“Saturday Night Live” (NBC, 11:30 p.m.) starts its 38th season as a landmark show as well as a solid piece of the cultural conversation.
There will be some noticeable changes right off the bat – the absence of Kristin Wiig, who left with some fanfare (more, perhaps than any other cast member), Andy Samberg and Abby Elliott (farewell, excellent Angelina Jolie impersonations).
Three have been added to the supporting player category, up from the ranks of the usual improv training grounds. Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant and Tim Robinson.
Jason Sudeikis, who was on the fence about staying, decded to stick around at least through the election to lend his Mitt Romney and Joe Biden impersonations. But there is a new Obama this fall, though I thought Fred Armisen did a fairly good job, they’re giving it to the black cast member Jay Pharoh, who was used so little last year you were right to wonder whether he was even still part of the cast.
The worst part of the opener is the guest: the already overexposed Seth MacFarlane, pictured right with Kenan Thompson, with three unfunny cartoons on the air and a penchant to sing Broadway. But R&B original Frank Ocean will be good as musical guest.