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These 'SNL' cast members return for season 42: Where does show stand?

'SNL' has revealed which stars will be coming back for the variety show's upcoming season. As the premiere approaches, what is the status of 'SNL' after four decades?

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    Kate McKinnon arrives at the Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, Calif. in 2016.
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Those behind the long-running and legendary NBC variety program “Saturday Night Live” have revealed which cast members will be coming back for the upcoming season of the show, which will be number 42 for the program. 

It was previously announced that former cast members Jay Pharaoh, Taran Killam, and Jon Rudnitsky would not be coming back for the new episodes. 

However, according to those on “SNL,” the other cast members from last year will be on season 42 of the show. 

According to the site Splitsider, “SNL” actors Leslie Jones, Pete Davidson, Michael Che, Sasheer Zamata, Kenan Thompson, Cecily Strong, Bobby Moynihan, Kyle Mooney, Kate McKinnon, Colin Jost, Aidy Bryant, Beck Bennett, and Vanessa Bayer will all be appearing on the upcoming episodes beginning this fall. 

“SNL” recently celebrated its fortieth anniversary, with decades having elapsed since cast members such as Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, and Dan Aykroyd debuted on the program. Where does the show stand now? Is it still entertaining to watch? 

Following the season 41 finale this past May, Vulture writer Matthew Love wrote of the current cast, “[This was] one of the best episodes in an otherwise middling season. As a whole, the cast is still searching for the hook that will make it memorable, still hoping for consistency but not really finding on it yet. And while it’s true that some of the joy of this episode is due to the reappearance of former cast members, everyone who gets airtime has at least a nice moment.” 

Meanwhile, Sonia Saraiya of Variety wrote that she was concerned over Mr. Killam and Mr. Pharaoh departing. “In a cast with somewhat middling name recognition, Killam and Pharoah were two of the most familiar names,” Ms. Saraiya wrote. “…Lately the show has felt inundated by fresh-faced and naïve comedians – supervised by a few elderly hall monitors that pull goofy grins after every delivered joke. It could stand to nurture some more seasoned talent.” 

However, Splitsider writer Megh Wright thinks new head writers Sarah Schneider and Chris Kelly coming in for the upcoming season is a positive development.

"This promotion is a super smart move for 'SNL' considering Schneider and Kelly are responsible for some of the show's most beloved sketches since they joined the show in 2011," Ms. Wright wrote.

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