Thursday, March 26, 2009

Friday Night Lights: ...But is This a Good Thing?

Looks like Friday Night Lights is about to get a big two-year renewal, continuing the partnership between NBC and DirecTV.

It's a big deal. If it happens, it will be a huge testament to the willpower of the fans, who have never given up on this show, even when it looked like cancellation was on the horizon. It means this show, which eked out a back-nine pickup in its first season, would have a five-season DVD boxed set (at least). And that's a big deal.

On the one hand, I'm thrilled.

There is nothing on television as good as Friday Night Lights. No, seriously, nothing. I love me some Lost, but if FNL had a smoke monster and a red-hot will-they-or-won't-they, I'd be dumping Jack Shephard like a hot potato. Friday Night Lights may not have a love quadrangle and a really good mystery, but its depiction of small-town Texas and what goes on there is unparalleled in terms of honesty, realism, compassion, and heart.

I've only ever cried twice at Grey's Anatomy, but I think I've gotten at least a little teary at just about every episode of FNL this year. And not because it's sappy--quite the opposite, actually.

It's so honest in its portrayal of these characters and I'm obsessed with every single one of them.

But there's a part of me that can't help but get worried about these next two seasons.

Because, y'all, Matt Saracen's a senior, and is hopefully going to college. Landry's going to college. Lyla's going to college. Hell, even Riggs is going to college. So what gives?

What is next season going to look like without the Panthers? Yeah, the show's about more than football, but the team gives everyone something in common.

I think there are two ways to look at the show, and depending on how you look at it affects how you might conceptualize the next two years.

One is with Matt Saracen as the center of the show. He's the link between the Taylor family and the teenagers. He's the one from whose eyes the show is seen, having been brought into the fold of high school football in the series finale.

The other is with Eric Taylor as the center of the show. He's a Texan everyman, who happens to be in a small spotlight in Dillon, Texas. He's stable; the show can continue indefinitely as long as his story doesn't radically change.

I tend toward the former.

But in the end, I'm really just glad to have more Friday Night Lights. The show needs to continue long enough for Matt and Julie to get married (probably too young, but they'll figure it out) and for Buddy Garrity to run for Congress. Yeah, that needs to happen.

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