Chris Pratt 'Sharp' as SNL Turns 40
Debut shows 'markedly different tone': 'Entertainment Weekly'
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2014 11:04 AM CDT

(Newser) – Last night kicked off the 40th season of Saturday Night Live, and it featured a variety of wild cards: first-time guest host Chris Pratt, the absence of the iconic Don Pardo, new cast members, and a shakeup at the Weekend Update desk. "It seemed on a mission to prove that a new era has come to Studio 8H—one with a markedly different tone," writes Esther Zuckerman at Entertainment Weekly. "There was little about the show that was familiar. It seemed intent on showing off the new generation." But for all assumptions "that the show's premiere would reflect these growing pains," writes Ryan Gajewski at the Hollywood Reporter, the show "was sharp and consistently funny, thanks in no small part to host Chris Pratt."

Pratt sang in his opening monologue to his wife, who appeared in the audience, adds Brian Anthony Hernandez at Mashable, noting that "Her name is Anna Faris; she's hosted twice. We had sex and a baby popped out. It's true. Do you remember that?" Zuckerman notes that "it was incredibly strange not to hear Don Pardo's voice booming across the opening credits," but that "I’m sure we’ll get used to Darrell Hammond’s take eventually." Perhaps less consequentially, over at Huffington Post, Lauren Duca notes that musical guest Ariana Grande was again wearing cat ears, which means that "Ariana Grande wearing cat ears is just another thing we have to accept now, much like Ariana Grande wearing her hair in a high ponytail and the impermanent nature of human existence." Check the video gallery for highlights.