Seth Rogen and Aidy Bryant

Seth Rogen and Aidy Bryant

Credit: NBC

Recap: Saturday Night Live with Seth Rogen and Ed Sheeran

The "Neighbors" star returns to host for the third time

It’s almost five years to the day that Seth Rogen last hosted “Saturday Night Live.” (Somewhat amusingly, his “Neighbors” co-star Zac Efron hosted the very next week.) Meanwhile, over the last five episodes, “SNL” itself has survived a rather rocky start to the post-Seth Meyers Era with a string of solid albeit non-classic episodes after the Jim Parsons-hosted debacle. Heading into its final break of the season, it will be interesting to see if the show ends on an upswing or downswing heading into the final stretch of this flawed yet fascinating season.

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Anna Kendrick and Taran Killam

Anna Kendrick and Taran Killam

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Anna Kendrick and Pharrell Williams

The "Pitch Perfect" star hosts for the first time

Chances are good for an aca-awesome episode of “Saturday Night Live”, with host Anna Kendrick appearing for the first time. And since Pharrell Williams is musical guest, there’s an equal likelihood that you might feel “Happy” while watching. But all puns inside, all things are aligned for a fun episode of the show to follow up a strong outing last week. Kendrick has a winning personality, seems game for anything, and can shine equally with both the men and women of the cast.

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Louis C.K.

Louis C.K.

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Louis C.K. and Sam Smith

The comedian returns to host for a second time

There have only been five new installments of “Saturday Night Live” this calendar year, so you’ll be forgiven if the pace of the season as a whole has seemed somewhat off. Throw in the fact that Seth Meyers left between one of the two lengthy breaks in the past three months, and you have a downright disjointed season. But starting tonight, “SNL” airs three new episodes in a row. Anna Kendrick and Seth Rogan will have their respective chances to shine in upcoming weeks, but tonight, it’s time for Louis C.K. to host for a second time. His first hosting gig back in the Fall of 2012 was a mixed bag, but did offer up some classic stuff (including the digital short “Lincoln” and the first installment of “Last Call,” a now-recurring sketch that tends to close out episodes) as well as fascinating disasters (“Mountain Call” is still cringe-worthy even now).

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Lena Dunham and Kate McKinnon

Lena Dunham and Kate McKinnon

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Lena Dunham And The National

The "Girls" creator and star makes her "SNL" debut

Well, this should be interesting.

Not “Saturday Night Live” itself, which I imagine will rebound quite nicely from last week’s fairly disastrous show. Rather, I mean reaction to Lena Dunham, who inspires more conversation than almost anyone else on television, all of which can be accurately described as “passionate.” Dunham, and her HBO “Girls,” seems to touch a nerve unlike anything else in current popular culture, to the point where any rationale online discussion of either seems as likely as my mother waking up tomorrow and suddenly understanding the concept of cloud computing.

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Jim Parsons and Bobby Moynihan

Jim Parsons and Bobby Moynihan

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Jim Parsons and Beck

The star of "The Big Bang Theory" is game, but the show's return is shockingly unfunny

It seems like an eternity since the last episode of “Saturday Night Live” aired, but it’s back tonight, with the most beloved member of one of television’s biggest shows as host. Jim Parsons is a semi-unlikely television star, but there are few who don’t know who Sheldon Cooper is at this point, and a large chunk of that goes to Parson’s portrayal of that character. In lesser hands, Sheldon would not be one of the true genuine breakout characters in recent TV history. Tonight, Parsons gets to potentially stretch his wings, in addition to almost undoubtedly delivering “The Big Bang Theory”-related humor as well. Along for the ride is musical act Beck for this, the first show in the post-Seth Meyers Era.

