NBC’s Friday Night Lights has been through a lot both in front of and behind the camera.
The series itself never drew even modest ratings for NBC, putting it in danger of cancellation every season since it’s first, but surprisingly (and thankfully) NBC didn’t want the show to die off that easily. Enter DirecTV who first saved the series by co-producing season 3 with NBC and then hammered out a deal that would ensure seasons four and five.
The deal gave DirecTV the first broadcast window, allowing them to air the show on their exclusive The 101 Network before NBC would get its chance midseason.
Tonight marks Friday Night Lights‘ return to broadcast television.
Long time fans will know that things will never be the same in the small Texas town of Dillon. It is a new beginning for the entire town, and especially for football Coach Eric Taylor and wife Tami (played Emmy-worthily by Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton).
For new viewers, tonight’s season 4 premiere will feel like the pilot episode of a new series.
Friday Night Lights, which prides itself on realism, has seen the natural turnover for a series centered around high school after three seasons. And that natural and realistic turnover has proved to be an even bigger driving force in this 4th season.
New faces help add to the freshness of the series. Like Coach Taylor has to do, it is like starting all over again, and that is great for both long time fans and new viewers.
The premiere sets up a season that includes much conflict but also cause for hope. The qualities that made Friday Night Lights so emotional and powerful in its pilot episode back in 2006 are brought back for this season premiere and in the subsequent episodes.
There are some incredible performances through the season that just show what an intelligent, yet sincerely moving series Friday Night Lights is.
It bears repeating that Friday Night Lights is not just about football. It is not just a teen drama. It is not just about a small Texas town.
Friday Night Lights is everyday life, depicted beautifully and emotionally. It includes something for television fans of drama, comedy, family, sports, friendship, and romance.
While a ratings miracle is surely not going to happen for Friday Night Lights tonight (though Fridays have been as unpredictable and crazy as ever this year), that doesn’t take away from the quality hour of television it provides. Kudos to NBC for doing at least one thing good in the last few years. We have much to be thankful for, including what will be five inspiring seasons of Friday Night Lights.
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