TITLE: 30 ROCK - SEASON 2
DVD Release Date: October 7, 2008 (Universal Home Video)
Number of Discs: 2
Number of Episodes: 15
Running Time of Episodes: approx. 310 minutes
Total Runtime of Special Features: approx. 327 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
* Audio Commentary by Tina Fey, Jack McBrayer, Jane Krakowski, Scott Adsit, Judah Friedlander, Producers John Riggi and Robert Carlock, Producer/Composer Jeff Richmond, and Guest Stars Tim Conway, Will Arnett, and Fred Armisen.
* Deleted Scenes
* “Cooter” table read
* 30 Rock LIVE at the UCB Theater
* Tina Hosts SNL -- backstage!
* The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Presents: An Evening with 30 Rock
Relive the second season of the Emmy Award-winning comedy 30 Rock, now on DVD from Universal Home Video! Created by Golden Globe and SAG Award winner Tina Fey, 30 Rock features Fey (as TV writer Liz Lemon), Alec Baldwin (as corporate executive Jack Donaghy), Tracy Morgan and Jane Krakowski (as Lemon’s unpredictable co-stars Tracy Jordan and Jenna Maroney) and Jack McBrayer (as the naďve NBC page Kenneth Parcell). Co-workers and friends, they are all trying to balance work and life, with the inevitable result of failed relationships, disastrous parties, at-work drunkenness, a hard-core coffee addiction, world-class sandwich eating and occasional attempts to chop down Christmas trees...what was I saying? Oh yeah: Join in the behind-the-scenes fun with all fifteen episodes from the show’s second season.
As some may have noticed, occasionally I change my positions on a TV show between seasons. And while I liked 30 Rock alright initially, it’s quickly become one of my favorite comedies on television. I also finally warmed to the comedic stylings of Tina Fey, and in general learned just to lighten up, Francis.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
This season was shortened by the 2007-08 writers’ strike, which means a total of only 15 episodes ultimately aired during the season. The season starts off with a boom with the season premiere (OAD: 10/4/2007) Seinfeld vision. Jerry Seinfeld plays a role in the episode as Jack (Alec Baldwin) has announced his plan to insert footage from Seinfeld -- and Jerry in particular -- into every current show on the network. In the next episode, Jack discovers that his boss is retiring, and decides he wants his job. In the episode “Somebody to Love,” Jack meets a Congresswoman at a party while Liz believes her Middle Eastern neighbor to be a terrorist. In “Episode 209” -- the episode’s actual title, not just its episode number -- Liz’s family visits for the holidays. Liz folks’ (Anita Gillette, Buck Henry, Andy Richter) are all nuts in their own various ways -- the best bit is that her brother’s memory is stuck in 1985, leading him to think he’s still 17 when he’s really 40. The first episode of the series to air after the writer’s strike, “MILF Island,” is a great episode -- a TGS staff member tells the New York Post that Jack is a “Class A Moron” right as Jack’s prize reality show is airing it’s finale. Jack confines the writers to try to get find out who the quote belonged to. In the season finale, “Cooter,” Jack gets a job in politics, doesn’t like it, and schemes with Matthew Broderick to get out.
Guest stars in addition to previously mentioned ones include Will Arnett, Rip Torn, Steve Buscemi, Carrie Fisher, Meredith Vieira, Gladys Knight, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Tim Conway, Brian Dennehy, and even the Stanley Cup.
