though, as it’s a parody of Christian Bale’s on-set tirade that was released early this year…not that it wasn’t funny, but it just was kind of an odd thing to include on the set.
Overall a solid set with mediocre video…but, hey. This show is hilarious. It really doesn’t matter. Recommended.
30 Rock – Season Three arrives on DVD on September 22nd.