Friday, January 16, 2009

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts... It's BACK!

Oh, how I love this show. I cannot stress enough how much you NEED to be watching Friday Night Lights. First, there was the book, based on a Sports Illustrated writer's experience in a small Texas town and their unhealthy obsession with football. The town has decried the book, claimed he made a lot of it up, several of the players have moved away and confirmed that yes, the stuff he claimed actually happened, and the guy won the Pulitzer for it. Then it was made into a movie. The movie was OK, but it lacked a lot of the oomph of the book. And then along came the television series. The first season was one of those critical darlings that had an audience of three. Then the first season DVD came out, priced at around $25 (it's still that cheap... BUY IT) and new viewers like me came on board. I watched all of season 1 in the week leading up to giving birth, and during labour -- I'm seriously not lying -- my husband would yell, "Clear eyes, full hearts..." and I'd respond, "Can't lose!" Well... until the contractions got to a breaking point. Then I responded by pouring the pail of ice chips over his head.

Season 2 was a difficult one. The show had fought for salvation, with NBC having it on the bubble for cancellation. The thing working in the show's favour: the NBC executives LOVE this show. So it ran for a second season, until the Writers' Strike stopped that one. The season was put off until season 3, which we weren't sure would happen. We were left with Smash breaking down in the locker room after being off the Panthers and having very little chance of ever finding a college team after he was charged with assault because a guy made racist remarks against his little sister. Tami and Coach were dealing with him returning from the university where he was about to become a star, and coming to Dillon to rejoin the Panthers and focus on his family. Jason Street was with a girl for one night and makes her pregnant. He believes this is a miracle, and begs her not to have an abortion. Tim is kicked off the team, ends up living on couches because he doesn't have a place to stay, but manages to get back on the team by the end of the season. Landry and Tyra accidentally kill a man who was trying to rape her, and cover it up, but they're found out by the end of the season and let off. The season had its ups and downs, but something seemed to have been lost between seasons 1 and 2.

But fear not: season 3 is KILLER. To save the season, NBC shared broadcasting rights (and cost) with DirecTV, allowing the small network to broadcast season 3 through the fall, and NBC would begin airing episodes tonight (tune in to NBC at 9pm). I adore this season. Street is a father, Tami is the principal of the school (which causes a lot of fun moments between her and the school's head coach, nudge nudge), Tyra is a disaster who is trying not to be one, Saracen's grandmother is becoming more difficult for him to handle on his own, his mother comes back into the picture (and it's Cassidy from Lost... she keeps Clementine a secret from Saracen somehow), Lilah and Riggins make a go of things, and the story of Smash takes an unexpected turn. There's a new character who comes in partway through the season, and at first I wasn't sure how to take the guy, but his story becomes immensely fascinating really fast (as if the writers knew this might be the last season and they had to round out this storyline). There are laugh-out-loud moments and times when I was weeping like a baby. Each week.

You will not be disappointed by this season. Here's praying they can find it in their hearts to give us one more.


Anonymous said...

Isn't it going to be on at the same time as Dollhouse? Which should we root for?

I'm already watching Flashpoint in that slot. When did Friday get so busy?

Jennifer said...

I love FNL so much. I grew up in the south, so it's like I knew all those people. Can't wait to see Cassidy! :_

Jim Wood said...

Riggins is playing Gambit in the next X-Men movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Here's the trailer.

Nikki Stafford said...

redeem: I say watch FNL, PVR Dollhouse... no wait. Other way around. No... hm... either way. Just watch both. ;) Or get timeshifting or something. It's worth it. Honestly.

Jennifer: I've been wanting someone from the south to post on here about FNL! Do you think it's an accurate depiction of the football craze in the south?

Blawger: Thank you!! I was just saying to my husband last night (as we were watching the finale of FNL) that I saw Riggins was going to be in a superhero film and then I couldn't remember which. Watchmen? No... Spider-Man... no. A Batman one? No... I know he plays a card shark... argh. So thank you for that trailer. That looks WICKED.

Ronald Helfrich Jnr. said...

You can watch both FNL and Dollhouse on hulu whenever if you live in the States. I really don't like Flashpoint (though I could only make it through two episodes so I suppose I shouldn't make a blanket statement). I am really enjoying both FNL and Dollhouse thus far.

FNL is one of the few shows I have ever seen in the US that actually tries to reflect what middle and lower class lives are like. It is not Rosetta or Mouchette (European art cinema really explores fictional representations of poverty in a way US cinema generally can't and never will) but it is quite good and quite an achievement for US TV.

Ronald Helfrich Jnr. said...

Really impressed with the third season thus far. The choices we make.