TITLE: 30 ROCK - SEASON 6
Release Date: September 11, 2012 (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 21
Running Time: 437 minutes
Running Time of Features: Approx. 43 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles and Captioning: English and Spanish Subtitles
Special Features: Commentaries; Deleted Scenes; Behind-the-Scenes of "Live from Studio 6H"; West Coast Version of the "Live from Studio 6H"; Cheyenne and Jane's Warm Up Songs
Ready for some more Korean dictators, mantra stealing, erotic normalizing, and plant children? Well, it doesn't matter, because it is here in 30 Rock - Season 6! The award winning comedy starring Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, the struggling TGS writer, returns to DVD with the 21 more episodes of hilarity. With Jack (Alec Baldwin) now a CEO at KabelTown (not GE anymore), things are changing at TGS, and not all of the changes are good, including budget cuts which affect everybody (not Jack, of course). You can get all of the laughs and plenty of special features in this three disc set of this great comedy!
Season six kicks off with "Dance Like Nobody's Watching," where everybody is out doing their own thing... including Jenna becoming the "mean judge" on a TV singing show and Kenneth preparing for the rapture. In "Idiots are People Two!," Tracy makes some anti-gay comments and turns to Liz for help... but she already has her hands full. Tracy goes on the offense for his comments in support of idiots in "Idiots are People Three!" Jack dismantles the NBC page program in "The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell," and needless to say, Kenneth struggles to find the meaning of life. Tracy and Jenna perform at a Bar Mitzvah in "Today You Are a Man;" meanwhile, Kenneth finds a new job working on Suze Orman's show. Liz and Criss test their relationship... at IKEA... in "Hey, Baby, What's Wrong?" Jack decides to run for mayor in "The Tuxedo Begins." Everybody celebrates February 29th in their own way in "Leap Day."
In Alexis Goodlooking and the Case of the Missing Whisky," Jack introduces Kenneth to the dark side of business. Jack faces off with his teenage nemesis in "Standards and Practice." In "St. Patrick's Day," Liz isn't exactly having the luck of the Irish on the lucky holiday. Liz becomes a mentor to newbie Hazel in "Grandmentor," but it isn't as easy as she would hope. Jack is troubled by Liz's script for the new biopic in "Kidnapped by Danger." In "The Shower Principle," Jack is hard at work trying to figure out how to expand Kabeltown. Jack tries to teach Pete how to be a respectable man in "Nothing Left to Lose." Jenna hooks up with a member of a popular children's band in "Meet the Woggels!" (We’ll let you guess what this is a parody of).
Criss discovers Liz's old plans for adopting in "Murphy Brown Lied to Us," and meanwhile, Jenna has a "celebrity breakdown." In "Live From Studio 6H," it appears that Kabeltown no longer wants to pay for TGS to be a live show, so Kenneth decides to take matters into his own hands... and we go through a well-written parody history of actual live television going all the way back to the '50s. Angie launches a clothing line in "Queen of Jordan 2: The Mystery of the Phantom Pooper," which brings back her reality show. Jenna finds a sponsor for her wedding, and Avery returns from Korea in "The Return of Avery Jessup." The season ends with "What Will Happen to the Gang Next Year?," where Jack tries to learn more about Avery's relationship with Scott.
The episodes appear to be unedited, running around 21 minutes (or so) per episode (except for the double-length one). Just as in the sixth season, it is important to note that the version of the episode "Live from Studio 6H" seen on the episodes menu (and listed here) is the east coast version of the episode, while the west coast version can be seen on the Bonus Features menu. Runtimes are as follows:
1. "Dance Like Nobody's Watching" (22:09)
2. "Idiots are People Two!" (21:15)
3. "Idiots are People Three!" (21:15)
4. "The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell" (21:16)
5. "Today You Are a Man" (21:17)
6. "Hey, Baby, What's Wrong?" (42:15)
7. "The Tuxedo Begins" (21:13)
8. "Leap Day" (21:15)
9. "Alexis Goodlooking and the Case of the Missing Whisky" (21:17)
10. "Standards and Practices" (21:17)
11. "St. Patrick's Day" (21:27)
12. "Grandmentor" (21:27)
13. "Kidnapped by Danger" (21:27)
14. "The Shower Principle" (21:27)
15. "Nothing Left to Lose" (21:28)
16. "Meet the Woggels!" (21:27)
17. "Murphy Brown Lied to Us" (21:27)
18. "Live from Studio 6H" (23:31)
19. "Queen of Jordan 2: The Mystery of the Phantom Pooper" (21:27)
20. "The Return of Avery Jessup" (21:28)
21. "What Will Happen to the Gang Next Year?" (21:28)
The packaging for this set is pretty much like the previous sets, with a digipack inside of a cardboard box (the digipack slides out through the side, unlike most Universal sets, where they slide out through the top or the bottom). The cover art features a cast photo yet again, with a pink color scheme this time. There are some episode snapshots on the back, along with a brief season description and a list of special features. Inside, the three panel digipack includes episode descriptions on the outside, and on the inside, you'll find the three discs. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-8, Disc 2 contains episodes 9-16, and Disc 3 contains episodes 17-21.
