C.C.H. Pounder and Charlie Hunnam in 'Sons of Anarchy'

Even Patterson (C.C.H. Pounder) wants to know the real reason Charlie Hunnam ditched 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' recap: The truth comes out in 'John 8:32'

There's bad news and worse news for Jax, Gemma, Nero and Tara this week

I don't want to get ahead of myself here, but all of a sudden I have hope that this crazy, messy, frequently infuriating season of "Sons of Anarchy" could actually pull itself together for a decent finish. Maybe it's cockeyed optimism to keep up my enthusiasm up for the next four episodes. Maybe it's wishful thinking to believe that the amount of time spent setting up various plot threads has to mean some degree of serious thought went into planning the respective payoffs. Whatever it is, I'm taking "John 8:32" as a positive sign for the future.

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John Noble in 'Sleepy Hollow'

John Noble's Sin Eater is hungry for some tasty, tasty transgressions in "Sleepy Hollow"

Credit: FOX

'Sleepy Hollow' recap: John Noble is 'The Sin Eater'

A deeper dive into Ichabod's past also introduces new characters played by John Noble and James Frain

It's about time for a deeper dive into Ichabod's past on "Sleepy Hollow" and that's exactly what we get from "The Sin Eater," the show's first episode back after a two week hiatus. Unfortunately, it's also an episode that highlights a widening gap between the complexity of the series mythology and the simplicity of its execution. "The Sin Eater" is a perfectly fine, workmanlike installment that does what it needs to do. But when you've been off the air for two weeks, you want to come back with a bigger bang than this.

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Taran Killam and Kerry Washington

Taran Killam and Kerry Washington

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Kerry Washington and Eminem

Get your red wine and popcorn ready as the 'Scandal' star hosts for the first time

Let’s talk about race and “Saturday Night Live”.

Let’s talk about it even though every time we do, it devolves into anarchy in the comments.
 
Let’s talk about it specifically because of that anarchy, which rather than dampening any desire to have a rational discussion about it only makes me want to keep attempting to have it.
 
Let’s talk about it not simply because Kerry Washington is the host this week, but rather because it’s a useful conversation to constantly have.
 
Let’s talk about it because I’ve already talked about it here, here, here, and here and the rage that inevitably flows from a small, vocal portion of the readership is often more instructive about the show’s than anything I can bring to the table.
 
Let’s talk about it because talking about it is in fact talking about ways to make a show near and dear to the hearts of many “SNL” fans better.
 
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Rey Gallegos and Charlie Hunnam in 'Sons of Anarchy'

Fiasco (Rey Gallegos) and Jax (Charlie Hunnam) exchange pleasantries

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' recap: 'Los Fantasmas' revisits the past

Sins of the past catch up with several characters as we head toward the season's third act

We're into the second half of the season now and "Los Fantasmas" feels like an episode designed to put a lot of pieces into position for bigger plays to come. The school shooting returns in a major way, Gemma begins formulating her next steps in light of Tara's betrayal, Nero makes a big decision with unexpected consequences and Jax bares his soul to Tara in a would-be heart-wrenching moment that's arguably too little and unquestionably too late.

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Edward Norton and Bobby Monyihan prepare for "Saturday Night Live"

Edward Norton and Bobby Monyihan prepare for "Saturday Night Live"

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Edward Norton and Janelle Monáe

The first rule about Ed Norton hosting the show: Let's talk about Ed Norton hosting the show
Edward Norton isn’t exactly known for his comedic talents, relying mostly on intense turns in such films as “Fight Club” and “American History X” for his rise to fame. But he’s had plenty of intentionally funny roles as well, such as in “Keeping The Faith,” “Death To Smoochy,” and his recent foray into the world of Wes Anderson films. For those with even a hint of interest in the behind-the-scenes world of Hollywood, Norton is also known as an opinionated talent who often provides creative input into his many endeavors, even when said input isn’t sought. But when it comes to “Saturday Night Live,” collaboration is the name of the game, and it should be interesting to see just how much Norton is willing to puncture his own persona tonight. Along for the ride will be musical guest Janelle Monáe. If you’ve never seen Monáe perform, you’re in for a treat.
 
