Sarah Palin has made “Saturday Night Live” relevant again, said David Hinckley in the New York Daily News. Tina Fey’s routines spoofing the Republican vice presidential candidate (click here for video from NBC) have “become a hot media ticket”—contributing to a 40 percent jump in the comedy show’s ratings over last year, and attracting millions of viewers online. That’s almost “as much buzz as the Moose Dresser herself.”

Fey has “certainly nailed it” with her Palin impression, said Alan Sepinwall in the New Jersey Star-Ledger. “But I’m starting to feel diminishing returns with the impression, in part because nothing’s going to sting quite as much as ‘I can see Russia from my house!’ from the Palin/Hillary sketch (click here for the NBC video), in part because Palin almost seems to be copying Fey at this point, rather than the other way around.”

SNL’s producers knew “this election year was going to be a boom time,” said Joal Ryan in E! Online. “The show pushed up its season premiere to mid-September to get in as much election material as possible prior to the Nov. 4 balloting.” And, starting Thursday, SNL is going prime-time with the first of three half-hour Weekend Update specials.