Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Friday Night Lights

Are you watching this show? No? You should be.

You probably think the show is about football and maybe you don't like football so you think you won't like the show.

It's not about football. It's about people--as all great books, movies and plays are. And great television too. There IS such a thing as great television, as HBO has taught us (see exhibits: Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire and Deadwood). There is great network television too. And I don't mean Lost (not knockin' it, it's just not what I mean).

Watching an episode of Friday Night Lights a couple of weeks ago, I thought, "The relationship between the father (the coach) and his daughter is the best thing in this show." Then I realized that in a show ostensibly about teenagers, the adults were fully realized, sympathetic characters. How rare is a show where BOTH the adults and the kids are treated like full human beings? All of the adults in this show have flaws and good points. One father, who looks to be a philanderer, shows incredible compassion for his daughter when she's in a vulnerable position. Another set of parents have to defend their decision to sue the school and the coach to their paraplegic son (injured during a football game in the first episode). Eventually, the son takes his parents' side, but it's not an easy thing.

The show is set in small-town Texas, a world that is rarely featured on TV. The characters come from different classes, which is also unusual since most network tv is unrelentingly middle-class. It's also racially diverse, but there seem to be precious few Hispanics given that it's set in Texas. Maybe it is realistic, but I can't say.

If you haven't seen the show yet, give it a try. It may only last this season--the network keeps moving it around on the schedule and the rating are low--but you can get caught up on all the past episodes via the INTERNET. How awesome is that?

Oh, and it doesn't hurt that the coach is played the man who, if had a type, would be my ideal: Kyle Chandler. Sigh.

Now showing on Wednesdays at 8pm, NBC (Channel 4 in DC).

Grateful for: good tv.

Drop me a line.

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