Talking Television and Values.

Archive for the ‘Friday Night Lights’ Category

Friday Night Lights Are Out

Posted by Travis R Grant on October 25, 2006

I gave Friday Night Lights a chance. I wanted it to be a success, and honestly for the most part it is a lot better than I had expected.

Kyle Chandler does a far better job playing the role of a coach than I thought he would. He is truly a diverse actor. The trial of balancing coaching and family comes through well, and for that I like this show.

The sense of community in this program is excellent. From the annoying unofficial team sponsor and back seat coach in Mr. Garrity to the senile but loving grandmother who loves to see “my boy” playing football in Mrs. Saracen, the characters are diverse and entertaining.

I am particularly fond of Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) and his struggle to be the first-string quarterback on the number one high school football team in Texas. This all happened to the kid that was always considered to be a distant second string, but was thrust into first string position due to an accident involving the star. I want Matt to succeed and I believe that the writers will make it so. However, I will never find out.

I want to watch the fight that Jason Street (Scott Porter) makes has he tries to overcome his paralysis. Jason was the star quarterback that was hit during the first game of the season, and severed his spinal cord so that he will probably never walk again.

I am interested to see the romance between Matt and Julie Taylor (Aimee Teegarden), the coach’s daughter, develop. Julie hates football players because they are stupid jocks who are interested only in popularity, in her mind. However, I will never know if they get to know each other better.

I will not watch my favorite characters develop because I have turned the show off. As I mentioned when I previewed the show, I would turn this off if teen sex was portrayed.

While specific portrayals of teenage sex weren’t shown, there have been at least two allusions to teen sex. In the first episode, Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) was woken up with a hangover by his then girlfriend, Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki), who appeared to have slept overnight at his house. In this most recent episode this same Tim Riggins found himself making out with Lila Garrity (Minka Kelly) in her bedroom. The scene ended with them reclining on something, and I can only assume it was her bed.

Teen sex has always been a kicker for me. I was too patient with the program. But I am done with it now. Too bad, because it is actually really quite well written and well produced.

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Friday Night Lights Shines With Some Dim Moments

Posted by Travis R Grant on October 4, 2006

As I have commented in the past, I was both excited and hesitant about yesterday’s premier of Friday Night Lights. I was excited because I was looking forward to seeing Kyle Chandler back in a starring role. I was hesitant because I figured that this show would be a miss when it came to production. But bigger than that, I was nervous that this show would push the line when it comes to values.

Chandler did a great job. We can see that Coach Taylor is a strong, silent personality that will guide his team by example more than by yelling. I think that he will do a great job. He will be different from most coaches we have seen on television before. That will add to the nature of this show.

I was concerned as I watched this that it was moving too slowly. And honestly the first 15 minutes were tiring. However, it really picked up after the game started. It became a very intense and wonderful half hour of television.

As I have admitted in the past, I am not a football fan. However, this show managed to put team support, love of the game, and rooting for the losing team high on my list for at least that half hour.

However, my second major concern with this show is still aching at me. This episode managed to show teens in situations were it appeared that there was drinking and sex.

Don’t get me wrong both of these things happen in our society. However, television glamorizing it doesn’t help these huge moral and health problems. Television used to have an unwritten no-teen-sex policy.

The only saving grace and the reason that I might be watching again next week will be because Coach Taylor managed on two separate incidents to let the teens know that this wasn’t going to happen on his watch.

The first incident was when Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) came to practice half drunk. Coach put him through the wringer. He let him know what it feels like to be the other team’s whipping boy, by having some tackle practice with Tim as the tackle dummy.

The sexual incident was simply Coach’s walking between a couple that was getting too close during a community party celebrating the up coming first game of the season. Both of these were a little too subtle for my tastes. However, I also think that they are very fitting for Coach’s character. I look forward to further such interventions.

I haven’t committed to this show for the whole season yet. These concerns of mine are still there, and based on next weeks episode preview, I might be writing a different article next week. However, I like it so far. I just hope that NBC doesn’t lose me next week.

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Fall Preview: Friday Night Lights

Posted by Travis R Grant on August 15, 2006

There is one show that I am really looking forward to this season.

I can’t wait to see Friday Night Lights. Not because I am a football fan. Not because I think it will be a critically acclaimed show.

No, I want to watch this show because after his role as Gary Hobson on Early Edition, I have been a Kyle Chandler fan. And I want to see how he plays this role.

I honestly couldn’t see Chandler playing the role of a football coach. Other roles that I have seen him in just make it difficult for me to seeing him as a coach. Chandler doesn’t have the athletic appearance that Craig T. Neilson (Coach), or Denzel Washington (Remember the Titans) have. Can he pull off the part of a teen wrangling football coach?

However, as I viewed the previews that are available through NBC’s Website, I realized that Eric Taylor (Chandler’s new persona) is not your normal coach. He is a mentor, parent, guide, and so much more to a bunch of boys and their town.

In Friday Night Lights, Taylor is a recently hired high school football coach in Dillon, Texas. Dillon is a small town where football is the heart of the community. Thus, Taylor has a great burden on his shoulders. He is expected to win, but he has a larger goal in mind and that is to turn these young men in to men of character.

This character development aspect is where this show has great potential. It could be the American story of our day. This could be the show of the real American Dream, and I don’t mean getting rich playing football. This could be the story of the American dream of family, progress, freedom, and happiness. This show has the potential to be Middle America celebrated.

However, it could also be Middle America derided, Middle America mocked, or Middle America shamed. Based on the fact that this show is a follow-up to the movie by the same name and produced and directed by the same producer/director, Peter Berg. I am afraid that this show will end up being a grave disappointment for me. While I haven’t seen the movie, I am aware of many teen sexual situations from the movie that would have lead me to walking out of the theater. So, I am equally afraid, that this show will result in the demise of the remote control.

There is one simple thing that makes me think that I need not fear. The time slot (8/7 central) has been traditionally reserved for more family friendly fare. Television is changing, so this may not be the case, but I still have hope.

I am looking forward to watching Friday Night Lights. I am looking forward to seeing Chandler back as the lead character. I hope that this show portrays a positive message about America, small towns, and old-fashioned values. But knowing the direction of television and teen relationships, I fear that this will be a disappointment.

Posted in Drama, Fall Preview 2006, Friday Night Lights, Previews, Television, TV | 1 Comment »