Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Recommend this product?
I am an avid television fan. It seems just in the past 5 years TV finally figured out how to take advantage of the particular strengths of its format, especially in contrast to film; more story-telling hours and the ability to tell truly ensemble stories . While most of my favorites have found their well-deserved audiences (Desperate Housewives, Lost), a few others have fallen along the way.
One of those low-rated shows just happens to be the best darn thing on air. Friday Night Lights is a truly beautiful show, bursting at its seams with pain and love. The show focuses on fictional Dillon, Texas, where high school football provides most of the towns excitement. The gridiron is god, and the town builds its high school football players up only to have little use for them when they graduate. While football provides the backdrop to the story, it is really just the device used to explore tensions of class and race, yearning and surviving, in a working-class town. Indeed, this is not a show about football. This is a show about community, about people.
I have started a mini crusade to get this show more viewers, and have succeeded in addicting 5 others thus far. I enthusiastically hand over my Season One DVD to anyone willing to give this underdog a try. I cannot recommend this show enough. Which is why it pains me to have to tell every one of my potential converts that it might take 6 episodes to be fully won over by the show. While a remote allows you to make instant minute-to-minute judgments on TV consumption, and even a DVD might persuade you to at least finish out the first episode, few people will venture beyond the first disc of a TV show they arent yet completely sold on.
Friday Night Lights is a slow build. Early episodes are admittedly slow-moving, and most of the characters dont fully materialize until halfway through the second disc. However, flashes of brilliance are evident in every one of these early episodes. The pilot episode brilliantly introduces us to best friends Landry Clarke and Matt Saracen. Landry has decided they should start talking to the coachs daughter, while back-up quarterback Matt has some reservations. Landry has never been much of a ladies man, but heck if thats going to stop him from trying. Looking more mouse than lion, Landry approaches Julie Taylor with his one conversation starter: Im in your English class. Julie responds with an uninterested OK and its here we realize that Landry has not thought this far into the conversation.
Landry: (nodding toward Matt) So is he.
Needless to say, the two are quickly, hilariously rebuffed.
Its impossible to talk about Friday Night Lights without mentioning its phenomenal cast. Kyle Chandler (Early Edition) and Connie Britton head the ensemble as Coach Taylor and his wife Tami. The two are absolutely convincing as members in a real marriage. They fight, they tease, but above all, they love. Never on TV has a married couple been so rewarding to watch. Kyle Chandler has charming crankiness down to an art, and Connie Britton imbues Tami Taylor with such maturity and wisdom that makes every moment of weakness absolutely shattering.
Zach Gilford, as the aforementioned Matt Saracen, also deserves to be singled out. He plays the sophomore quarterback who struggles to single-handedly take care of his senile grandmother while dealing with his recent rise to local stardom. In all his stumbling, mumbling glory, Zach injects his character with such touching sincerity, insecurity, and goodness that he spends the entire season breaking and healing your heart.
For all its critical acclaim, FNL has not been able to snag the ratings it needs to be a prime time player. Strong support at the network led to a surprise second season. And despite all conventional financial wisdom, rumors indicate that Friday Night Lights has a 99% chance at a third season. Do not ignore this series another year.
Bottom Line: Full Eyes. Clear Hearts. Cant Lose. A
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older