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Saturday, October 06, 2007
TV Round-Up
Friday Night Lights: Last Days of Summer
I was excited to hear that the ratings services are finally going to start counting the numbers of time-delayed shows in the final ratings. Hopefully that will help Friday Night Lights as it moved to the night in the title of the show. Because, let's face it, this could be one of the most time-delayed shows on television.

Now, I'll admit I saw the season premiere a few weeks ago thanks to the streaming video on Yahoo. But I still watched it again last night out of solidarity to the show. I'm not a ratings family, but if I was, this show would be number one.

I will say that headed into the second season, I was kind of worried. The show was brilliant last year and I wondered if the show could continue that brilliance into a second season. Or would it be just a one-season wonder?

Well, with the exception of one plotline, so far so good.

Let's just get that plotline out of the way first. Now, I'm all for the potential of a Landry, Tyra relationship. And up until about the last five minutes of the episode, I was loving every minute of it. The confusion on Landry's part about putting the lotion on Tyra's back and calling Matt to see if and how he should make a move while watching Fried Green Tomatoes with Tyra...every last part of that was great. But what didn't work was the plotline of her attacker from last season stalking her and then attacking her again outside the convenience store. I think this is a place where the eight month gap didn't work in the show's favor because it seemed like this came out of left-field a bit and was put in to get us to the melodramatic moment that happened at the end. When Landry attacked the guy and ended up killing him, I will admit I rolled by eyes a bit. That seemed a bit melodramatic for a show that has been so grounded in reality and realistic situations until now. I'm willing to cut the show a lot of slack to see where this revelation might take things, but right now it's got me kind of worried.

But beyond that, it was all good. I won't even get into the nitpicking that some players should have graduated by now, based on what I thought we established last year as to age-ranges. Instead, I'll look at what was good.

I have a feeling there was a lot of things being set-up here for this season to explore. Lyla's new found religion (her pious prayer before dinner was a riot), the potential rift between Julie and Matt and how the town reacts to the new football coach. It's interesting to go back and watch the pilot from last year and hear how the town seemed to be reacting to the new coach in much the same way, though Eric Taylor went out of his way to shake some hands and win over the goodwill of the community. So far, the new guy seems to be alienating everyone, including Buddy Garrity. Banning Buddy from practice and calling out Street for being friends with Riggins..not exactly Eric Taylor territory. I have a feeling that should the team lose, the new coach will be called under scrutiny faster than Eric Taylor was...and let's face it, Eric is now a legend in the town. Having won the state championship and left to follow his dream, he's now the stuff of legend. It should be interesting to see how the new coach tries to measure up to the legend of Eric Taylor, who in a few weeks will be parting the Red Sea and walking on water in the town's estimation.

Meanwhile, things aren't well in the Taylor home. Eric's been MIA for eight months and the strain of it is showing. Tammy doesn't take the news well that Eric has to go back to Austin sooner than expected after the birth of baby Grace. The scene between the two as Eric tells her and Tammy breaks down...it just shows you what a crime it was this show got no Emmy nods. Just give them the Emmy for that scene alone...brilliant. And these two can say more in a look than some actors can say with minutes of dialogue . But, back to my point.

We also see the strain Eric's being gone has put on the family in terms of Julie. Again, I will say it--the father/daughter relationship between Eric and Julie is one of the best on TV. It should be interesting to see how Julie will react to the new baby and the fact that she's no longer the only "daddy's little girl" in the Taylor house.

I did find it interesting the parallels the show gave us between Eric and Buddy. We see two men, both of whom love football. Seeing how high a priority these two place on it in their lives is fascinating and it's interesting that when Eric needs a place to escape after disappointing Tammy, he goes to see Buddy.

So, Friday Night Lights is back...and except for one small misstep, I'm very, very pleased with where season two has started. I can't wait to see how the rest of the season unfolds.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/06/2007 10:11:00 AM | |
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