Friday Night Lights

Our excellent film collection contains many fine television series in addition to feature films, documentaries, foreign films, and informational DVDs. One of the new series we have purchased is Friday Night Lights. Based on the 1990 nonfiction book by H. G. Bissinger, entitled Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream, the series chronicles the life of Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler), his wife, Tammy (Connie Britton), their family, and assorted members of the team and the town.

Although there was a 2004 film based on the book, it lacks the in-depth portrayal of the people Bissinger describes. Peter Berg, Bissinger's cousin and the film's director, said that "he regretted having to jettison many of the interpersonal topics covered in the book because of the time constraints of a feature film. Creating a TV series, particularly one based on fictional characters, allowed many of those elements to be brought back and addressed (fully)." (NPR Interview, April 11, 2007, as cited in Wikipedia.

Indeed, what is most engrossing about this series is the level at which the characters and their lives are explored. The angst of adolescence is sympathetically portrayed, as are issues such as racism, teen pregnancy, sex, alcoholism, and troubled families. It is not melodramatic, but instead, conveys these problems realistically.

Although the series revolves around the fanatic devotion of the town of Dillon for their high school teams, one does not have to be a football fan to enjoy this program. This reviewer has never watched a game of football in her life, and, prior to watching this show, did not know the difference between a quarterback and a running back. The series is less about the game than about the role football plays in the lives of everyone in the town.

To quote Wikipedia, "(Friday Night Lights) was awarded a Peabody Award, a Humanitas Prize, and a Television Critics Association Award, as well as several technical Primetime Emmy Awards. At the 2010 Emmy Awards, Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton were nominated for the Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress awards for a drama series." If you are looking for a series with fine acting, a good storyline, and terrific filming, check this one out.

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