Friday, December 10, 2010

10 Reasons Why I Love Friday Night Lights (season 1)

Over the summer I began watching Friday Night Lights (FNL) and I finally finished season 1 today. Here are 10 reasons why I love this show.
10. Its Real (as real as TV can be)
While FNL is a show there is something so real about it. It seems more like a documentary of a real town than a scripted show. The characters and their relationships, the dialogue, the football games all feel so true to life. It makes the show about a town nothing like anywhere I've ever lived extremely relatable.
9. Footballl as a backdrop
Yes the show is about football, but it is not all about football. The show uses football as an overlying theme; a way to connect the diverse characters and their narratives. Even being a girl who knows little to nothing about football, the dialogue of football talk never bothers or confuses me, it adds to the realism of the show. Plus the games are truly spectacular. I always find myself (stupidly) wondering if the Panthers will pull out a win in the end (in the whole season they only lost once). The Mud Bowl episode was especially awesome with the characters sliding around in the mud and the State game was of course inspiring.
8. Filming methods
The almost documentary style filming of FNL is very well done. It adds to the feelings of reality of created in the show. I love the use of  the handheld camera with its close up shots and quick zooms. It puts the viewer right into the action. Long shots of Texas landscapes and empty locker rooms establishes the setting. Besides being beautifully shot they help to create the environment that the characters inhabit. Closes up shots on the characters' faces as the enter the field before the big game say so much more than words ever could. The little shots of hand holding and feet touching also are just little things that reveal so much of the characters' relationships.
7. The fact that I cried during every episode
 Every episode. Some more than others. I  happy sobbed when Riggins' dad showed up to his game for the first time, during the cuter moments that take place in the Taylor family, and when Matt's dad came home from Iraq. I sad cried during Jason's injury and some of the numerous breakups. Rarely have I had such emotion evoked by any TV show.
6. Coach Taylor's speeches
Clear eyes, full hearts, can't loose. Such a beautiful sentiment, it gets me every time. Plus every pregame speech Coach Taylor inspires his team not only confidence to go into battle, but deeper themes about ways the players can make themselves better people. You can tell this guy really cares about his players. He demands respect and a definite level of quality from his players. Dillon Panthers are the best period.
5. Bigger themes 
FNL like I've said before is not about football. There have been episodes on race, class, family, bipolar disorder, steroid use, and paralysis. Each episode is better than the last and brings about great moments for discussion. The idea of the family as developed in the show is one of the most important themes. I love the multiple ideas of family represented from the Taylors who seem to represent the ideal and the numerous unconventional family structures. And the family made up of the team and the separate families created with the groups of friends.
4. Jason Street
When Jason got hurt in the first episode I thought he was done for. I love how they have let him stick around for the entire season. I really love the development of his character from the hot shot quarterback to a man of real substance. And his relationship with Lyla, no matter how flawed, grows and changes in a very real way. I loved seeing him learn how to adjust to life in his wheelchair and making new friends with whom he can relate.
3. Tim Riggins 
Need I say more?
But for reals, I am a sucker for the bad boy with a heart of gold. He is so wounded and misunderstood. I love the changes his character goes through in the season and the relationships has with his father, brother, and Beau. The females in his life cause problems but I do think he has good intentions. And he and Lyla had some serious chemistry, I feel that there is still more their story.
2. Relationships between the characters 
I love the different groups and their relationships. I was extremely happy when Street and Riggins reconciled near the end of the season because their friendship I feel is so important to the show. I'm always a fan of the bromance (hence my love of war films...but I digress) and I love the relationship of the team and how they grow as a unit throughout the course of the season.
1. The Taylor Family
I want to be a part of the Taylor family. The relationship between the mother and father is one of the sweetest I've seen. I love the power of the mother and the deference of father, they balance each other perfectly. The mother/daughter and father/daughter relationship are also so cute and pure. I love how they talk about things to work out problems and they seem to genuinely care about one another. Very TV but at the same time very real. And I hate that I keep saying real but for me that's what FNL is, a representation of real life.
And I can't wait for season 2!