TV Review: NBC’s ‘SNL 40’

Saturday Night Live’scast and crew celebrated 40 years of the long-running sketch show on Sunday, Feb. 15 with a special that clocked in at three and a half hours. Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake, who opened the show, were followed by appearances from Eddie Murphy, in his first visit since leaving the series in 1984, Jane Curtin, Steve Martin, Emma Stone, Alec Baldwin, Betty White and many more. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

“It was annoyingly self-regarding yet also fundamentally humble, in that 'show must go on' sense. And every now and then it did something so right that you forgave the patchiness. In other words, it was another Saturday Night Live episode, only plus-size, and on Sunday.”
 Matt Zoller Seitz , Vulture

“The entire structure and flow of the show worked well to this point. The sketches were used as mile markers of sort in the night, which was organized into mini-themes, with well-done (though slightly lengthy) montages along the way. ”
—Sandra Gonzalez, Mashable

“After the obligatory Justin Timberlake-Jimmy Fallon opening, the credits ran so long there was a fleeting fear the producers might run out of time. That gave way to an opening skit that actually turned out to be the night in a microcosm, with so many guests crowding on the stage that by the time Paul McCartney and Paul Simon showed up, their brief duet felt like an afterthought.” 
Brian Lowry,Variety

“In a show that made a couple of very soft jabs at SNL's weaknesses in the diversity department, an all-female Weekend Update was refreshing: Three women sat behind the anchor desk — Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Jane Curtin.”
—John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

“In a calm, quivering sea of nostalgia desperate for a few shark alerts, Bill Murray’s raucous reprise of his Saturday Night Live lounge singer sparked some life into what was actually SNL 40, a celebration that ranged, predictably, from mawkish to absurd, shocking good… to shocking bad.”
Jeremy Gerard,Deadline