'30 Rock' finally returns

The Baltimore Sun

There have not been many nights worth getting excited about when it comes to the new TV season. But with Tina Fey's sitcom, 30 Rock, returning on NBC, this is one of them. The series cleaned up at the Emmys, winning seven of the trophies, including best comedy writing, best comedy show and best lead actress and actor in a comedy series. Fey, who created the series, was responsible for the first three, while Alec Baldwin earned the fourth.

Fey's Liz Lemon, the overwrought producer of a fictional TV show, still believes in the dream of having a personal life. Tonight, Liz's effort to adopt a child leads to a workplace visit by an investigator. Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) is superb as the agency inquisitor.

I would give the episode four stars, but I have to save something for next week, when Oprah Winfrey is a guest star, and Fey raises her acting game another notch. Besides, tonight's episode does have a few moments when it goes over the comedy top and seems just a tad too broad. But who cares? Overall, it's a joy. (9:31 p.m., WBAL-Channel 11) *** 1/2

LATE-NIGHT GUESTS Actress Ashley Olsen and actor Paul Rudd visit the Late Show with David Letterman. Actress Christina Applegate appears on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

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