"30 Rock" remains one of the most entertaining shows on NBC, even heading into its fifth season. Success can be attributed largely to the stellar cast. Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) stars as head writer of "The Girlie Show", soon renamed "TGS with Tracy Jordan". Tracy Morgan was cast as Tracy Jordan, the borderline insane comedian who carries the show within the show. Playing second banana to him is insecure diva Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski), and both are constantly served by NBC page boy Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer). Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) completes the starring lineup as the ambitious NBC Vice President and Lemon's mentor.
As the show ages, some things have changed both good and bad. Here's a few of the things that should never change and some things that need to happen right away.
Don't Change It, "30 Rock"!
Liz Lemon - Jack Donaghy Chemistry
Thankfully, from a very early point in the series it was decided not to make "30 Rock" an will-they-won't-they situation. The partnership works best with no love interest between the pair, as they can be acerbic and open with each other without romance. The nature of their relationship was snarkily observed in the most recent episode, "Gentleman's Intermission"; the mentorship is a thing that is just meant to be.
Huge Supporting Cast
There are 13 - 14 characters who can be called regular cast members, each contributing their own degree of weirdness to the show. The changing faces each episode helps keep the show fresh, while callbacks to different aspects of their character from previous episodes rewards watchers.
Some of the best episodes are those that follow different groups of cast members on different subplots. Whereas relentlessly pursuing the latest neurosis displayed by Lemon each episode would quickly wear thin, having the ability to cut away to something strange yet tangentially related is welcome.
Even rock solid Republican Jack Donaghy seems to be suffering from some sort of delusion on any given day. If you're invested in the show, you want the characters to persevere somehow, but fortunately they are never so self-aware they realize the one-liners they're throwing out are actually telling people that they're entirely nuts.
Great Guest Stars
Guest stars who blend seamlessly into the background of the show are the ones who fit in best. Jerry Seinfeld seemed too self-aware when he was on, while Paul Giamatti's walk-on as a smitten editor was so perfect you could easily see his character returning and carrying on with the show.
Lose it, "30 Rock!"
Liz Lemon is Soooooo Old...
These jokes have gotten stale. Yes, Tina Fey isn't 20, but she looks good for her age and pretending she's a crone isn't charming any more.
More Chris Parnell
Practically everything Chris Parnell says as Dr. Leo Spaceman (pronounced Spa-chem-in) is hilarious. Granted, he's a doctor on the show so there's not always a reason to have him on, but his "advertisement" during the live show was one of the highlights of that episode.
More Judah Friedlander
Apart from being the resident slob and creator of all his own weekly hat sayings, Friedlander's character Frank Rossitano is underused. They've had a few episodes focus on him, but there's definitely more that could be mined there.
Less Cheyenne Jackson
There's nothing deeply unlikeable about either the character or the actor, but the overly innocent fish out of water routine as ably managed by Kenneth Parcell. The few times Jackson's "new" character Danny Baker comes on, it's brief and to complete a punchline. He seems like a pretty boy version of the unfortunate Josh Girard character they ditched a few seasons back and seems headed for the same exit strategy.
Go Ahead and Leave the Set
The show revolves around the show itself, of course, but there are not enough excursions outside of the confines of NBC. It feels like they could step outside for a breath of fresh air more often. Scenes still work in Lemon's apartment, in the "Cash Cab" which Tracy Jordan accidentally found himself in, and in, of all places, Cleveland when Lemon nearly gave up the show.
SourceNBC.com, "30 Rock"