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30 Rock Rocks!

Stephen's thoughts on the Tina Fey show.

By Stephen Lackey, Columnist     January 27, 2008


Jerry, Lemon(Fey) and Jack (Baldwin) in 30 ROCK(2007).
© NBC

I’ve been picking up some non-genre TV series box sets and vegging out on them during the writer’s strike doldrums. The first one I have to talk about is 30 Rock season one. I am not a sitcom fan so I didn’t give this series much attention when it started even though Tina Fey from Saturday Night Live is the show’s creator and one of the stars. I always found her funny on SNL and I enjoyed her snarly wit. Many people have been telling me that I’d love the series if I gave it a shot, so I finally did. 

It seems like every indie filmmaker wants to make a movie about making movies. Those kinds of films are a tough sell to the mass market and mostly flop with only a few exceptions. There have however been a few television series that have made a good run of it telling the behind the scenes stories of making TV (Sports Night) so with the creative team behind 30 Rock I had high hopes that I wasn’t wasting my time. Tina Fey has brilliantly crafted a series that has a quirky and goofy sort of humor that can appeal to both a casual fan and the more hardcore TV junkie. Fey plays a show runner for a sketch comedy series airing on NBC and she’s not only the smartest person in the room but also the butt of most of the jokes. The series is extremely silly which may not appeal to everyone but I’m hooked. The writers and cast are first rate on this series with Alec Baldwin as Feys’ corporate boss being a standout. I found 30 Rock to be a refreshing break from reruns and reality television and can’t recommend it to you guys enough.

This week starts and ends terribly with not much on Monday other than the State of the Union Address and the Super Bowl on Sunday but in between there are some great shows coming back. Thursday night is the big one with LOST finally coming back with a two hour start. I think it’s kind of strange to do a two hour debut though considering the limited number of episodes the network has ready to air. If they had just started the series with one hour, we’d have another week of LOST before we’re back into reruns. LOST ended really strong last season making it one my most anticipated returning series this year right up there with Battlestar Galactica. That’s not all though, both Smallville and Supernatural are coming back to The CW Thursday night too. I have a real love/ hate relationship with Smallville but I’m happy to see it coming back and hopeful that it’ll actually be good. Supernatural is a no brainer. It’s one of the most consistently stellar series on TV and I expect no less from its return. For those of you into House, it’s new this week too.

Monday

THE MATRIX (AMC, 8PM EST)

This film is a science fiction classic. It’s a real shame that the sequels sort of tainted it place in history. If this was the only film in this franchise that had ever been made no one would question its brilliance, but alas we had to get a flawed trilogy. I actually like the sequels but they’re bloated and egocentric, just not as tightly executed as this film. Watch it and re-live the greatness.

Tuesday

 

HOUSE (FOX, 9PM EST) IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

House suspects that a mysteriously paralyzed woman (Janel Moloney) is withholding vital information---but maybe she can't help it. Meanwhile, House puts his personal stamp on the hospital's Secret Santa gift exchange.

DIRTY JOBS (DSC, 9PM EST) BUOY CLEANER

Mike Rowe travels to Oregon to make shingles and then hops a Coast Guard ship to clean dirty buoys. This guy is actually pretty entertaining and there’s really not much else on...

Wednesday

 

MYTHBUSTERS (DSC, 9PM EST) AIRPLANES ON A CONVEYOR BELT

Myths tested include whether an airplane on a conveyor belt can become airborne, and how much radiation cockroaches, fruit flies and flour beetles can take. Also: a prank involving a car interior filled with foam.

GHOSTHUNTERS INTERNATIONAL (SCIFI, 9PM EST) HAUNTED VILLAGE

Claims concerning the Elvey Farm Hotel in Pluckley, England, are investigated.

Thursday

LOST (NBC, 8PM EST) PAST AND PRESENT FUTURE

A clip show recapping the first three seasons and exploring mysteries on and off the island in preparation for the fourth-season opener.

LOST (NBC, 9PM EST) THE BEGINNING OF THE END

As the fourth season begins, the castaways await rescue by the people with whom they have made contact, but are troubled by Charlie's final warning about them. Michael: Harold Perrineau. Christian Shepherd: John Terry.

SMALLVILLE (CW, 8PM EST) PERSONA

Clark is frozen in the Fortress and Bizarro takes over his life, starting with Lana, who shares information about Brainiac (James Marsters). Elsewhere, Grant reveals he is a clone of Julian, and Lex is shocked at his father's reaction to this revelation. Dax-Ur: Marc McClur.

SUPERNATURAL (CW, 9PM EST) MALLEUS MALEFICARUM

Unrequited love becomes vengeful witchcraft, which in turn leads Sam and Dean to a coven of suburban witches whose black magic is drawn from a much more sinister source.

Friday

FLASH GORDON (SCIFI, 8PM EST) REVOLUTION

Part 1 of 2. Terek (Craig Stanghetta) rallies an armed rebellion against Ming; Ming learns that Rankol is a Celetroph and orders his execution; Aura confronts Ming concerning her bloodline; Dale and Norah flee to Mongo; Flash makes a shocking discovery in the Citadel's mainframe room. Queen Fria: Kendall Cross.

STARGATE ATLANTIS (SCIFI, 10PM EST) OUTCAST

Sheppard learns that his father has died and returns to Earth for the funeral, accompanied by Ronon. While there, they discover that a covert project has accidentally unleashed a human-form Replicator in the city. Ava Dixon: Emma Lahana.

