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Friday Night Lights: Post-Game Speech April 26, 2007

Posted by showstalkers in Friday Night Lights.
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When “Friday Night Lights” debuted Oct. 6, 2006, I expected to like it. After all, I’m a huge fan of both the 2004 movie and the book that inspired the show. What I didn’t expect, however, was to fall absolutely in love with it.

The pilot knocked me out of my seat. The acting, writing and directing (handled by Executive Producer Peter Berg, the man responsible for the film) were uniformly amazing. From frame one, I was hooked on the story of the Dillon Panthers, and I can recall having chills during the pilot’s conclusion.

And then something impossible happened: It got even better.

It’s true. With every new episode, “FNL” continued to grow as a series. It never rested and always found a way to surprise us. Just like real life.

That’s an apt term to use here: “real life.” “Friday Night Lights” is as close to actuality as anything in entertainment. The dynamic between Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and his wife, Tami (Connie Britton), is reason enough to tune in. They are by leaps and bounds the most realistic and, quite frankly, adorably honest married couple the screen has to offer.

And then there are the kids. In a combination of an endlessly able ensemble of young actors and note-perfect writing, the teen characters are an unending pool of depth and range. They’re entirely real. They do things kids do and their motives are completely understandable for 17-year-olds. They do not speak with “Dawson’s Creek”-fake intellectual vocabularies, which is completely refreshing. They’re just kids and we believe them.

While the acclaim for the show has been universal, the viewership has not. Unfortunately, the numerous accolades have not translated into solid ratings.

Now, with season one at a close, the future seems a little bit hazy for our Dillon Panthers. Personally, I feel comfortable in our chances of renewal. It’s certainly not a touchdown by any means, but we’re not at fourth and long, either. I’d say our chances are 70/30, leaning towards the likelihood of a Season 2. In addition to a fiercely loyal fan base, “FNL” has another surprising cheerleader on its side: NBC.

The peacock network is continuing to become a benchmark for quality in broadcasting, and suitably, execs apparently love “Friday Night Lights,” which makes me want to go to New York and do back flips around 30 Rockefeller Plaza. NBC knows that with patience, shows of high quality can become ratings successes. Take their approach with “The Office,” for example.

If only they could get the uninitiated to believe that it’s not a football show. It really isn’t. It’s a show about families.

And it’s a show I can’t imagine not seeing next year.

Truth be told, I don’t know if it’s possible for “FNL” to top its freshman season. But I certainly think it deserves a chance to try.

Thanks for keeping up with the column this season.

— Stalked by Charlie Cox

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Comments»

1. Snarking Dawg - April 26, 2007

I hope they renew. That show is outstanding. Great post

2. chongky - March 6, 2008

I haven’t gotten a chance to catch the show, but i’m a great fan of the movie. Nevermind if there’s no football where i stay. That display of sportsmanship and the spirit is the same in every sports.

Cheers,
Terence


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