Friday Night Lights Season 1

Friday Night Lights Season 1
How do you sell a small-town Texas football show that’s neither about football nor a Texas small town? That’s the challenge faced by NBC, who’ve kept this critically acclaimed drama on life support, hoping that critical adoration can finally translate into finding an audience. While its setting and premise offer up some heavy viewer expectations, what comes out in the football and high school drama is some weighty, compelling drama concerning the fictional small town of Dillon, Texas. The actions of the first season are set in motion when star quarterback Jason Street (Scott Porter) suffers a severe spinal injury, putting him in a wheelchair, jeopardising his relationships with best friend/troublemaker Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) and girlfriend Lyla Garrity (Minka Kelly) while upending the lives and expectations of sophomore quarterback Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) and coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler). As families deal with tragedy, the town of Dillon doesn’t relent on its sky-high expectations for its high school ballers - that tension brings out all the drama: how the team’s teenagers live up to the overreaching dreams of the town’s adults; how the on- and off-the-field challenges are met (or not), and the impact of this pressure on Taylor’s wife and daughter. The football scenes are remarkably shot and constructed, and as pointed out in this DVD set’s "making of,” the cameras consistently maintain a distance that gives the show its documentary feel and dramatic openness. The naturalness of its performances and relationships is what makes Friday Night Lights such unusual, and unusually good, drama. Given its improv feel, there are a slew of deleted scenes that hit the cutting room floor, and almost every episode here has at least a few minutes of compelling extra footage. Though based on a successful novel and feature film, Friday Night Lights hasn’t reached the mainstream (or even cult) audience it deserves. While low-rated but acclaimed shows like Buffy, Battlestar Galactica or even Jericho have a clearly defined niche audience that can mobilise support, sadly there isn’t a ComicCon for compelling, mature, intelligent drama. If there were, Friday Night Lights would be its Superman. (Universal)