If you haven’t heard of the fantastic NBC series Friday Night Lights, I wouldn’t be surprised. This show is one of the best, and quietest shows of all times. When I say quietest, I mean it’s a sleeper hit. It’s a show that universal acclaim from critics in 2006 when it premiered, but it didn’t have the audience to match it. However, I was one of those people who watched the first episode on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006. I remember being excited for this new drama on NBC, when the network was in the midst of trying to rebuild itself from overcoming a disastrous season without its flagship comedies Frasier and Friends, and without creating a new hit the previous season.
Why would a guy who has no cares in the world about football fall in love with a drama series that focuses on high school football in Texas? Because this show is absolutely phenomenal.
This show is far from being JUST about football. It’s about family. It’s about friends. It’s about small town life in America. It’s about believing in something that brings people together. It’s about football.
This post isn’t going to recap this great series, it’s about seeing if you watched this show from the beginning. If you were a true fan, or if you heard about this show from the select few people who watched it from the beginning, then fell in love with it later on. Myself – I’m in the first category. The first season of Friday Night Lights was rocky. Not in the sense of storytelling, or trying to find its groove throughout its first season, like so many other freshman shows, it was all about its ratings. I would watch each episode, and fall in love with what was happening on the screen, knowing in the back of my mind that the next day, I would see the ratings for the show, and the ratings wouldn’t be good. Each week, the ratings would get worse, edging closer and closer to cancellation. What could I do? Just sit back and enjoy this great series as much as I could, until I knew the fate out the series in May. Renewed, or cancelled.
The show lasted for five amazing, and unbelievable seasons. 4 1/2 more than I thought it would (I loved the show and wanted it to succeed, but with its ratings, I was amazed it survived 13 episodes).
The move from NBC to DirecTV, a move that saved this show from an early cancellation, and gave die-hard fans like myself a guaranteed 3 more seasons to enjoy this magnificent show without the fear of being pulled from the airwaves without any notice. Without a chance to say goodbye to our favorite people from the small, close-knit town of Dillon, Texas. This guaranteed 3-year renewal from DirecTV, which was unprecedented at the time, gave fans like myself the security that Friday Night Lights would be seen through the end, just like it should rightfully be.
Like I said earlier, I’m not going to recap the whole 76 episode, five season series here. That would ruin it. If you want to watch, the show is currently on Netflix. However, I did want to do this for all the TRUE Friday Night Light fans. The ones who watched for day 1 on NBC. The true fans who went through 2 possible cancellations, one television writers strike, a network change, major cast changes and multiple award snubs.
The true fans got the last laugh in the end. Finally, an Emmy nomination for Best Drama Series, Best Actor (Kyle Chandler), Best Actress (Connie Britton), and Best Writing in a Drama Series (Jason Katims) for the series finale “Always.” Not only did we get the 4 nominations for its final season, we also got the surprise win for Kyle Chandler, walking away with the Emmy after 5 deserving, but overlooked years.
Even though I watched all 76 episodes every week from 2006-2011, I could – and probably will – watch every episode all over again, and I would still feel the same way I did when I was watching originally; inspired, emotional, and amazed. Watch the first episode, and you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about.
Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.