The packaging is largely the same as before -- except in the cases where it’s different. Universal wanted to stick with the Digipak-style packaging, but only had enough material for two discs -- resulting in a two-panel inner package with extremely thick plastic disc-holders. The thicker plastic is fine by me as it allows for more wear-and-tear before breaking. The cast photo on the box art features the primary cast-at-large this time, resulting in a couple of additions to the photo. The same reflective skyscrapers as before appear in the background. The white color of the background is solid white and has no reflective properties. Rear cover features a strip of still images down the left side, with a white-red background on the right, and the famed statue in front of Rockefeller Center at the bottom. The discs are largely plain white, with the show logo at the top and a cast member photo on one side -- Tina Fey appears on disc 1 (episodes 1-10) while Alec Baldwin is on disc 2 (episodes 11-15, bonus features)
Menu Design and Navigation:
The opening of the main menu features an animation similar in style to the opening titles. The main menu eventually loads -- at which point things remain largely static except for the show logo, which occasionally bounces around a bit. The menu options appear as black strips that appear from the sides. The transitions between menus feature a short clip. Episode selection is a set of still images with episode titles below them. Similar theme as used elsewhere -- nothing particularly interesting. The series theme plays in the background throughout the menu. It’s simple but well-designed and gets the job done. It’s all you can expect from a menu.
Video and Audio Quality:
Do you know why I love reviewing new series’ DVDs so much? This section is ridiculously easy to complete due to the show’s age. Not only is the video quality guaranteed to be excellent since the episodes haven’t had time to deteriorate, but the show hasn’t even been offered for syndication yet, making syndication edits impossible. Audio is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track -- which always makes me a little giggly. There’s NOTHING wrong here. The presentation is the absolute best you can get without going to Blu-Ray. Play all functionality is available from the main menu. Chapter stops are...absent. I always find it odd when chapter stops are missing, as even the most basic DVD authoring programs on the consumer end allow for proper chapter stops now -- let alone the mechanisms used by commercial establishments.
Jack Gets in the Game: 21:13
The Collection: 21:11
Rosemary’s Baby: 21:10
Somebody to Love: 21:10
Secrets and Lies/Episode 208: 21:11
LudaChristmas/Episode 209: 21:55
Episode 210: 21:13
MILF Island: 21:08
Subway Hero: 21:12
Sandwich Day: 20:45
Runtimes are normal for a series in 2007.
The special features are entirely confined to Disc 3. And I detail them all here:
Deleted Scenes: Obviously, these are scenes deleted from each episode. Don’t want to go into much detail here, but each of the following episodes has deleted scenes:
Seinfeld Vision (2 Scenes)
Total Runtime for Deleted Scenes is approximately 5 minutes.
“Cooter Table Read” (approx. 30 min): It’s exactly what it is -- a table read for the episode Cooter. The top half of the screen has the cast reading the script, while the bottom half as scrolling text of the episode script scrolls by. It’s interesting to note whose style is more of a dead read versus those who are pretty much in full character at the read.
Tina Hosts SNL: Roughly 8 minutes of footage from when Tina Fey hosted SNL during the 2007-08 TV season.
30 Rock Live at the UCB Theater (approx. 46 min.): A Live version of Episode 208 performed at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater, complete with an introduction by Tina Fey. She apologizes for the audio in particular as it was shot with a home video recorder, and sets up things.
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Presents: An Evening with 30 Rock (23:09): This is a panel discussion with cast and crew members -- with moderator Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News.
The audio commentary is more prevalent this season, and the commentaries are split between both discs. This was a key criticism of mine last time, so it’s good to see the situation rectified.
Jack Gets in the Game: Will Arnett
The Collection: Jane Krakowski & Jack McBrayer
Somebody to Love: Fred Armisen
Cougars: Judah Friedlander
Episode 210: Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond
MILF Island: Scott Adsit:
Subway Hero: Tim Conway & Jack McBrayer
Succession Robert Carlock & John Riggi
Sandwich Day: Tina Fey
Cooter: Jane Krakowski & Jack McBrayer
Total running time of commentary: approx 215 minutes.
Total Runtime of Special Features: approximately 327 minutes, including the commentary tracks.
This is a great little oddball series -- it’s got everything from your general admission common humor to your seven-times-meta jokes that you need a Ph.D. in rocket surgery to understand. And I’m fine with this -- it’s a show for everyone. My sole complaint is simply the lack of episodes, which was in turn due to the writers’ strike...I can’t fault the studio for that. Strong recommendation to buy the set, and I encourage you to catch 30 Rock on NBC this fall -- new episodes return this October.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 4/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 09/20/08
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