I’ve never quite worked out why Comedy Central shows 30 Rock in the way they do in the UK, where we tend to get it in half season chunks (sometimes with the second half of one season and the beginning of another shoved together). It means that while 30 Rock – Season 6 ended in May 2012 in the US, it’s only just come to a conclusion on British TV, and so now we can get the 22 episodes on DVD.
It comes just a couple months after the show ended forever in the US with the 13 episode Season 7 – which are yet to be shown in Britain. It’s a shame it never really took off with audiences, as it’s one of the best comedies around. It’s always been a critical success, as evidenced by its numerous Golden Globes and Emmys, but mass American audiences never fully took to its Meta silliness. Goodness knows why, as it’s one of the few comedy shows where every character is funny. Whether it’s Jack McBrayer’s naïve yet oddly unnerving Kenneth, Tracy Morgan’s dimwit superstar, Jane Krakowski’s image and youth obsessed Jenna, Alec Baldwin’s hyper-businessman Jack Donaghy or Tina Fey’s constantly frustrated comedy TV show head writer Liz Lemon, they’re all great.
Things are looking up for Liz in Season 6 as she starts to date Criss (James Marsden), who may be a bit of a slacker who lives in his own little world, but is the first of her boyfriends who actually seems like a good match. Jack meanwhile is still dealing with the fact his wife (Elizabeth Banks) is being held hostage in North Korea, which is further complicated by the arrival of her mother (Mary Steenburgen), who Jack is sexually attracted to.
Kenneth, who’s always loved being an NBC page, decides to leave his job, but soon regrets it. Jenna has major relationship problems with her impersonator/lover Paul (Will Forte) when they worry they might be normal, and Tracy continues to cause mayhem that Liz must constantly sort out.
It’s all great fun, with plenty of good belly laughs and clever ideas. The plots are strong, the acting sharp and the scripts full of wit. It’s also nice that this season feels like it’s really trying to develop the characters, while never betraying the heart of who they are. There are a couple of things that don’t work, most notably a rather amateurish live episode (although it has its moments) and the introduction of new page Hazel (Kristen Schaal). She’s a little bit overkill on the weird character front and not as funny as she could have been. Other than that it’s 22 very funny episodes that offer lots of giggles.
The DVD release also includes a second version of the live episode (one was shot for the East Coast of the US and the other for the West Coast) which isn’t any better than the main version, along with some deleted scenes and commentaries.
Overall Verdict: A very entertaining season of one of the best shows on TV. It’s one of the few US comedies that genuinely make me laugh out loud, and that’s certainly true of Season 6.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac