#CurrentlyWatching: Friday Night Lights

I haven’t done an actual #CurrentlyWatching post over a year (I am not joking, the last one was back in 2018), so this should prove to you how important this show is to me. While I very much enjoy the short-opinion paragraphs I offer you in my “What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching” feature, I simply could not resist writing a proper full length post about Friday Night Lights. Yes, it was THAT good!

Friday Night Lights is a Football-centric sports drama series set in Texas that ran from 2006 until 2011 on NBC. Even before the show, there was a movie with the same title in 2004, however, the show is not a continuation, but the story told anew (names are different, etc.). I very much realise that I am super late to the party, but I don’t think the show ever aired in my own country and honestly, Football wasn’t much of a priority of mine until recently.

Friday Night Lights follows Football team at a Texan High School, with a special focus on the coach, Eric Taylor, his wife, daughter and a select number of players. The show highlights the struggles each and every member of this tight-knit community has to face.

I am not sure I have the vocabulary to describe how this show made me feel. A lot of people think that Friday Night Lights is a piece of flawless work of television, I do not agree with that statement. Do I think it is utterly brilliant? Compelling and emotional and addicting? Absolutely! But … it is not perfect and that is okay. Some characters fell victim to bad timing and writer’s strikes, some storylines never got resolved properly, but regardless, Friday Night Lights manages to reel you in, create an emotional connection and make this an unforgettable experience. I am not surprised that it has become a TV classic at all.

At first, I was unsure about the style. There’s mostly use of hand-held camera and extreme close ups that give the entire show a certain documentary-esque look. But after having gotten used to it, I found that these specific cinematographic choices added to the feeling of really being with the characters and in the moment yourself. After some time, you could almost think you are living in Dillon, Texas, yourself.

One of the massive strengths of Friday Night Lights is managing to create a universal appeal, despite a very specific setting and situation. I really am not a Football buff, but I was so invested in the outcome of these games. I literally jumped up and cheered or flailed in agony at a loss (to the dismay of the people around me) whenever the team played.

This show is about so much more than Football though. It’s also so much more than the artistic choices taken. It’s first and foremost about people. People you root and care for. Great storytelling that involves aspects of life that feel authentic and relevant. Not everyone is nice all the time, not everyone is perfect and not every conflict gets a satisfying resolution, but that is life. And life is messy and beautiful.

So, there are some seasons that are better than others, but if you look at the show as a whole, it’s really a piece of television art. I didn’t need them to pair everyone up all neat and nicely, but I did appreciate that we got a look at what was in store. At how the lives of everyone changed and how they were impacted by the relationships they formed in that small town in Texas.

Now, there are very many characters to love. Picking just one honestly feels a little bit like a crime. Obviously, Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) is an iconic character and so is his wife, as portrayed by Connie Britton. Both carried a heavy portion of this show on their backs and respect that to no end. They were the adult voices of reason and are 100% the kind of educators and support system I wish every child would receive in their academic career. Then there are so many fantastic characters on and off the field that brought me laughter and tears alike. I don’t want to go into too much detail in case anyone still wants to check it out or hasn’t seen it, but it all comes down to one thing: Looking at the five glorious seasons that I have just watched, the standout character for me remains Tim Riggins (portrayed by Taylor Kitsch).

While the team constantly changed and not even all adults stuck around, you get to follow Tim Riggins’ journey through all seasons. You meet him as a bit of a mess and watch him grow and change, while one thing remains – he cares so much about everyone around him! He was never after glory or recognition and I will never forget the one ultimate sacrifice he pulled, because IT. BROKE. MY. HEART. And yes, I went so far as to draw that very moment, because I am that extra.

Just thinking back to this moment, I get anxious for Tim.

