30 Rock - Season 1 (2006 - 2007)
Tina Fey's '30 Rock' commenced last year in parallel with a similar show, Aaron Sorkin's Studio 60. Many had anticipated Fey's show to be bowled over by the one from the more renowned and acclaimed Sorkin. Seems like David conquered Goliath once again, as '30 Rock' won the little contest by being renewed for a second season (despite having even lower ratings than its competitor) while 'Studio 60' went the way of the dodo.
'30 Rock' is a half hour sitcom about a sketch show produced by NBC and created and run by a geeky woman, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey). At the start of the season, a managerial type named Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) takes over the show and introduces some changes, including the hiring of nutty actor Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) to be the show's new star. This doesn't sit well with current star Jenna (Jane Krawkoski) and the rest of the show's staff, but they all have to try and get along to keep the show going.
That's the setup. '30 Rock' is basically about the wacky escapades of its crazy characters, both in terms of dealing with producing their show and in terms of their personal lives. And it is brilliant, often approaching Arrested Development levels of greatness. Like that landmark series, it features surreal storylines, bizarre unhinged characters, and smart jokes that come thick and fast (including flashbacks and digressions); all these elements gel together perfectly. The show revolves around the central trio of Lemon, Donaghy, and Jordan but also gives plenty of juicy stuff for its equally memorable supporting characters. The cast is uniformly great, particularly the central trio, with the real scene stealer being Alec Baldwin as Donaghy - every scene with him is golden. Add some lively music and colourful visuals to the mix and the end result is a future classic comedy series.
I'd love to write a more in depth review, but I've fallen way behind (I finished watching this ages ago) and don't have time to do so. Fortunately there's a second season (after which the show will probably be cancelled given its anemic ratings) that will give me the opportunity to review it properly at a future date*!
*Assuming the writers' strike doesn't impact it too heavily.