Post-Friday Night Lights Depression


[Melancholy Sigh]

You guys, I finished watching Friday Night Lights this week. (You may remember me starting this journey a few months ago here.)

And, as you know if you have had the privilege of watching those five seasons, I am now suffering from Post-Friday Night Lights Depression. It feels like I've lost something--or someone, and even though I had an appropriate farewell before it happened, it still hurts, you know?

As part of my healing process, I wanted to share with you my thoughts as a first-time FNL viewer closing this chapter of life.

I'm not sure where to start, because how can I boil my 5-year immersion in Dillon, Texas to a mere 500-800 words?

Out of respect for your time and eye fatigue, I suppose I will go with a list:

  1. I am more invested in the East Dillon Lions than any other (actual) football team on the planet.
  2. I would vote for Tami Taylor or Eric Taylor for President any day of the week. If they could tag-team it, that would be ideal.
  3. I adore Tim Riggins (still), and I can't really blame a girl for trying (ahem, Becky).
  4. Landry & Tyra 4-eva.
  5. I read something on Facebook recently from someone who said the show is "almost too real to be scripted," and I agree wholeheartedly. At times I couldn't believe they were acting. I love that they talk over each other, have lines with no plot consequence (like Coach ranting about being out of milk while Tami argues with Julie and ignores him), and that they don't always win the games.
  6. I originally hated Lyla, but I actually started being glad to see her when she came back from college simply because I felt like I know her and it was good to see a familiar face. Even though she's still KIND OF the worst. At least she brought out even more adorable qualities in Riggins.
  7. Mindy (Collette) Riggins became one of my favorite characters in the last couple seasons.I love that FNL developed formerly-minor characters like her, and it didn't feel at all forced.
  8. They ALWAYS kept the same actors, even for small parts or bringing back someone we hadn't seen in a while (Tyra's mom, non-essential football players, Devon, Landry's parents, etc.). The same cannot be said for other TV shows (looking at you, Boy Meets World. Topanga had three sets of parents.)
  9. The series finale was brilliant and gave me all the closure I wanted, which I appreciate. I like that they didn't stray from what we as an audience wanted to see in the name of being unpredictable. They updated us on everyone we were invested in and kind of dropped us off, waved goodbye and moved on to the next story, which unfortunately, we don't get to be a part of. Like we swooped down on this town 5 years ago, had the privilege of observing it for a while, then zoomed back out and parted ways, sadly but amicably.
  10. No one is perfect in this show. Not even Tami or Eric. I love that. When a character was getting into something they shouldn't, you didn't write them off, but you pleaded with them not to do it because you knew it would ultimately hurt them. I also love that even though they made mistakes, most of the characters have good hearts and find their way back to true north. I think that's how we strive to be in real life.

Bonus #11: The ONLY negative thing I could ever say about the show is the inconsistency from season to season. A lot of times it felt disjointed and we skipped so much time that it was hard to adjust. I'm sure that was easier when it was on the air and people weren't watching six episodes at a time on Netflix, but there it is. (I read an oral history of FNL that tells about how uncertain their future was as a show from season to season, so it makes more sense why that was the case.)

I could gush about FNL for another six blog posts, but suffice it to say, you guys were right. It is one of the greatest shows of all time.

Clear eyes, full hearts.

What's your favorite season of FNL? (Mine is 3 or 5)

A Beginner's Take on Friday Night Lights


So, the time has come. Time to begin my journey with the Dillon Panthers and Coach Taylor.

I haven't watched a drama in a long time. Probably not since I quit One Tree Hill after that whole Nanny Carrie debacle.

But after hearing Knox interject analysis and/or praise for Friday Night Lights at any slight opportunity in the TV Asylum podcast, I figured I ought to give this thing a shot. It's summer, y'know? What have I got to lose?

So we've restarted Netflix (after canceling it months ago due to its abysmal movie-streaming selection and the fact that we had DVR) and taken on Parks and Rec (season 2 and forward, more on that later) along with FNL*.

I've watched a total of three episodes so far. And since most people in the TVA community have probably already been through FNL, I thought I'd take some time to remind you what it was like to experience it for the very first time. Y'know, remind you of the good ol' days.

So here are my three initial assessments of Friday Night Lights:

1) The format is completely different from anything I have come to expect. The cinematography (can you call it that if it's TV?), the cutting-back-and-forth between simultaneous scenes, the rawness of the acting...it all comes together to create unique, fast-paced setting. The first episode was one of the most un-piloty pilots I've ever seen. They didn't waste any time. Which brings me to my next point:

2) FNL doesn't ease you in to its story. It doesn't utilize the first few episodes to introduce you to the characters, setting or otherwise. They're not gradually adding layers to characters. The layers are already all present. We're just catching glimpses of the layers, and I'm sure as the series goes on, we'll get longer glimpses to piece together.

It's like FNL simply drops you into a world that has already existed and will continue to exist after you leave it. Your watching it doesn't determine its existence. It's unaware it's just a TV show. Did I just get super deep? I think I just got super deep.

Anyway, to me FNL has been like moving to a foreign country speaking about 6 words of the language and having to pick it up really quickly in order to function. But I hear that's the best and quickest way to learn. Being lowered down into the chaos and trying to make sense of it. In no way am I saying this is a bad thing. I like it, actually. It's challenging. They're not waiting around for me to figure it out. I'm having to figure it out on my own, so I have to pay attention.

3) I'm a huge fan of Mrs. Coach. HUGE. Why? She's surrounded by the stereotypical southern fake-nice-syndrome book clubbers/committee members, yet she maintains her normalcy. She gets it. She's genuine. She knows these people are ridiculous, but she maintains her class. I want to be her friend and I want to punch the other ladies in the face just for existing.

I'm also a huge fan of Riggins already, and I have no idea why. How did they do that? He's this totally lazy drunkard "bad boy" kid. On paper he should repulse me. He probably would in real life. But I still like this guy. I got that he was simply misunderstood and had a hard life right from the get-go. I don't know how they conveyed that, but they did. And I'm a fan.

Who's your favorite FNL Character?

*Side note: I typed "SNL" by accident every single time I tried to type "FNL." This is going to take some getting used to.