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HTF DVD REVIEW: 30 Rock Season Four (1 Viewer)

Richard Gallagher

Senior HTF Member
Dec 9, 2001
Fishkill, NY
Real Name
Rich Gallagher

[SIZE= 36px]30 Rock: Season Four[/SIZE]

Now in its fifth season, 30 Rock has been a huge critical success for struggling NBC, but only a modest (albeit steady) performer in the Nielsen ratings. Universal has now released the Season Four DVD set of 30 Rock, a season for which the show has garnered 15 Emmy Award nominations - including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Tina Fey), and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Alec Baldwin). Season Four also benefits from an exceptional array of guest stars, including appearances by Matt Damon, Betty White, Will Arnett, Jon Hamm, Elaine Stritch, Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, Julianne Moore, and many others. 30 Rock's audience is not large but has remained very loyal, no doubt in part because the show has managed keep most of the cast intact. In addition to Fey and Baldwin, the principal cast includes Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, and Jack McBrayer.

Studio: Universal
Years: 2009-2010
Rated: Not Rated
Program Length: 8 hours, 11 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 anamorphic widescreen
Languages: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH

The Program

30 Rock is in some respects an inside joke, as it chronicles the humorous and frequently chaotic interaction of television producers, writers and performers as they strive to put on a late-night television variety show on NBC. Loosely based upon Saturday Night Live, the show-within-a-show was originally called "The Girlie Show" but was changed to "TGS with Tracy Jordan" when Tracy Morgan's character joined the program in Season One. Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) is the harried head writer who has a dysfunctional personal life and who often butts heads with GE executive Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin). Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) and the perennially-insecure Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) are the show's co-stars. Helping out at times is the NBC page, Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer), who runs errands and performs other tasks for the show when he is not busy escorting tourists through the NBC studios at Rockefeller Center.

Season Four includes 22 half-hour episodes spread over three discs. These are the episodes:

1. Season Four (with Steve Buscemi)
2. Into the Crevasse (with Will Arnett)
3. Stone Mountain (with Jimmy Fallon & Betty White)
4. Audition Day
5. The Problem Solvers
6. Sun Tea (with Chris Parnell)
7. "Dealbreakers" Talk Show #000
8. Secret Santa (with Julianne Moore)
9. Klaus and Greta
10. Black Light Attack!
11. Winter Madness (with Julianne Moore)
12. Verna (with Jan Hooks)
13. Anna Howard Shaw Day (with Elizabeth Banks)
14. Future Husband (with Michael Sheen & Elizabeth Banks)
15. Don Geiss, America, and Hope (with Michael Sheen)
16. Floyd (with Jason Sudeikis)
17. Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter (with Julianne Moore, Will Ferrell & Elizabeth Banks)
18. Khonani
19. Argus (with Will Forte)
20. The Moms (with Elaine Stritch & Jan Hooks)
21. Emmanuelle Goes to Dinosaur Land (with Jason Sudeikis & Michael Sheen)
22. I Do Do (with Matt Damon)

30 Rock is a smart, well-written comedy show which features an appealing ensemble cast of characters. The show has won numerous awards, including multiple Emmy and Golden Globe awards, and both Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin have won SAG awards for their performances. The show continues to produce high-quality episodes, and readers who have never seen the show would do well to give it a look on Thursday nights.

The Video

The video quality of this DVD set is excellent. The upscaled 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen image isn't quite as sharp as the network's high-definition broadcasts, but it comes reasonably close. Colors are solid and accurate and strong contrasts help to give it a very enjoyable appearance. 30 Rock is produced on film, and the transfers here have a satisfying, film-like look. This show is not likely to be released on Blu-ray, so there is no reason for fans of the show to pass on this release.

The Audio

The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio does not offer up any spectacular sounds, but it is clear and free of distortion, The surround channels do not have a lot to do, but they effectively convey ambient sounds and provide some dimensionality. The dialogue is mostly concentrated in the center channel and it is clear and completely intelligible. The only subtitles are English SDH.

The Supplements

There are enough extras included with this set to satisfy any fan of 30 Rock.

There are entertaining and informative commentaries by executive producer Lorne Michaels, Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Jane Krakowski, Jack McBrayer, writer Tracey Wigfield, producer/composer Jeff Richmond (who also is Tina Fey's husband), director Don Scardino, and other members of the cast and crew.

Also included are extended versions of two episodes, "Secret Santa" and "I Do Do."

There are behind-the-scenes featurettes for the episodes "I Do Do" and "The Moms."

In the first episode of the season, cleverly titled "Season Four," excerpts of an NBC Sport promo parody can be seen. The entire parody is one of the extras in this set.

In another segment, Duff Goldman of Food Network's "Ace of Cakes" comes on the set to make a cake to be used in the show. Duff and his staff make a surprise cake for the cast and crew to celebrate the final episode of Season Four.

Finally, there are nine deleted scenes and a photo gallery.

The Packaging

As noted, the 22 episodes and extras are spread out over three discs which are securely stored in a gatefold case. The gatefold case fits into a cardboard slipcase.

The Final Analysis

Comedy is a tricky genre to recommend, because what is hilarious to one person may be ho-hum to another. I ignored 30 Rock during its first two seasons, but once I got into it I found it to be very enjoyable. Universal has done a consistently solid job of presenting this series on DVD, so Season Four is a welcome addition to my collection.

Equipment used for this review:

Toshiba HD-XA-2 DVD player
Panasonic Viera TC-P46G15 Plasma display
Yamaha HTR-5890 THX Surround Receiver
BIC Acoustech speakers
Interconnects: Monster Cable

Release Date: Available Now (released September 21, 2010)

Rob W

May 23, 1999
Real Name
This show is not likely to be released on Blu-ray, so there is no reason for fans of the show to pass on this release.

I'm passing in favor of 720p downloads of all seasons from the iTunes store.

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