I'm from Texas, so maybe I'm biased toward shows that play to my Southern sensibilities. And, no, I don't mean guns or football. And although this critically acclaimed show is built around Texas football, Friday Night Lights is really about the relationships that build you up and tear you down.
Don't let the football theme fool you. Yes, many episodes feature the sport, but the show uses it as a vehicle to explore friendship, class and racial differences, love, responsibility, and personal growth. Football also serves as a convenient way to tie the characters to one another, many of whom are players on Coach Taylor's football team. Players, and their family members, coaches, boosters, and rival teams comprise the gamut of characters that orbit the game, which provides a plethora of rich material to explore.
And this brings us to the heart of the show: Coach Taylor and his wife Tami. No matter the issue, no matter the emotional turmoil, every character on Friday Night Lights can depend on the strength and guidance of this core couple. They provide the stability and support that many of these seemingly broken characters need. And it's with the same discipline and integrity with which Coach Taylor rules his football team that he attacks the problems life brings to his players, friends, and family. With their heartfelt portrayal of these characters, it is no great surprise that Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, who portray Coach Taylor and Tami respectively, were (finally) recognized for their talents with Emmy nominations last year.
Friday Night Lights has also launched the careers of Scott Porter (The Good Wife), Zach Gilford (Off the Map), Taylor Kitsch (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Minka Kelly (Parenthood) and Adrianne Palicki (Legion). Unfortunately, all these actors have moved on to other projects, but the last couple of episodes promises the return of a few Friday Night Lights alum.
Now in its fifth and final season, Friday Night Lights is on Direct 101 and will eventually air episodes on NBC. Remember, clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!