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Saturday, July 16, 2011

The End of "Friday Night Lights"

The last episode of Friday Night Lights aired last night on NBC. The powers that be at the network expanded the show to fit a 1 1/2 hour time slot, though truth be told they did so to sell more ads, as it didn't seem that there were more scenes.

The last 10 minutes were really all you needed to see, and they told us that Tami and Coach Taylor moved to Philadelphia (a tip of the cap to the author of the book by the same name, H.G. "Buzz" Bissinger, who is from the City of Brotherly Love; Tami incongrously after being a high school guidance counselor in Texas is going to be Dean of Admissions at a Philadelphia college, while Eric, fresh off another state championship, is coaching a high school team in Philadelphia). The Riggins brothers reconciled, with Tim opting not to go to Alaska but to build a house on the land he bought a few years back (with money he earned from helping his brother carry through on his idea of running a chop shop to support his family, and, when the authorities came a-calling, it was Tim who took the rap for his brother so that his nephew would have a father in his home). Tyra returned from college, still attracted to Riggins, but determined to make her way out of Dillon into a new life (although the ever-romantic/seductive Riggins said that he hoped their paths would mesh again). Matt and Julie are together again, in Chicago, where Matt is in art school and Julie presumably will be in college. Landry made a cameo appearance, home from Rice. The town of Dillon formed a "super" team to combine the teams of the two high schools to save money, and Vince is the starting QB, while Tinker has a spot on the team, as does Buddy
Garrity, Jr., and it looks as though Coach Taylor's assistants at East Dillon are running the show for the Panthers. Meanwhile, Vince's co-star, Luke, is back with Becky, but then he ups and joins the army and catches a bus out of town. That means that Becky is along, again.

Got it?

This was one great TV show, even if it didn't get the ratings. You don't have to take my word for it -- take the Associated Press's. My wife really doesn't care much for football, but the show riveted her because it was about a town and a community, about individuals with many virtues and flaws, living life, taking steps forward and backward, but in the end coming together because, well, that's what community is all about. We learned about the Riggins' brothers struggle to grow up without a mother and within an absent, alcoholic father, about the tenuous hold even a successful coach has on his job, about the difficulties raising an artsy daughter in a football family, about Landry's being a brilliant kid in a town where football takes priority, about Luke's quest to get off the farm, and about Vince's struggles given that his mother is overcoming an addiction and his father just got out of jail. We see the hurt that Buddy feels when the Panthers abandon him after they jettison Coach Taylor in favor of a puppet that the father of the star quarterback controls, we see his estrangement from his family after a bitter divorce, and we see the differences between two sides of a town. What we see, or what we saw, in essence, was life playing out, sometimes fairly, sometimes not, but we also saw the power of the individual to make a difference by believing in the power of rebounding and trying harder the next time.

This was a special series. Buy all 5 seasons on DVD. You'll get so hooked from the first episode you'll watch endlessly until you've watched them all.

Thanks, Peter Berg, Jason Katims and the cast and crew of Friday Night Lights. Coach Taylor, Tami, Riggins, Matt, Landry, Lila, Tyra, Billy, Mindy, Julie, Buddy (for whom Brad Leland should have garnered and Emmy nomination) and relative newcomers Becky, Jess, Luke, Buddy Jr., Hastings, and, of course, Vince (as well as Vince's mom and dad) as well as those from years gone by -- Jason, Smash, Smash's mother (whom Liz Mikel did an excellent job portraying) -- as well as some of the unsung actors who played Levi, Mac, Coach Crowley, Coach Spivey and, of course, "Slammin'" Sammy -- you guys were just plain awesome.


Blogger james gossett said...

I just read your review of the end episode of FNL, and agree with your sentiments. Well said. It was the only show on television that never caved to caricature. It will be missed.

11:51 PM  
Anonymous said...

I really like the review of the sport matches in "Friday Night Lights"" I really like NBC channel !

9:14 AM  

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