- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The 2009 Emmy Awards were handed out Sunday night, so the entertainment industry is thinking about television right now. Perhaps that’s why there are so many TV on DVD releases this week — including the winner for best comedy.

30 Rock: Season Three (Universal, $49.98) — Universal must have known it had a winner on its hands, releasing the third season of NBC’s “30 Rock” just two days after it won the Emmy for best comedy. Of course, it wasn’t exactly a long shot — this was the show’s third consecutive win in the category. Tina Fey — who this year lost out on lead actress in a comedy to “United States of Tara’s” Toni Collette — created, stars in and writes for this series about the shenanigans behind the scenes of a sketch comedy show not unlike Miss Fey’s alma mater, “Saturday Night Live.” Alec Baldwin, who took home another Emmy this year, is deliciously nasty as her boss.

This funny and biting series has been a critical success since it started, and has been steadily gaining in viewers, too — though it can’t yet be called a hit. The first season had an average of 5.8 million viewers, the second season 6.4 million and this third season 7.5, no doubt thanks to Miss Fey’s increased exposure playing former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on “SNL” during the 2008 election.

Extras on this three-disc set that contains all 22 episodes include deleted scenes; the table read of the season finale; the making of the “He Needs a Kidney” episode; a look behind the scenes with the Muppets; and commentary with Miss Fey plus actors Alan Alda, Jack McBrayer, Jane Krakowski and Jon Hamm, an Emmy nominee for his work on best drama winner “Mad Men.”

Ugly Betty: Season Three (Buena Vista, $59.99) — Vanessa Williams lost out on the Emmy for best supporting actress in a comedy, but there’s always next year (winner Kristen Chenoweth’s show “Pushing Daisies” was canceled). Miss Williams is certainly one of the best things about “Ugly Betty,” but then villains often are. She’s the creative director of fashion magazine Mode, at which the unlikely Betty (played by America Ferrera) toils.

The third season saw “Ugly Betty” move to New York for filming, which added authenticity to the show and a tax credit to the budget. One of the extras on the six-disc set of 24 episodes looks at that move from Los Angeles. Others have alternate takes and deleted scenes, bloopers and commentaries.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit — The Tenth Year (Universal, $59.98) — Mariska Hargitay was another acting nominee — and a past winner — for best actress in a drama. Her show got three other acting nominations — all in the guest actress in a drama category for memorable performances by veterans: Brenda Blethyn, Carol Burnett and the winner, Ellen Burstyn. All 22 episodes of the 10th season, including those starring those lovely ladies, are here in a five-disc set.

Taxi: The Complete Fourth Season — (Paramount, $39.98) — It’s not just contemporary series that are being released on DVD this week. The fourth season of this former ABC series, which won 18 Emmy Awards over its five-season run, is also out. The classic comedy — which also had its share of drama starred Judd Hirsch, Marilu Henner, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd and Andy Kaufman as struggling cabbies dispatched around New York by the irascible Danny DeVito. All 24 episodes are here on three discs, but without any extras.

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