Here are some of the reasons why Friday Night Lights is so exceptional -
- Coach Eric (Kyle Chandler) and Tami Taylor (Connie Britton) are the best married couple I've ever seen on television. They have about as equal a relationship as you could find - two strong characters who love each other, love their work, have a zest for life. They have more than their share of problems - as parents, in their work, from the world at large - but the courage and energy with which they step up and combat the bruising world is, well, an inspiration.
- Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) is a refreshing, authentic hero/anti-hero right up there with James Dean and Jeff Spicoli. Among his memorable activities, he freely dispenses sage advice to younger teammates Matt, Landry, and J.D. My favorite line from Riggins: "I always skip Wednesdays," about why he's driving around in his pick-up truck rather than being in school.
- Speaking of Landry Clarke (Jesse Plemons), you have a triumph of cool reason and intelligence over almost every obstacle. He even gets one of the two hottest chicks in the school, and you can believe it. And he has a not half-bad Christian heavy metal rock band, Crucifictorious.
- Realistic portrayal of racial issues is not unique to Friday Night Lights - The Wire still gets the prize for that - but Friday Nights Lights nonetheless has a perfect bead on the trials of African-Americans trying to break out of small towns via the vehicle of football. Smash Williams (Gaius Charles) in the first two seasons and Vince Howard in the latest season (Michael B. Jordan - a Wire alum) have stories that you'll never forget.
- Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) is superb in all the seasons. But he has an hour in the latest (4th) season which, trust me, is a tour-de-force of acting easily worthy of an Emmy. There won't be a dry eye in the house.
- Lyla Garrity (Minka Kelly - Derek Jeter's girlfriend in real life) and Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki) are gorgeous, but far more than eye candy. They're tough, savvy, vulnerable. Julie Taylor (Aimee Teegarden) holds her own, no easy job, sweet but strong, as Coach and Tami's daughter, and grows up beautifully before our eyes.
6-min podcast review of Friday Night Lights
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