Everyone sort of used Tim as their personal punching bags. He was called “useless”, “disgusting”, “unwanted”, “lazy”, “mediocre” and many more ugly words, while all I saw was a very lost boy. Kitsch was probably in his 20s when this was filmed, but all I could see was the fragility of abandoned youth. Someone who put everyone’s needs above his own. He wasn’t a perfect gentleman or anything like that, he made plenty of mistake and probably drank way too much, but he also had a certain nobility about him and he loved those around him unconditionally. Every time he was on screen, my heart broke just a little bit and while many wanted more out of the finale (which I kind of get but also not), I thought Tim was exactly where he was supposed to be, doing exactly what he wanted to do.

I can honestly say that I feel like this show has spoiled me for almost all other TV. I am nursing a huge hangover now, after I decided to watch the final episode on this very Friday. There’s just something poetic about ending it all on this day.

So, there is only one thing to say to finish this post:

Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.

Have you watched FNL? Do you want to? What is a show that has completely grabbed you lately?

10 thoughts on “#CurrentlyWatching: Friday Night Lights

  1. I can feel the hangover this show has put you in. You know I have a weakness for sport-centric shows and books, it’s why I loved One Tree Hill, and I have no idea how FNL slipped through my fingers when it first aired, but I love exploring the community that’s built around sports. It’s a fascinating dynamic in all of its highs and lows. I don’t think any TV show is ever perfect and I can see myself having to adjust to the documentary-esque look, but just by the way Tim Riggins has sunk his claws into your heart, I know we’re in for a stunning character journey, and I also love the supportive coach trope. I need to get onto this show and join you in this intense hangover.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will be with you ever step of the way when you watch it! I don’t think I can do the movie though, because people have said it was cheesy and I am just so used to this cast now … but for the show: I AM HERE! I just love them so freaking much and it makes no sense, but you really feel like you are part of their lives somehow.
      I love me some good sports dramas too. Never quite got into OTH .. (I did watch the entire final season, but other than that everything was rather sporadically), but Pitch, Make it or Break it, Spinning Out, Hit the Floor, GLOW and even All American (which I just started) are already embedded in my heart.


  2. AHHH TIM RIGGINS IS MY BABY!! He is for sureee my my favorite on this show! His character arc is the best, and it just goes to show how first impressions are not always what they seem. He truly has a heart of gold and you really see that in the later seasons! I also love Matt!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think Tim Riggins will have a fanbase for life! The way he kept sacrificing his own happiness for other people … it just hit home.
      But yes, Matt is totally a great character as well! I loved him too, but the whole back and forth with Julie was a bit annoying at some point haha Everything with his grandma and dad and mum and his relationship to coach was amazing though! He basically had the weight of the entire world on his shoulders. I couldn’t have done it all by myself the way he did.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your drawings (as I continuously drool whenever I see your drawings on IG)! I’ve heard of this show before you had mentioned your desire to write a football-centric story as well because this show but I’m glad to finally know why it’s so good hahaha The only football-centric show I’ve attempted to watch in the past because of other friends was Blue Mountain State but I never got around to finishing it hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Lashaan! I think I remember the name Blue Mountain State, but I never watched it … I do need something to get over this FNL hangover though, so I might look into it haha All American (a CW Football show) isn’t proving to work very well for me in terms of helping as a new TV distraction …
      I hope one day you will also be completely enraptured by a sports drama haha

      Liked by 1 person

      • If there are any sports dramas that I’d be hooked to, they’d probably have to be about basket-ball, being the sport that I practice and love the most. The recent Ben Affleck movie is a great example of what I’d want in my ball-centric TV series! 😛

        P.S. Blue Mountain State is quite extreme in humour/sexuality, just in case you don’t want to get into that kind of stuff hahahaha

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think the only Basketball show I watched was Hit the Floor and that was more about the pre-game dancers than the players … If you had said Baseball though!!! Oh boy, I wish the whole world had watched the show “Pitch”. It’s my favourite.

        I tried like 2 minutes of Blue Mountain State and yeah .. it’s not my thing haha

        Liked by 1 person

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