Please ignore the trailer above. It's for some glittery CW show that we don't recognize. The first two episodes of Friday Night Lights season five, on the other hand, are exactly the kind of authentic Smithsonian-worthy television that we first fell in love with four years ago.
The original cast of FNL is all grown up—even Landry and Julie are off to college this year—but the greatest American heroes, Coach Eric and Tami Taylor (Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton), are still doing God's work to save wayward children, and the children in question continue to be fascinating studies in metamorphosis.
So, if you need another reason to get DirecTV besides the fact that those mooks at Dish Network are screwing you out of your weekly Sons of Anarchy fix, here are five reasons to watch FNL season five when it premieres on the 101 Network Oct. 27 at 9 p.m.
The New Kid: "You're in Texas now, son. You love football, you just don't know it yet." So sayeth Coach Taylor to the new kid in town, a hippie named Hastings Ruckle played by Grey Damon. We hope to bring you more about Grey later this month, but for now let us assure you that he's not only gorgeous, but his well-traveled boho perspective is a great contrast to Dillon's usual small-town insularity. And he's gorgeous.
God Bless Taylor Kitsch: Who woulda thunk it? The Riggins boys have joined Buddy Garrity (Brad Leland) and the Taylors as one of the "grownup" anchors of the show, even as the high schoolers of Dillon and East Dillon grow up around them. (If you have any doubt that "it gets better," by the way, just take note of how quickly TV characters vanish from the halls of high school!) Billy (Derek Phillips) joins the East High coaching staff in honor of incarcerated Tim, who continues to languish (prettily) in prison. Coach doesn't quite know what to make of Coach Billy, but he also knows that some of his kids need to stay in the nest a little longer than others. (Remember Street's season as an assistant coach?)
Tami's Many Daughters: Even as Julie Taylor (Aimee Teegarden) confidently drives off to college, breaking Tami Taylor's heart, the world's greatest guidance counselor discovers a whole new population of wayward teen girls in need of salvation. We're particular intrigued by her no-nonsense management of one messed-up kiddo named Epic, a damaged young lady who reminds us of Benny Ciamarello's Santiago from season two.
Lord Have Mercy: Jurnee Smollett, where have you been all our lives? We can't quite bring ourselves to watch her on The Defenders, but damn she's amazing as Jess Merriweather. Easily the show's most dynamic character since Adrienne Palicki's Tyra exited the series.
Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose: We don't want to give too much away about this season's football storyline, but let's just say that we're thrilled about Coach Taylor's newly rediscovered ambition. In the first two episodes, there are quite a few shots of the "Dillon Panthers: 2006 State Champions" sign at the edge of town, and we think that might be a hint. Wouldn't it be wonderful to end the series it began, with a bunch of kids who usually live the most prosaic lives imaginable finding the strength within themselves to create their own football fairy tale?
Hey, we're allowed to dream, aren't we?
Will you be watching FNL when it premieres on the 101 at the end of this month? What's your favorite FNL memory from seasons' past? Hit the comments.