Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Friday Night Lights to Go Dark

The underdog story ignites the fire smoldering underneath the trigger finger placed delicately on our TV remote. We seek it out with rapid fire, pulsing pushes of the channel up or down, or running page by page through our digital guides. At last the search ends with Friday Night Lights – the epitome of underdog story from all angles.
The main cast of Friday Night LightsImage via Wikipedia

Entering its fifth and final season on NBC, Friday Night Lights encompasses the passion of a fighting chance. The story of course focuses on a high school football team, riddled with the drama that goes along with competing in a high school football state in a high school football country, while also highlighting the dramatics of just plain high school.


Friday Night Lights really covers it all. It’s one big coming of age story, with dashes of sex, violence, race, religion, ignorance, family, and love. All of these aspects kept this little show afloat through five seasons of constant rumors of cancellation. This show never should have made it this far, but because of some generous and, dare I say, understanding folks in the TV world, Friday Night Lights glowed for four seasons strong, and is about to hit the field for its final drive.


The critics have raved about Friday Night Lights since it began five seasons ago. The problem has been the low viewership and ratings, which has no bearing on the quality of the program, nor has it affected its ability to stay on TV. It’s a unique story, told in a unique way and as a show has traveled through a unique path. At points DirecTV stepped in underwriting the series. In fact, the fifth season has already debuted on DirecTV, and the DVD Box Set that includes this final fifth season came out for sale in front of the broadcast debut on NBC. Don’t blame NBC for this, as much you might want to with their recent Conan debacle. This was a prime show to send to the dark vaults where good shows go to die because they didn’t get along with the other cool shows on the schedule.


Make no mistake, Friday Night Lights is a cool show. The strange irony of the show’s exterior popular jock focus combined with the unpopular kid at the table by himself metaphor that represents the show’s withering ratings success is a fine example of how backwards the TV industry can be these days. Nonetheless, Friday Night Lights is a testament to the current system churning out a few feel good stories, and despite how few and far between they might be, it’s rewarding to catch one when it comes along. The last season of Friday Night Lights could be bad, but it’s a fifth season that never should have happened, so let’s give them a standing ovation whether they win or lose as they walk off the field.