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Friday Night Lights: Season 1 (2006)

DVD Cover (Universal)
Genres:
Drama, Football, Prime-Time Drama, Sports Drama

8.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: October 11, 2007
This was one of those shows I was never able to catch on the television set. I was too busy with other things and always wanted to get around to seeing it. The show never really caught on its first season -- it has a legion of fans and followers, including most critics out there, but the audiences just didn't tune in. So, everyone just assumed the show was tossed. But, credit NBC for sticking with the show and giving it a second season order, delighting fans and critics alike. Season 2 just premiered last week and the DVD was released not too long ago, featuring all 22 first season episodes, most of them as golden as they come.

I am so glad I invested in this particular show, because it has turned out to be one of my favorite shows on television right now, and I don't have many. Kyle Chandler stars as Coach Eric Taylor, and the first season of the show follows his first season as head football coach of the Dillon Panthers. His wife, Tami (Connie Britton) is the guidance counselor at the high school, and his daughter Julie (Aimee Teegarden) is dating the new quarterback, Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford), after their star quarterback Jason Street (Scott Porter) is injured and paralyzed in the pilot episode. The first season follows an onslaught of characters, primarily the players on the team, including the loud mouthed Smash Williams (Gaius Charles) and the rebellious Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch), as well as the local supporters, the cheerleaders and members of the Booster Club.

What separates "Friday Night Lights" from all the other shows out there is just how unpredictable it is. You never know what's going to happen and it's constantly testing your patience in certain areas. The camerawork is very raw and very shaky, and some people have a problem with that, but I think it adds a grittiness and an intensity to the show, especially the football scenes. The show also features a talented assortment of young actors who will likely be rather huge after their time on this show. Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton are outstanding as the rocks of the show, and their dialog together seems so natural and so unforced, as does all of the writing. You really feel like you're getting a peak into the lives of these people. Zach Gilford is probably the biggest find of the show, as the sweet and unexpected hero, Matt Saracen, who goes from sitting the bench to starting as quarterback, who also takes care of his grandmother and has to juggle a job, a girlfriend and a dad in Iraq.

The first season features several marquee episodes. "Pilot", directed by Peter Berg, who helmed the film and serves as an executive producer of the show, is a fantastic way to kick off the show. It sets up the kind of documentary feel that the show has. Any of the episodes involving Buddy Garrity have a certain comedic charm to them, and he is one character that has really emerged as a favorite amongst fans of the show. The final episode of the season, where the team makes it to the state championship, is flawlessly crafted. But, other shows deal with everything from race relations at the school, when an assistant coach makes some comments that the community takes offense to; and everything from safe sex to attempted rape. A lot of touchy issues are 'tackled' -- no pun intended. "Friday Night Lights" is equal to all of them.

If you don't typically like shows like this, "Friday Night Lights" might just surprise you. It did me. I was not expecting much, since I hate football, but I was glued to every episode of this show. I watched the first episode of Season 2 and it looks to be equally as impressive. Give it a chance. It's worth it.
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