Saturday

SCORCHER (SCIFI, 9PM EST)

 

An Army Intelligence officer tries to save the planet from a nuclear disaster. Hey it’s Rutger Hauer it can’t be all that bad. Can it?

TORCHWOOD (BBC, 9PM EST) SLEEPER

The team responds to a deadly burglary and Jack suspects the seemingly innocent victim isn't who she says she is.

Sunday

STAR TREK ENTERPRISE (SCIFI, 8PM EST) MARATHON

Yep, it’s Super Bowl Sunday so this is what it has come too, a three hour block of Star Trek Enterprise episodes. This wasn’t that great a Trek series but it’s not as bad as I remember it being. What did I just get from Netflix?

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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theCOLLECTOR 1/27/2008 5:30:39 PM
I love 30 Rock. It is one of the smartest shows out there! I REALLY miss The Office, 30 Rock and My Name is Earl. My Tivo has nothing to record! NOTHING!!!!!!!! And how is Flash gordon still on? What an AWFUL, AWFUL show.
sportwarrior 1/27/2008 5:52:26 PM
"And how is Flash gordon still on? What an AWFUL, AWFUL show. " This is the same network that canceled Farscape in favor of that insanely stupid Tremors tv show... They obviously don't have the smartest execs in the bizz. And we all miss The Office, 30 Rock, and My Name is Earl. I'd say they need a 4th show, but I think NBC should just move those three shows to 40 minute blocks full time next season. They'd have a 2 hour programming block that'd be awesome from start to finish!
calhob 1/27/2008 6:15:07 PM
One of the BEST shows on TV!!!! Also up there is How I Met Your Mother... hilarious! And of course I can't wait for Lost this Thursday.
JarrodSarafin 1/27/2008 8:11:16 PM
Heh, same exact thoughts Collector! Love 30 Rock and I really miss The Office, Earl and to add one more, Scrubs. NBC has a great Thursday lineup and for me, it really is "must see". :)
muchdrama1 1/27/2008 8:27:47 PM
"Flash Gordon" IS literally awful... But "30 Rock" is my cuppa tea. Tina Fey is exactly the only type of gal I'd marry and be happy with...funny AND beautiful. And I don't think the "Matrix" sequels ruin the original's place in history.
jppintar326 1/28/2008 4:22:39 AM
If you stuck with Flash Gordon, the show actually improved after the first couple of episodes. The stories are getring better and the actors seem to have a greater handle on who their characters are and what they are supposed to do. Never was a Tina Fey fan. She showed head female writers on Saturday Night Live can crank out just as many unfunny skits as male head writers. Lost literally lost me last year though I did like the season finale. I am on the fence whether or not to watch it or not. The Matrix is the most overrated, self important scifi movie ever. The sequels were actually better because of bigger action scenes and unintentionally funny dialouge.
ponyboy76 1/28/2008 5:40:29 AM
Dammit!! Lost Supernatural Supernatural Lost!!! decisions decisions!!
slackey 1/28/2008 6:59:26 AM
I know your pain Ponyboy! Get a TiVo or a crappy cable DVR like me and watch it all!
mbeckham1 1/28/2008 7:07:55 AM
Actually, I agree, now that their truly cringe worthy Earth based plots and attempts at comedy, and gotten more into the Mongo political intrigues, Flash Gordon actually has improved. Not exactly ground breaking and I'd much rather be watching Farscape or Doctor Who or Torchwood, but I have to admit it's become a lot more entertaining. And it hardly seems like the same series that was inducing gag reflexes before. The question is wil they be able to keep it up once they've had their big battle with Ming that they're building up toward. And How I Met Your Mother, awesome series, if you haven't seen it buy the first two season right away. I ought to watch 30 Rock, the scenes they showed on the Globes Press release were hilarious. And Torchwood: saw the season premier, probably their best episode yet. I've said before that this series ad tons of potential. With this permier they're starting to deliver on that promise. Fittingly, as the series bares comparison to Buffy or Angel, the episode really kicks off with the introduction of a new charcter I hope we'll see more of. As Capt. John Hart, James Marsters brings the same swager and verve to Torchwood that Spike brought from scene one of his introduction in Buffy season 2. His first scene in Torchwood is perhaps an even cooler introduction and Hart is at least as sharp a wit and even more vicious and clever than Spike. I love that we have a character who has a real history with Jack and how Jack and the team respiond to that. The last bit of foreshadowing was brilliant. Speaking of the team, they finally, really seem like a team now, intelligent professional, a team capable of defending the Earth against all manner of aliens. Owen's more mature, Ianto's tougher, Tosh is more confdent and Gwen's proven herself as a real leader. All of which brings Jack to a more human level and this epsode shows them really working together instead of Jack constantly bailing them out. There's definitely a Scooby Gang feel tht wasn't there before. And right now, or at least until Lost Premiers, it's the best thing going.
lister 1/28/2008 10:24:16 AM
The Matrix 1 was great. Always fun to watch. The Matrix 2 had two good action sequences. The rest was bo-ring. Thank god for DVD scene selection. The Matrix 3 has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. And yes, it actually taints the original. It makes me pine for the rave scene in Part 2! So I just pretend it doesn't exist and I can re-enjoy the original.
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