17 January 2007

Review: Friday Night Lights

Yeah, I did see some music last week, but nothing worth writing something about that nobody's gonna read, so in the interest of doing something different (that nobody's gonna read), I'm going to review what is now my favorite TV program: Friday Night Lights which is on NBC at 8pm on Wednesdays (i.e. tonight).

The quality of this show is like something you'd find on HBO: realistic characters where there are no clear cut "good guys" or "bad guys" -- everyone has their flaws and their strengths; multiple story arcs that reach across episodes or kind of stew for a couple weeks like they might in real life; top notch production values with a sort of hand-held documentary-style camera work that may be a little cliched but definitely works within the framework of the show; and lastly a great soundtrack through and through (you had me at Iron & Wine).

Ostensibly, the show is about a high school football team in the parts of Texas where high school football teams are the center of the universe. (the show is based on the movie which is based on the book). But, as with any quality programming, there's a lot more layered in there. Somehow this show has been able to fold in narratives about disabilities, steroid use, college recruiting, Katrina refugees, domestic battery, the Iraq war and its veterans and a whole slew more without a single one of these elements feeling at all forced. It's pretty amazing, these are things that I've never seen in a TV show and it's pretty much 100% compelling. I can only hope they haven't fallen for the "let's cram every possible story line in the first season" trap that leaves the ensuing life of the series to the rest of the more vanilla love, sex, high school social structure, friendship, small-town politics, lower-middle-class economics storylines that are already in there.

This is TV for men and women -- yes there is football, although not an overwhelming proportion of it, but since these are high school kids, there's a whole slice of 90210 at its essence, not the least of which are impossibly attractive women from top to bottom and actors that probably had their prom in the mid-90's, but also including the lead male working at a burger joint.

Anyway, I can't recommend this show enough and despite the fact that the stories are ongoing, I don't think it would be that difficult for you, interested reader, to pick it up. To make it even easier (and to fend off cancellation), you can watch every episode in its entirety online here, and I believe there are some links somewhere in there where you can just watch a quickie catch-up summary. I'd hate to see this thing get bounced around the lineup and then disappear or outright cancelled before it really has a chance to spread its offense out.


SuperDee said...

that is enough of an endorsement for me to set my dvr right now

Emmie said...

well i would like to check out the Friday Night Lights program ... it seems pretty interesting from your post... thanks for sharing all the information here... u can sometimes drop by My Blog as well .... hope u will find it interesting...!!!