Friday Night Lights

Friday Night LightsSometimes the world of television surprises me.  Usually, the shows are just regurgitated crap but every once and a while a truly grat series appears, prospers and is on TV long enough to get their message through to the end.

Friday Night Lights is one such series. Ostensibly a show about a small town football team in the fictitious Texas town of Dillon it really is more than that.

It really is an exploration of a football coach’s relationship with his high school team and their relationship with each other and their fellow students. It’s about the love between the coach and his wife, a guidance counselor at Dillon High School.

It’s about adversity. The Dillon quarterback, Jason Street, is paralyzed in the first game of his senior year and the series follows his rehabilitation for some time as he struggles with his paralysis.

It’s also about growing up in Middle America. At the end of the series the coach’s daughter tells another character who is off at college that it’s only when you leave Dillon do you appreciate how nice it was growing up there.

In the course of the series the coach, Eric Taylor, takes his team to one state championship at Dillon High School and a second one at East Dillon High School. In the process of doing so the town is split over the reopening of East Dillon on the poor side of town. All of the issues with splitting a student body mostly along economic and racial lines are explored in episode after episode.

This series was never a big audience attraction but it did receive numerous awards. The show appeared on a number of best lists and was awarded a Peabody Award, a Humanitas Prize, a Television Critics Association Award, and several technical Primetime Emmy Awards.

At the 2011 Primetime Emmy Awards the show was nominated for Outstanding Drama SeriesKyle Chandler and Connie Britton also scored multiple nominations for the Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress awards for a drama series. Executive producer Jason Katims was also nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. Both Chandler and Katims won the Emmy in 2011.

Now showing on the Pivot Network it would be well worth your time to record the episodes and watch them in order. My wife and I watched several episodes at a time. She told me that she was sad when they were done. When have you last heard that about a television series.

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