You've heard me blather on and on about this silly little (awesome and beloved) show called Friday Night Lights. Some of you listened; some of you snerked. And since the show returns tomorrow, and since there's very little else on right now, I figure this is just about the most perfect time to try and convert you all.
So, since you're sick of my incessant FNL yammering, I'm going to step aside and let my partner in crime Jennifer Godwin share with you a few reasons to watch. She's a spankin'-new convert who's just seen the Lights....halle-freaking-lujah.
Hi, all! Jen here. Let the word go forth from this time and place: I shoulda listened to Korbi. She kept telling me she felt more for the characters on Friday Night Lights than the characters on just about any other show on her impressive watch list. I didn't listen. It won't happen again.
Further to the point of my foolishness, this summer, when I met Zach Gilford—who plays shy, stammering quarterback Matt Saracen, aka QB1—and confessed I hadn't seen his show, he said simply and modestly, "Do you like good TV? If you like good TV, you'll like Friday Night Lights." I didn't listen. For that matter, I didn't know that when I was at a party with Taylor freakin' Kitsch, that I was at a party with Taylor freakin' Kitsch. He was standing right there. Silly me. Ah, little did I know then that Korbi was spot-on and that Zach Gilford was almost right, because as a matter of fact, if you like good TV, you will love Friday Night Lights.
Last fall, our intern (bless her) IM'd me a link to the premiere, which was available online early. I wasn't paying attention, I just clicked and sort of expected to get a brief preview clip, maybe a trailer. By the time I got five minutes into season two, episode one, so help me, I was in. God bless whoever put that premiere online. And then I went back and watched season one, and now I've got my husband hooked on the show, too, and it's pretty much the leading reason we look forward to Friday nights at my house. Yes, it's true, we're dorks, but that doesn't change the fact that Friday Night Lights is amazing, addictive and just awesome.
If you haven't caught up with Friday Night Lights yet, I want to assure you that, yes, it is the most heartfelt show currently airing on TV, but no, it's not odd or unfamiliar or avant garde in some painful, unwatchable way. Trust me, Friday Night Lights is not the weird thing you fear, and it's not about a bunch of pompous jerk jocks. (Okay, Smash is a little pompous, but this show is not a paean to jock culture.) In fact, Friday Night Lights (which comes back to NBC Friday at 9 p.m.) has a little bit of everything else you've ever liked about TV.
It's funny, smart and relatable, and just so you know what you're getting into, I've whipped up a little character cheat sheet, so you know what you're getting into...
1. If You Like Ryan Atwood, You'll Love Matt Saracen: Do you like your leading men scrappy and smart? Then Matt Saracen's your guy. Like The O.C.'s Ryan Atwood before him, he's basically an orphan who's forced to take the weight of the world on his shoulders at an all too young age, but he bears the burden with a quiet sense of humor and an inner strength that's downright dreamy. With the help of a newfound father figure—be it Sandy Cohen or Coach Eric Taylor—he might just be able to save us all.
2. If You Like Lorelai Gilmore, You'll Love Tami Taylor: Tami Taylor and Lorelai Gilmore are both the definition of the modern MILF, but there's more to these ladies than their looks. Their maternal brilliance manages to outpace their considerable beauty. The supportive and understanding Tami (like Lorelai) is not just a mother to her own precocious daughter, but with her bonus servings of empathy, she ends up parenting most of the town's wayward youngsters—and a few of the adults—and does a hell of a job of it. We should all be so lucky to have a Tami in our lives.
3. If You Like McSteamy, You'll Love Smash Williams: If Dr. Mark Sloan on Grey's Anatomy rings your bell—because there's something about a man so confident and talented having to still struggle with himself and with loneliness—then you'll want to check out the equally great work being done by Gaius Charles as Smash, the team's star receiver and the gifted, only son of a struggling mother. He's got arrogance to burn, but when he reaches the generous limits of his gifts, he often finds himself unsure where to turn, and you'll love watching him dare to reach out.
4. If You Like Sawyer, You'll Love Tim Riggins: Do you like your boys sexy, troubled and self-destructive? Are great hair and a soft, gooey center also desirable? If so, you're probably already a fan of Lost's Sawyer. Then consider sharing a beer with Dillon Panthers fullback Tim Riggins, another ne'er-do-well who is clumsily yet compellingly bumbling down the path toward redemption. Brooding and gorgeous, Riggs is flat-out irresistible.
Carole Segal/SCI FI
5. If You Like Starbuck, You'll Love Tyra Collette: Are you a fan of crazy, slutty, half-broken blond girls with more potential, promise and innate talent than the next 10 men in any crowd? If yes, then you'll love Tyra Collette. Like Battlestar Galactica's Starbuck, she's on the unstable side. Like Starbuck, Tyra's been known to drink and screw to excess, but she's hilarious and ambitious and brave and lovable—not to mention, like Starbuck, she can (and will) totally kick your ass. (So, watch her show already!)
6. If You Like Jim Halpert, You'll Love Landry Clarke: Do you live and die by Jim Halpert's passion for Pam on The Office? If you like your men devoted, decent, funny and warm, we'd love to introduce you to young Landry over here. One of the most reliably and organically funny characters on television, like Jim with Pam, Landry finds himself madly in love with Ms. Collette. We promise, you are gonna want to be there when she tells him she loves him back. (So, start watching now!)
7. If You Like Joey Potter, You'll Love Lyla Garrity: Once upon a time there was a beautiful, raven-haired princess. She was raised to be very, very good, but sometimes she just wanted to be...herself. Like Dawson's' Joey, Lyla Garrity is an exquisite young woman who's going through the difficult process of becoming not the person she thinks she should be but the person she was meant to be, and it's a heckuva thing to watch.
8. If You Like Angela Chase, You'll Love Julie Taylor: Ah, teendom. Frankly, it bites, and it's usually boring as hell for spectators, but occasionally there comes along a bright-eyed young thing who turns the tedious ennui of youth into something beautiful. Once the "apple of her daddy's eye," Julie Taylor's recent internal struggles remind us of how My So-Called Life's Angela Chase, also 16 and also conflicted, was so persistently real, personal and just plain fascinating.
9. If You Like Ephram Brown, You'll Love Jason Street: Remember Ephram Brown from Everwood? Gifted and charismatic, yet shy and the definition of a gentleman? In Jason Street, meet his brother in spirit. A brilliant, natural-born athlete, Jason hasn't let his wheelchair slow his journey from a good player to a better man.
The Carsey-Werner Company
10. If You Like Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, You'll Love Coach Eric Taylor: Oh, Coach, we love you so. Like Cliff Huxtable (you know, the Cos), Coach is a model citizen who loves his family and his work and who makes it his work to build children of all ages into the strong, generous adults they need to be. Half softie, half hardass, Coach is nothing less than a cross between Dr. Huxtable, Abraham Lincoln and, say, your favorite deity. Seriously, on a small-town scale that doesn't demand afterlife administration or slave-freeing, he's that fabulous. And you have to meet him before you can call that blasphemy. He'll change your life in all the best ways.
Tune in Friday at 9 p.m. on NBC and shake the man's hand, won't you?
(P.S.: Regular viewers, in tomorrow night's ep, you can look forward to Riggs hanging out with baby Gracie, some not-homicide-related Tyra-Landry angst and, last but not least, what is surely the best brawl ever. Be there!)
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