30 Rock (The Complete Series) (2006-13)

Tina Fey’s sitcom, obviously based on her years as lead writer at “Saturday Night Live,” arrives with all the urgency and weight of a modern TV classic. Its structure isn’t particularly gripping, but it’s what the show manages to do with its characters that makes the whole show so compelling. The dynamics among the characters – in particular Fey’s Liz Lemon’s relationship to Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy, her Republican foil – are so strong, and so well-cast all-around, that it’s impossible not to get swept up. Among the many supporting characters and guest spots, there are several stand-outs like Jack McBrayer as Kenneth and Judah Friedlander as Frank, but even so, the entirety of the show never feels like anything less than an ensemble piece. The writing is absolutely hilarious and layered, and each actor manages to find the heart of every scene, and it’s a thrill to watch from the first episode to the last. Across seven seasons, there are some episodes (particularly in the last few seasons) that start feeling a little goofier than necessary, and the show does occasionally succumb to forced pratfalls, but overall, it’s a delight to watch and it will surely be a recognized classic for generations to come.

Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)

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