Paul Rudd and One Direction

Paul Rudd and One Direction

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Paul Rudd and One Direction

The 'Anchorman' star and the pop phenoms kick off the show's December run

We’re in the home stretch for 2013 episodes of “Saturday Night Live.” Starting tonight, we have a run of three weeks involving hosts familiar with the program. Paul Rudd is making his third appearance as host to kick things off, and if you think he’s the only actor associated with the “Anchorman” franchise that will appear tonight in Studio 8H, well, I have some swampland to sell you. Not only is Will Ferrell an alum of the show, but the film’s co-writer/director Adam McKay tweeted earlier today that he would be writing another iteration of a moderately-famous recurring sketch as well. (And others involved with the franchise have experience as well, almost too many to name here.)

 
What will be interesting to see over these next three weeks is how much the new cast gets integrated versus pushed to the side. Logically speaking, the latter will happen, which only once again raises the question of why "SNL" culled such a large cast together this season in the first place. Throw in the fact that there’s almost no way One Direction won’t appear in at least one (if not more) non-musical segments, and you have a very good chance that more than half of the cast will get next to no screen time tonight.
 
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Maggie Siff in 'Sons of Anarchy'

Yeah, Tara, that's how we feel about 'Sons of Anarchy' this season too.

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' recap: Tara's big decision in 'You Are My Sunshine'

Jax smooths over the Irish troubles but his personal life won't be so easy

As sprawling and convoluted and ludicrously overlong as this season of "Sons of Anarchy" has been, it basically boils down to two major storylines: Jax's attempt to extract SAMCRO from the business of gun running and longstanding connections with the IRA and Tara's attempt to extract her boys from the dangerous world Jax is trying to make safer.

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Tom Mison, Erin Cahill and Nicole Beharie in 'Sleepy Hollow'

Here's something you don't see every Thanksgiving

Credit: FOX

'Sleepy Hollow' recap: Giving thanks in 'Sanctuary'

Family ties, haunted houses and tree monsters: It's Thanksgiving, 'Sleepy Hollow'-style

It's Thanksgiving on "Sleepy Hollow," and that means an episode rich in family, traditions and ... tree monsters?

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Josh Hutcherson and Bobby Moynihan

Josh Hutcherson and Bobby Moynihan

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Josh Hutcherson and HAIM

The star of "The Hunger Games" makes his debut as host
Look, Josh Hutcherson seems like a nice enough guy. And I understand he’s one-third of the love triangle in what is currently the biggest non-Marvel, non-“Star Wars” franchise around. So when I say I don’t know why he’s hosting, I want you to understand that I understand the business side, just not the creative side. If you want to pimp out “The Hunger Games”, there are probably a dozen other people in that film franchise that would generate more excitement as host than Hutcherson. Again: he’s a good actor, when the material is right. (Check out “The Kids Are Alright” if you don’t believe me.) And I hope I’m surprised by how well he does. But if the first half-hour consists of Panem-centric parodies and Hutcherson playing himself, strap in for a world of pain.
 
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'Sons of Anarchy' Season 6

"Sons of Anarchy"

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' recap: Murder most foul in 'Aon Rud Persanta'

The body count skyrockets in the season's most shocking episode

Well, spoiler alert "Sons of Anarchy" fans: That happened.

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Orlando Jones and Lyndie Greenwood in 'Sleepy Hollow'

Irving (Orlando Jones) brings Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood) to work on her first day out of the asylum

Credit: FOX

'Sleepy Hollow' recap: 'Necromancer' is a fist bumping good time

Another strong episode argues the show could be more than just a guilty pleasure

"Sleepy Hollow" is officially on a roll. Two weeks in a row of first-rate episodes and everything's coming together. I'd say "Necromancer" is as close to a perfect episode as the show has delivered so far. (Though some may consider it a misstep that we now have a backstory for Headless... more on that in a bit.)

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They live for the applause, applause, applause...

They live for the applause, applause, applause...

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Lady Gaga

The pop star pulls double duty during her first hosting gig
I’m sure there are some reservations about Lady Gaga hosting “Saturday Night Live” tonight. But I’m not sure I see the problem, at least in theory. Her musical output has produced some of the great highs and lows of modern pop music, and I wouldn’t be the least surprised to see either extreme matched comedically tonight. I’ve enjoyed her sketch appearances in the past (in 2009 and 2011), and her larger-than-life presence will at least add some excitement to tonight’s proceedings. For someone as image-conscious as she is, Lady Gaga has not been afraid to send up herself during her brief appearances on the show in the past. So I’m going into this with an open mind and hoping for the best. Tonight will probably go one of two ways: in one scenario, she’s a team player in an episode that doesn’t really stand out from the rest; in the other, this is Guest Star-A-Polooza, with countless cameos throughout that turn the episode into a circus. (Maybe Timberlake returns the favor for her cameos in 2011, for example?)
 
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Jimmy Smits and Katey Sagal in 'Sons of Anarchy'

Jimmy Smits and Katey Sagal in 'Sons of Anarchy'

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' recap: Tara's last stand in 'Huang Wu'

Jax faces a series of big decisions involving Tara, Galen, Clay and Patterson

By now we know what's working, and what's not working, this season on "Sons of Anarchy," and "Huang Wu" suffers for focusing too much on the wrong half of that equation. After last week's episode so effectively built up urgency and suspense, this week's was the equivalent of letting the air slowly out of a balloon that had been primed to pop.

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Tom Mison in 'Sleepy Hollow'

Ichabod (Tom Mison) has his 'Alas, poor Yorick' moment

Credit: FOX

'Sleepy Hollow' recap: Headless returns in 'Midnight Ride'

It's Ichabod versus the Internet and we all win

"Paul Revere, you rum beggar!" - Ichabod Crane

You're just not going to hear that anywhere else on television. And I think at this point we can safely say that's one of the key reasons why "Sleepy Hollow" has become the breakout hit of this year's freshman class.

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Past 'Saturday Night Live' stars we'd like to see mentor the current cast
Credit: NBC

Past 'Saturday Night Live' stars we'd like to see mentor the current cast

What advice can Bill Murray, Amy Poehler and Mike Myers give?

In the middle of the second break of the thirty-ninth season of “Saturday Night Live,” we here at HitFix have some homework for the cast before they return to live TV on November 16th. With the show still struggling to find its identity, we’ve paired up each current cast member with a past one. Why? So those still on the show can watch footage of former Not Ready For Prime Time Players in order to glean inspiration, hone existing skills, and potentially develop new approaches. There’s something to be learned from almost everyone that’s ever performed in Studio 8H (both good and bad), but here are some pairings that we think would improve not only the individuals but also "Saturday Night Live" as a whole.

Check out the story gallery below and share your own thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

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