Saturday Night Live has lots of great pretaped shorts these days, but Erik Voss at SplitSider thinks one crucial element of the show is lacking—the "live" part. That's too bad, because a sense of "live-television danger" that has long been part of the show's DNA is slipping away. "Live sketches seem to be fading into the periphery, with the longtime SNL crutch of talk shows, game shows, and press conferences filling in the cracks between bland setups and odd character pieces that never quite take off."
There are exceptions, of course, and Voss singles out last year's "Darrell's House" sketch with Zach Galifianakis as one in which the show challenged itself in the live format and succeeded spectacularly. SNL needs more of that. Pretaped shorts have always been a part of the show, but what's different now "is how often SNL seems to be doing videos instead of live pieces, and how much more successful those videos have been than the live ones," writes Voss. If the show wants to remain relevant, it needs to remember that "live" is what sets it apart. "SNL should think of that live component as an opportunity to take a risk, not a requirement to play it safe." Click for the full column.