Taraji P. Henson, Mumford & Son, and Kenan Thompson
Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Taraji P. Henson and Mumford & Sons

The 'Empire' star makes her hosting debut

After a slow start to 2015 (anniversary special excluded), the last two weeks of “Saturday Night Live” have been a return to form. Both the Dwayne Johnson and Michael Keaton episodes were excellent, now the show has the chance to complete the trifecta with Taraji P. Henson as host. There’s bound to be at least one “Empire”-centric sketch tonight (probably involving musical guest Mumford & Sons, because why not), but personally? I’m hoping Taran Killam gets to bust out his amazing Brad Pitt impression opposite Henson in a parody of “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.” (Those banking on a “Person Of Interest" parody might be disappointed.)

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Michael Keaton and Cecily Strong

Michael Keaton and Cecily Strong

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Michael Keaton and Carly Rae Jepsen

The 'Birdman' star returns to 'SNL' after more than two decades

Michael Keaton has hosted “Saturday Night Live” twice before, but hasn’t hosted since 1992. It was a full decade between that and his original hosting gig. The man does not rush things when it comes to hanging out in Studio 8H. And while the iron may not be quite as hot on his career as it was during the recent Oscars season, that’s no reason not to have him host now. His off-kilter persona and unique energy are still perfect for the show, and there’s little reason to think there’s every chance for a great episode tonight.

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Dwayne Johnson and Bobby Moynihan

Dwayne Johnson and Bobby Moynihan

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Dwayne Johnson and George Ezra

The action star hosts for the fourth time

The questions isn’t whether Dwayne Johnson will be a good host (since he excelled during his first two times in Studio 8H), but whether or not “Saturday Night Live” can finally start regaining some of the momentum that propelled it through its Fall run. That was possibly the strongest stretch during my five years covering the show here at HitFix, but 2015 has been marked by less-than-stellar episodes and a less-than-ideal production schedule. As such, “SNL” has been spotty both in terms of quality and production. But maybe tonight will be a turning point as the show heads into this season’s home stretch.

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Chris Hemsworth and Kate McKinnon

Chris Hemsworth and Kate McKinnon

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Chris Hemsworth and Zac Brown Band

Can The God Of Thunder be The God Of Comedy?

Look at it this way: “Saturday Night Live” has only up to go after last week’s trainwreck. And while Chris Hemsworth doesn’t exactly inspire confidence as a potentially great host, the show is due to come out of the semi-spiral it’s been in during 2015 so far. We’ll get some Marvel-inspired gags/sketches, and who knows, maybe even some of the other starts from “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” might show up tonight to support Thor. (NBC may or may not have one of that movie’s stars already on the payroll, is all I’m saying.)

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Dakota Johnson and Taran Killam

Dakota Johnson and Taran Killam

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Dakota Johnson and Alabama Shakes

The 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' star makes her hosting debut

I get it: There are more than a few concerned fans worried that tonight’s “Saturday Night Live” might be a less-than-stellar edition. Most know host Dakota Johnson from her most recent film role, which isn't exactly a "Bridesmaids"-esque romp. But think of it less as one hosted by the star of “Fifty Shades Of Grey” and rather one hosted by the former lead of the late, great FOX comedy “Ben And Kate.” Dakota Johnson might be more (or near-exclusively) known for the former, but she was straight-up funny on the latter. And while we’ll probably see more references to Christian Grey than Ben Fox, I just don’t have the same hopeless feeling I did before Blake Shelton took the stage in January.

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<p>Donald Trump</p>

Donald Trump

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'The Celebrity Apprentice' crowns a winner

Trump chooses a winner, but since it's for charity, everyone wins!

After two TV personalities created ads for Universal Orlando and paid their "Celebrity Apprentice" dues by praising Donald Trump, he awarded one of them $250,000 for their charity.

That money is about the only thing that matters on "Celebrity Apprentice" finales, which are the worst part of a show that draws so much entertainment from celebrities being tested by high-pressure, quasi-business challenges. Since the decision is up to Donald Trump, it's always been like flipping a coin into a shredder: decisive but pointless.

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'Saturday Night Live' at 40 - From A to Z: Part 2
Credit: NBC

'Saturday Night Live' at 40 - From A to Z: Part 2

Not Ready for Primetime Players? Hardly.

As we approach the fortieth anniversary special of “Saturday Night Live,” it’s time to take stock of what makes the show so unique. Yes, the Not Ready For Primetime Players are key. So are the show’s writers. And hey, that whole “live” thing is still pretty important.

But what about larger themes and trends? What disparate elements add up to the show as presently constituted? We’re going to break down “SNL” from A to Z, finishing here what we started last week.

Check out N to Z below...

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<p>Tom and Padma</p>

Tom and Padma

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'Top Chef: Boston' crowns a winner in Mexico

The winner cooked the best dessert Tom Collichio ever ate

In the final part of its three-part finale, "Top Chef Boston" came down to the two most winning chefs: Gregory and Mei. Prior to the finale, Mei won or was in the top eight out of 12 challenges. Gregory won or was among the best seven out of 12 times.

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<p>&quot;Saturday Night Live&quot;</p>

"Saturday Night Live"

Credit: NBC

'Saturday Night Live' at 40 - From A to Z: Part I

How Do Eddie Murphy and Weekend Update both fit in this part?

As we approach the fortieth anniversary special of "Saturday Night Live," -- Not to be confused with the 40th anniversary of "Saturday Night Live" -- it’s time to take stock of what makes the show so unique. 

Yes, the Not Ready For Primetime Players are key. So are the show’s writers. And hey, that whole “live” thing is still pretty important. But what about larger themes and trends? What disparate elements add up to the show as presently constituted? 

We’re going to break down “SNL” from A to Z, working the first half of the alphabet this week and finishing up next Saturday, the night before NBC's big special (and nine months before the actual anniversary).

Check out A to M...

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JK Simmons and Kenan Thompson

JK Simmons and Kenan Thompson

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - JK Simmons and D'Angelo

The 'Whiplash' star hosts the last show before the big anniversary special

JK Simmons seems like a pretty inspired choice to host “Saturday Night Live,” with his acting versatility baked into his lengthy track record in both the most serious of dramas and silliest of comedies. He’s been in seemingly everything, but his recent award-winning turn in “Whiplash” is getting him the kind of attention not often bestowed upon him. Look for at least one sketch tonight parodying that film, and at least one or two others that reference one of his many, many, many roles.

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