Serial Watcher – Friday Night Lights – episode 1-22

I’ve got mail. Joe Scala writes:
” One of the things I love about FNL is that not only does it have a lot of heart but a real sense of authentiscity. Matt is probably the most realistic teenager on television, Coach and Tami have a mature, realistic relationship and all these characters feel like people you know in real life. In its own way, FNL reminds me of another one of my favorites, Freaks and Geeks. I loved F and G and it was another show with honest characterizations and situations. I never thought I’d find a show quite like it when it was canceled but I’m glad to say I found it with FNL “

I couldn’t agree with you more Joe. Friday Night Lights has been what has seemingly become a dying breed an honest, realistic, authentic show. The biggest hits on TV are crime shows, action adventure, supernatural or overly dramatic (Such as Grey’s Anatomy, 24, Lost, CSI etc.) and it seemed as if no one was doing a small drama, where the audience could feel like he knows the characters and relates to them. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lost and 24, but I won’t treasure them like I do FNL. It’s not just American TV; it’s the same with Israeli or British TV as well. Give me Doctor Who, Torchwood or Life on Mars any day of the week and I’ll be a happy watcher, but if I’m stuck on a desert island, I’d rather have Cold Feet (Even though it’s been off the air for years). And like Joe wrote, Freaks and Geeks was another one of those show. I can only hope that FNL will have a much longer run, even though the NBC bigwigs still haven’t made any announcement regarding a second season.

So, what did our beloved Panthers do this week? Why, they went and won themselves a nice state championship. Just like everything they’ve been through, it wasn’t easy. The news of Eric’s new job surfaced the day before the game and naturally threw everyone into a tailspin. Voodoo tried to get Smash to take a dive (Though it was never said specifically) and join the Mustangs in the next season, but Smash remained true to Dillon. They started the game very weak, trailing 26-0 at halftime. But they came back in a big way and overcame an injury to Smash’s shoulder to win the game in the last minute, thanks to a Matt Saracen who came up with the winning play and executed it to perfection.

On the home front there’s also drama for the Taylors, as Tammy found out she’s pregnant the day before the game. Eric, upon hearing that, was willing to give up his dream job at TMU and stay with her and Julie in Dillon, but Tammy, after hearing his speech the previous night, about how much it means to him, won’t let her husband do that. So as the episode and the season ended, it looked as though Coach Taylor is leaving the Panthers, following a standing ovation from the players in the locker room.

Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton were the stars of this episode. I know that they do an excellent job each and every week, but this week they truly shined. They expressed the Taylors’ relationship in an exceptional way, through the surprise pregnancy, the nerves both had about the game and their future, to the end where he wants to stay and she doesn’t want him to sacrifice his dreams. Eric had some great moments, especially his three monologues one at the dinner, the other in his talk with Matt and the third during halftime. In fact, his halftime pep talk wasn’t just for the Panthers but also for the viewers at home. The people in the stands were the home audience and they believed in show itself and supported the show, not just the Dillon Panthers. During the season Kyle Chandler has progressed from acting the role of Eric Taylor to being Eric Taylor, and he’s simply amazing. I know that by singling him (And Britton) out I might not give the other actors and actresses their due props, but in an amazing ensemble cast, they’re the leaders of the pack. That’s why I’m certain that if there’s a second season, they will stay in Dillon.

But that’s a big “if”, since NBC, as I mentioned earlier, hasn’t announced its plans for the show. I assume that the writers didn’t know what the future of the show is either, since they didn’t leave a big question hanging over the show like a cloud. Sure, there’s the question of whether or not the Taylors will move, but all in all, we got a sense of closure. The Panthers started the season rough but were able to rally together and win the championship. If the show ended this week for good, the final scene of the players applauding Eric is a fitting end. If it didn’t? There’s still where to go.

I think that over the past couple of months I’ve used every superlative in the book to describe Friday Night Lights. Yet I still feel like I didn’t praise it enough. It was, at least in my eyes, the best new show of the 2006-7 season and one of the best shows on TV overall. The fans of FNL can only wait in anticipation to NBC’s official decision about the show. And unless NBC has lost its mind, it should be a renewal. So long Dillon Panthers, have a great off season.

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