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10 ways to keep 'Saturday Night Live' fresh
Credit: NBC

10 ways to keep 'Saturday Night Live' fresh

Some new ideas for the show in the wake of Seth Meyers' departure

With the departure of Seth Meyers, “Saturday Night Live” experiences another big casting change. But change is built into the show’s very DNA, so this isn’t time to worry. Rather, it’s time to get excited about what’s now possible. The effects of his departure will echo beyond the “Weekend Update” desk and ripple into each aspect of the show. Sure, the show can and probably will try to move on and overtly act as if nothing is different. But that’s a terrifically boring approach to take. Anything and everything is possible. That was true when Meyers was there, and now the show has a perfect excuse to try some new approaches. How can the show best take advantage?

We have a few thoughts:

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10 Oscar Nominees we'd like to see host 'Saturday Night Live'
Credit: AP Photo

10 Oscar Nominees we'd like to see host 'Saturday Night Live'

Will Amy Adams, Pharrell Williams or Sandra Bullock appear anytime soon?

 Oscar excitement is starting to reach fever pitch. But while HitFix’s staff has nearly every aspect of the lead up to the awards themselves covered, it’s time to also think about what will happen after the statues are handed out on March 2. Sure, many of the nominees will move onto other film projects. But there’s also another place we’d like to see them sooner rather than later: in Studio 8H hosting “Saturday Night Live.” All these selections are long shots in one way or another. But these choices aren’t about the likelihood of any one performer actually hosting. This is about looking at the field of 2014 nominees and seeing where the most interesting pairings between host and show exist. 

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'Saturday Night Live' 2014 Power Rankings: Who's number one?
Credit: NBC

'Saturday Night Live' 2014 Power Rankings: Who's number one?

Which cast members are proving to be vital this season?

In the middle of a lengthy hiatus for "Saturday Night Live" after the end of The Seth Meyers Era, it’s time to take stock of the show’s remaining players in HitFix’s annual Cast Power Rankings. (You can see last year’s list here.) The following list has nothing to do with the talent of those on the show. This list merely ascertains their overall worth to the show as exhibited by onscreen time, level of contribution, and the show’s perceived value of their worth to the program as a whole. Those low on the list aren’t unfunny: They simply haven’t had the chance to shine or haven’t found a way to break through just yet. Those atop the list are vital to "SNL" as a whole and are poised to lead the show heading into its fortieth anniversary next year.

You can check out the entire list in the embedded gallery in this post. Agree or disagree? Share your thoughts below.

 
 
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Melissa McCarthy and Imagine Dragons

Melissa McCarthy and Imagine Dragons

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Melissa McCarthy And Imagine Dragons

The Seth Meyers Era ends with one of the show's most dependably great hosts
Normally, I’d kick things off by saying how excited I am by the prospect of Melissa McCarthy hosting for the third time in three seasons of “Saturday Night Live.” She’s been a fantastic host in each of her previous two attempts, and already at the point where having her as host every year (if she wants to do it) seems like a desirable option. But tonight, it’s all about the end of the Seth Meyers Era on “SNL”. It might seem odd to say goodbye to someone who will actually be on NBC more often per week than now once he takes over “Late Night” after the Winter Olympics. But as head writer for almost a decade, Meyers has shaped the content of the show in ways we won’t really know until his departure.
 
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NEAR....FAR...WHEREVER YOU ARE, LEO....

NEAR....FAR...WHEREVER YOU ARE, LEO....

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Jonah Hill And Bastille

Is third time the charm for the Oscar-nominated actor
Fresh off his second Oscar nomination, this time for his work in “The Wolf Of Wall Street,” Jonah Hill arrives at “Saturday Night Live” to host for the third time. For someone with such a charismatic comedic personality, his previous two appearances have been strangely muted affairs, with only the recurring Benihana-set sketch making any lasting splash. (Given Benihana’s place in “Wolf,” that either means we won’t see the sketch at all or Leonardo DiCaprio will be the chef in it tonight. Anything’s possible!) But that says more about the writing for those particular episodes than anything Hill himself has brought to the table. There’s been roughly a 50% cast turnover since Hill last hosted in March 2012, so there are plenty of new comedic combinations possible.
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