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Walton Goggins and Katey Sagal in 'Sons of Anarchy'

Venus (Walton Goggins) bonds with Gemma (Katey Sagal) in 'Sons of Anarchy'

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' recap: Venus rises in 'Sweet and Vaded'

Walton Goggins injects some heart and soul into the season before Tara brings the nasty

Certain parts of "Sons of Anarchy" inevitably feel like a little boy's fantasy of what it means to be a grown-up man: a tough, cool guy who wins every fight, scores with any woman he wants and outsmarts every rival. But to the show's credit, "Sons" has always been equally interested in its female characters, routinely giving them the same level of badass cred as the guys. There's plenty of reasons to quibble with the way certain characters are (or aren't) developed, but when it comes to storytelling "Sons" rarely discriminates based on gender. Maybe that's one reason the character of Venus van Dam works so well.

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'SNL': 10 observations about the new season after three shows
Credit: NBC

'SNL': 10 observations about the new season after three shows

Do hosts even matter any more?

We’re only three episodes into the thirty-ninth season of “Saturday Night Live." But that’s not stopping us from making ten observations about the current season as a whole. Who has shined? Who has faded into the background? What trends can we already detect?

Read on to find out about the current state of the show.

David Labrava, Kim Coates, Tommy Flanagan and Theo Rossi in 'Sons of Anarchy'

David Labrava, Kim Coates, Tommy Flanagan and Theo Rossi in 'Sons of Anarchy'

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' recap: 'Salvage' pauses the insanity

A murder-free episode reasserts the show's interest in brotherhood while setting up more trouble ahead

If I had to speculate about what helped make "Sons of Anarchy" such a big hit for FX, it wouldn't just be the extreme violence, the soapy twists, the provocative peek into outlaw culture or the availability on Netflix Instant. Those are all important factors, sure, but so is the strong sense of friendship and brotherhood at the core of SAMCRO. At one point or another, I think every fan of "Sons of Anarchy" has bonded with the characters because of their bonds with each other. And that's not something we've seen much of this season, at least until "Salvage."

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Tom Mison and Katia Winter in 'Sleepy Hollow'

Ichabod (Tom Mison) and Katrina (Katia Winter) share a moment in purgatory in 'Sleepy Hollow'

Credit: FOX

'Sleepy Hollow' recap: Roanoke, pestilence and 'John Doe'

Ichabod struggles with lost time, Abbie wrestles with her faith and the show loses a bit of its spark

I suppose sooner or later there needed to be a "Sleepy Hollow" episode dealing with Ichabod feeling out of place in the 21st Century, but I'm not sure it needed to be quite as clumsy or underwhelming as "John Doe." Not that the hour was any kind of severe misstep, more like a minor stumble as the still-promising show continues to find its voice and build its narrative foundation.

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Bruce Willis and Cecily Strong promote this week's episode

Bruce Willis and Cecily Strong promote this week's episode

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Bruce Willis And Katy Perry

The action star returns to his comedic roots in Studio 8H

The thirty-ninth season of “Saturday Night Live” has seen a lot of changes in its cast from the past few seasons, but really not much change in terms of overall quality. You take the good, you take the bad, you take the Drunk Uncle, and there you have the facts of “SNL” in this decade. It doesn’t matter if you throw up a seemingly slam-dunk host like Tina Fey or a potential wild-card like Miley Cyrus: the core elements of the show are what they are, meaning that there’s little in the way that’s going to change until the new writing staff figures out how to work with the new cast in ways that honor the show’s history while forging its future. 

That’s why tonight’s episode isn’t really about host Bruce Willis and musical guest Katy Perry, a past host who will undoubtedly end up in at least one sketch tonight. (Late update: Nope! I was wrong.) It’s more about seeing if any synergy between the on-screen and off-screen talent has sparked something that might indicate how this version of the show will operate. It’s not about expecting a fully-formed unit bonded over an intense three-week period to suddenly appear on the small screen. Rather, it’s about seeing any hints about what this iteration of the show’s cast might offer. The six new cast members have barely made a dent thus far, and the returning cast members have largely done new iterations of old characters. There will be at least two weeks between this episode and the next, so the show needs to make some impression that will last for that fortnight. (Update: Ed Norton will host in two week's time, as announced during tonight's broadcast.)
 
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