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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > TV Production > 30 Rock – Season 1 + Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip – The Complete Series (DVD-Video)

30 Rock – Season 1 + Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip – The Complete Series (DVD-Video)


Picture: B-/C+     Sound: B-/C+     Extras: C+/C-     Episodes: B-/C-



How about a hilarious sitcom about the dark underpinnings of television network production?  It could have a good cast of actors doing funny things, sometimes being funny as their characters when they do not know it.  It could even be a hit.  Well, two such shows launched at the same time and only one survived.  30 Rock was the underdog with truly funny Tina Fey (Saturday Night Live, Mean Girls) creating and co-starring as a TV executive trying to hold production together at NBC.  Alec Baldwin (in great form) and Tracy Morgan (more talented than he gets credit for) would lead the cast.  Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip was another Aaron Sorkin show with supposedly more money to throw around and a larger cast including Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Steven Weber, D.L. Hughley and Timothy Busfield.


Everyone thought Sorkin had the hit and Fey’s show would never last six weeks.  Of course, to the supposed shock of those “experts” on TV, her show was the hit, won the “Best Comedy” Emmy and Sorkin had the bomb.  Why?  Energy is one reason.  Where as Fey’s show is funny, has energy, cast chemistry and even some irony, Sorkin’s show is tired, muddled, stupid, boring, lacks chemistry and Perry in particular is so out of place that he is the fatal miscasting that kills off what little worked on the show.


Sorkin’s show is also arrogant in some odd way, acting like it knows it all about the behind the scenes world, yet never feels real or palpable.  Fey’s has surprises all the time and is actually memorable.  Another fatal mistake is after The Larry Sanders Show, Sorkin thought he could do the idea of funny happenings behind the scenes of a late night talk show.  Guess some of the devoted TV critics really just missed the HBO hit.  Both of those were made by Time Warner.


As for Matthew Perry, he needs to take a long break from acting, a big risk in his career or go away for good.  Any of his smiling looks forced and he looks bored, just walking through scene after scene.  e looks so burnt out in these shows and any smiling looks forced. 

In fairness to him, anyone in his role would have had trouble, but he makes a bad role worse.  Sorkin needs to try something more original and think things through next time.


Both have anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 images, but Studio looks softer, rougher and the transfer is substandard at times, while the Rock transfer has limited motion blur, better composition, color, depth and clarity.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes for both dialogue-based shows are new recordings, yet Rock is better with more depth, soundfield and clarity, while the dialogue on Studio can be problematic.  Extras for Studio include a making of featurette and creators Aaron Sorkin & Thomas Schlamme on an audio commentary for the pilot, while Rock offers several audio commentaries, deleted scenes, shorts, behind the scenes featurette and wrap party with bloopers.  Rock simply has more energy, which is why it survived.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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