There is something else worth discussing regarding the discs. It appears, at least in the set that I received, that there was some production error in producing the disc artwork. Each disc is pink, has the disc number on it, and has the number "30" on it... but the word "Rock" is missing on them. This is one of the weirdest things I've ever seen, it appears that some sort of production error left half of the title off of the discs. It is only a minor nuisance since everything plays just fine, but really, how did they fail to include the full title of the series?
Menu Design and Navigation:
They haven't changed the menus at all for this set. The main menu begins with a cast photo (same as on the cover art) while the theme song loops in the background. The options on the main menu include Episode Index, Audio Commentary (replaced with Bonus Features on Disc 3), Languages, and Play All. As you selection an option, a short video clip transitions you to the next menu. Episode Index takes you to a menu where every single episode on the disc is listed on the menu, along with a snapshot of the episode. Chapters are placed within each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
I can't find anything to complain about with video and audio quality. Everything truly is fine on this front. Each episode is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, and the audio is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. If you are using a less technically sophisticated setup, though, there is an optional Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track (I think it is very nice to include these when appropriate). Finally, there are English and Spanish subtitles for the episodes.
It seems like most of the recent releases of current NBC sitcoms have been omitting commentaries, but that isn't the case here. We still have a few commentaries. The only bad part is that Tina Fey, who actually has appeared in these before, does not appear in any this time. Episodes and commentators are as follows:
"Dance Like Nobody's Watching" - Tracey Wigfield and Tom Ceraulo
"Alexis Goodlooking and the Case of the Missing Whiskey" - Judah Friedlander
"Standards and Practices" - Jack McBrayer and his nephew
"Live from Studio 6H" - Jane Krakowski and Jeff Richmond
The set includes deleted scenes, but once again, they've placed every single one on Disc 3 as opposed to placing them on the disc which contains the episode. I can't understand why they handle these this way for 30 Rock, because the other sitcoms released by Universal typically have them organized on each disc by episode. But, truth be told, these deleted scenes are essentially worthless compared to the ones we had on The Office and Parks and Recreation. On the sets for those shows, deleted scenes were lengthy and had substance. The deleted scenes we have here mostly run under 20 seconds each (many under 10 seconds), and the longest one I found was 45 seconds long. Even worse is that there are 20 of these, and no play all option... so you have to go through one-by-one to watch six seconds which made it onto the cutting room floor. Honestly, this is a special feature not even worth watching.
The best special features are those related to the episode "Live From Studio 6H." First we have "Behind the Scenes" (7:24), which is exactly what it sounds like... a behind-the-scenes look at the episode from the cast and crew. The other special feature is the west coast version of the episode (23:23). Though similar, the episode is not exactly the same as the one which most of us on the east coast had the opportunity to see, and there are some changes, particularly with the casting in the episode. The best change? In the east coast version, John Hamm played the role of David Brinkley in the NBC breaking news parody, and he did a good job of it. But the west coast version had Brian Williams (yes, the current NBC news anchor) filling in that role, and I have to say that it was great seeing Williams in this comedy role. He is so straight-faced and serious on TV every weeknight, but here, he plays a rude and crass anchor who doesn't care what he says on the air. There are other changes as well, and it would have been better if they'd included a side-by-side comparison. Finally, we end with "Cheyenne and Jane's Warm Up Songs" (8:42), which is even more from the "Live From Studio 6H" episode. Here, we get to see live performances (by Cheyenne Jackson and Jane Krakowski, of course) of the songs "Sign, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours" (originally by Stevie Wonder) and "Piece of My Heart" (originally sang by many different people, but made famous by Janis Joplin). These were full performances which were done for the audience of the episode, and honestly, I find it almost shocking that Universal even CONSIDERED including them (since these are famous copyrighted songs, and not at all necessary for the set)... but I'm very glad they did! It is great to see these performances, and they are a nice addition to the set.
This is another solid set of this under-appreciated series. Like most of the NBC Thursday night sitcoms that are not The Office (and really, even that series has fallen into this category lately), it seems that few people truly recognize the quality of this series, even if it is a bit of a cartoonish comedy. Luckily, NBC gives these series a chance (despite the odds), and now we're here reviewing the sixth season, and going into the seventh season. This would not have been possible on any other network, which is why I'm glad NBC was the one to make it possible. Of course, it comes with a bit of sadness that the seventh season will be the final season, but nobody can really complain too much, because a seven season run is a respectable run for virtually any series. I just hope that they wrap the series up appropriately and in style. Somehow, I feel a Mary Tyler Moore Show style finale would be most fitting for this series, where TGS gets canceled once and for all and everybody is forced to go their separate ways. But whatever they do, I think it is good that they at least know it won't go on beyond the end of this season. Fans of the series will appreciate this release, for sure. I know that I sure did.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 09/09/12
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