Binge Watchin’ TV Review: 30 Rock

Last Updated on July 31, 2021

Welcome to Binge Watchin,’ where we take a look at some of the best TV shows available on streaming or disc that have a great catalogue of seasons to jump into and get sucked into the beautiful bliss of binge watching! From crime, action, comedy, drama, animation, etc., we’ll be evaluating an assortment of shows that will hopefully serve as a gateway to your next binge experience.

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Series: 30 Rock

Number of Seasons: 7 (138 episodes)

Where to watch: Blu-Ray/DVD, Netflix, Amazon Prime

Binge Watchin' TV Review, Binge, TV Review, NBC, Sitcom, 30 Rock, Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan

What’s the show about? 

30 Rock follows the misadventures of the cast and crew behind the late night NBC sketch show The Girlie Show. Writer Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) is brought in by new executive Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) to reinvent the series with comedian Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) as the star. Aided by a crew of quirky characters including Kenneth the page (Jack McBrayer) and Liz's friend and TGS star Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski), Liz delves into an increasingly more surreal world that mirrors the evolution of Saturday Night Live.

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Why should I watch it?

Tina Fey was a burgeoning star when she left SNL after success scripting the film MEAN GIRLS. Departing the legendary sketch series, Fey landed her own show on NBC. 30 Rock brought together the best of Fey's writing abilities with an ensemble cast of comedic talents along with Alec Baldwin. At the time the series debuted, Baldwin was no longer the A-list movie star he had been a decade prior but his guest hosting stints on SNL were consistently amongst the best each season. The results ended up being one of the best star pairings on any sitcom and ranked the platonic duo as one of the best in television history.

30 Rock, like Fey's current hit series The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, relies heavily on cutaway gags, surreal and bizarre jokes, and numerous non sequitirs. 30 Rock is definitely an acquired taste but has featured tons of guest starts like Michael Sheen (playing a character named Wesley Snipes), Matt Damon, Peter Dinklage, and many more. Countless SNL alumni appeared on the show's seven seasons but it never truly felt like stunt casting. What makes 30 Rock such a lasting series is the comparisons many have drawn to the workplace comedy. Much like classic series like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, 30 Rock puts a talented comedic talent center stage but supports her with a cast of strong performers. Everyone plays to their strengths but both Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin were never afraid to mock themselves and the characters they portray.

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Through the seven year run of the show, 30 Rock tried its hand at some live episodes which utilized the various SNL experience the main cast had while stretching their improv skills during difficult transition moments. In later seasons, 30 Rock would venture into more and more surreal territory which drove the characters from being somewhat realistic into caricatures of themselves. Still, 30 Rock has provided so many catchphrases that have entered the zeitgeist that many may not even know they originated on the series. Like other sitcoms that were overlooked in their initial runs, 30 Rock is a perfect series to binge watch as each episode serves as essentially a standalone but the overarching narrative of each season becomes more apparent when each 30 minute episode is watched in succession.

Best season:

The third season of 30 Rock is at once the most critically acclaimed of the series' run and also the best. Fully invested in their roles, the cast are absolutely stellar in the quirks and foibles that make them so funny. Crammed with the most guest stars of any season, Season 3 was also the highest rated and critically acclaimed of the series' run. Highlight episodes include one that features a reunion of most of the cast of Night Court along with others showcasing Peter Dinklage and Adam West. Steve Martin guests as Gavin Volure, a friend of Jack Donaghy, in one of his funniest roles in years. Season 3 was early enough in the series' run that all jokes hit perfectly. Later seasons would have holes in them but this still ranks as the season in which the show finally hit it's stride.

Final thoughts:

30 Rock is an adult comedy with a childish sense of humor. Unlike the sometimes unfocused and hit or miss humor of Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock managed to keep a consistent tone of absurdist humor while also delivering on a heartfelt and mature comedy. Fans of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will see a direct correlation between that series' tone and style and Fey's first sitcom. Like many network series in recent years, 30 Rock never quite gained the following it deserved despite almost a decade on the air. Now is the perfect chance to give the show a chance and binge watch entire seasons. You may find yourself adding virtually every quote that Alec Baldwin delivers to your catalog of zingers and one-liners. Jack Donaghy is one of the greatest television characters of all time and you deserve to find out why.


About the Author

5933 Articles Published

Alex Maidy has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.