a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Friday Night Lights

I've been watching the Season One DVD of this show, as part of my DVD-reviewing gig, one of the only DVDs I actually requested. Because I'd kept hearing that the show was good, but I hadn't seen a single episode.

It's great.

It's great in ways that are both easy and hard to quantify. One of the amazing things about this show is that, boiled down to a summary, there really isn't a whole lot going on: it's about a Texas town where high school football is the be-all, end-all of everything, and the 22-episode arc covers the whole football season.

At the same time, it's not really about football. It's about the characters in this town, whose lives might revolve around football, but they have other aspects as well. The coach, his family. The high school quarterback who is badly hurt in the first episode, his attempts to deal with his injury, the rippling effect that this has on so many people in the town.

Tonally, the episodes are dead-on. The detail of this world, of this town, the camera capturing the reality of it all, scenes that don't have to be filled with on-the-nose dialogue to bring across emotion.

The most refreshing thing about this show is that there are no good characters or bad characters; instead, everyone is real. No one is evil, no one is perfect, they are just human beings dealing with their lives, coping with the things that happen, making mistakes and dealing with the fallout.

This is where TV is a great medium. In film, you don't have the time to really develop and linger with characters like this, just being immersed in their lives. Film is plot, plot, plot.

This show has drama, but it can let the drama sprawl. It's not really a series of stand-alone episodes; randomly tune into an episode, and you won't appreciate the myriad of small character moments in previous episodes that are finally paying off in this one.

And that's probably what is going to doom this show. Because it is the kind of show that's hard to jump in on if you've missed it so far, and people who miss a few episodes might decide they've lost the emotional thread.

Hopefully not. And hopefully the DVD will help get people to jump on the bandwagon.

Worth seeking out, if you have the time and inclination.


At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Matt said...

Agreed. Probably the best show to come along the last couple of seasons.

At 9:37 AM, Anonymous bianca said...

It was one of the best new shows to premiere last season. But the very qualities you admire--the tone of the show, the realness of the setting and characters--is why a lot of my friends find the show boring. They don't think enough is happening. I hear the second season is planning to add more "drama" to get the ratings up.

At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree 100%. I love all things football, but pseudo-readed this show.

Wrong. I love it. I love it for it's lack of football, I love it for it's characters. I also need to love buying it as I missed a few episodes.


At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Matt said...

My hope is they don't dumb the show down (which means add unnecessary drama) to get more viewers. I feel that's what Veronica Mars started doing in the second season, and especially the third, and that show went down hill. Anybody that finds this show boring is somebody I wouldn't care to know.

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

Great show, we've watched it from the 1st ep. Thought it would be a lame version of the already great movie, but it can actually go further on TV with some of the stories. Love the Coach & his Wife, too, very real relationship.

It'll be interested to see where Season 2 goes.

At 8:59 PM, Blogger Allen said...

only watched the first was a while ago, so I can't be too specific, but I it was pretty cliche and shallow.

I hear a lot of people rave about the show though, so maybe I'll try and catch a few more eps....but I'm not too optimistic.

At 8:21 AM, Blogger suzbays said...

Years ago, after the book came out, I did my counseling practicum at the Texas Tech Counseling Center. Two of the student receptionists went to OP and were on the dance team. They were even mentioned in the book, I think. They, and the town, were pissed at the guy who wrote the book. He lived among them for a year and seemed to like the program; so they felt violated when the book came out. I guess nobody likes to be painted as obsessive.

On a different note, I'm turning into a football mom. Oy.


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