The Velocity of Stuff Stuff and Nonsense

19Jun/10Off

The Other Football Season

Before I had any interest in football, I was a fan of Friday Night Lights. The book, the movie, I enjoyed them both. Then the TV series started, and I just wasn\'t sure about it. I saw the first episode, and enjoyed that, and I\'m not sure why I didn\'t really continue watching it, though it started in my pre-PVR days (or, as I like to call them, The Dark Ages), so I\'m guessing I missed a couple of episodes and just never really picked up the habit of watching it.

Fortunately, we live in the age of TV on DVD, so after seeing the first episode on a flight, I resolved to get caught up in time for season two. I figured I\'d enjoy it.

I was wrong. I loved it!

It\'s a mix of great writing, strong characters, beautifully subdued performances, and stunning camera work. Hell, even the opening theme gets me.

I\'ve always been a fan of the standard inspirational sports movie. You know the ones I mean. They\'re all pretty much the same, and the ones that don\'t star Kevin Costner probably star Dennis Quaid. Either way, whether they\'re based on a true story or not, the stories are pretty much identical, and they\'re absolutely ridden with clich├ęs. Not so in the case of Friday Night Lights. With the possible exception of the Tyra/Landry murder story, there hasn\'t been a clunker in the bunch.

The show is run by Jason Katims (Peter Berg, who directed the movie version is also involved), who I recognize primarily as the guy that brought the Roswell books to TV several years ago. He\'s also heading up the team on NBC\'s Parenthood, another show I love, because, like Friday Night Lights, it\'s all about the small moments. I generally loathe things that are remakes. It\'s a real problem in popular culture lately, and to me, it shows a startling lack of originality. That\'s not the case with either of these shows. They\'ve found a voice that is new, and original, even as it lives on the framework of something that came before. A lot of people in Hollywood would do well to learn this lesson.

A couple of years ago NBC cut a deal that allowed the series to continue. It\'s possibly the only smart move they\'ve made in the last 5 years. It works like this. DirecTV foots a portion of the bill, and in return, they get to air the show first. Once the season is over, NBC starts airing the show.

What ends up happening, for me at least, is that when May hits and the show starts its run on NBC, I\'m already kind of out of the habit of watching anything regularly. Truth be told, I don\'t watch anything when it actually airs anymore, so those two circumstances conspire to have me realizing, in the middle of June, that I\'ve accumulated 6 or 7 episodes. This leads to something I love, which is a Friday Night Lights marathon. That ends up being followed by the pain of having to wait for the last few episodes on a weekly basis, because by then, I\'m hooked again.

Tonight was the first part of the marathon, and there\'ll be another in a few days, and then the waiting will begin. I know that the show is coming back for a final season. I\'ll miss it when it\'s gone.

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  1. Completely agree with you about FNL! You know I love my teen dramas, but this one separates itself from all the others. It has real heart and sensitivity, with characters I’ve come to know and care about.


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