30 Rock



Finally. The return of "30 Rock" this week means the long wait is over for TV's best comedy. For all the good she has done on "Saturday Night Live," which has been considerable, Tina Fey's ultimate gift to TV viewers is her perfect portrayal of stressed producer Liz Lemon.

Two episodes NBC made available to critics prove this series is ready to scale even higher comedic heights and that the brightest spot on the planet is not the light atop the Luxor but the writers' room of "30 Rock."

In the season premiere, "Do-Over," Liz is evaluated as a potential adoptive parent (by guest star Megan Mullally) and Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) makes strides to regain his former executive position. Nothing could be funnier except, maybe, the second episode, featuring a guest appearance by Oprah Winfrey.

The return of "30 Rock" also raises questions about NBC's scheduling judgment. Why put this terrific show at 9:30 p.m. when it should lead off the hour at 9? In fact, the strongest Thursday night schedule on NBC would start with "The Office" and follow with "My Name Is Earl," "30 Rock" and, if you must, "Kath & Kim." Alas, there's no point playing the "What was NBC thinking?" game this season because it would never end.