I need to urge anyone left reading this blog who did not watch Season One of Friday Night Lights last year to pick up the DVD set today. It's only $20 at Amazon for the 5-disc set, and it will not disappoint. In fact, if you don't like it, they'll give you your money back. Seriously! If you're staring down the television barrel of another month of The Two Coreys and CSI re-runs, this is a no-brainier. A few points...
No, it's not really all that much about football. You hear that so much that it's almost become the show's unofficial tag-line, but it's for the most part true. It's about people living in a town where High School Football is the most important thing going. It's an ensemble cast that focuses around the Head Coach's family, but spreads out to the families of several of the players on the team. But yeah...it's really about the families, not the athletes or the cheerleaders. Every character has to make tough decisions to balance their personal life and their football "career". Nobody has it easy. It's all quite gripping.
This is not an easy show to watch! These people, generally, have really tough lives. Like "holy shit how can they deal" lives. Every time someone catches a break, something else goes wrong. One example, a character gets thrust into a more prominent role on the team while balancing a minimum wage job and trying to take care of his senile grandmother by himself cause his Mom left them and his dad is fighting in Iraq. Yikes.
The football scenes are really good. Quite real. There were several times where they shoot a wide shot of a play developing and it looks like an actual game. I was literally on my feet in anticipation for these games, cheering along. I certainly care more about these scripted sequences than I will about this upcoming Giants season. It's almost acceptable practice to make sports laughably bad on TV dramas, and the extent they go to make these games feel perfect is quite remarkable.
Patton Oswalt recently praised the show on Pitchfork, putting it much better than I ever could. Read his comments if you're still not convinced. Everybody who watches this show not only loves it, but feels the need to get everyone else they know to watch it to share the brilliance. It's that kind of good.
The music on the show is really spot on. Aside from the regular Explosions in the Sky soundtrack playing throughout, the song selection is great. Gripping alt-emo-country stuff. The kind of songs you wish these characters would listen to when they're not on camera. Hearing these songs over the summer made me wanna watch the show again so bad. Some examples...
Brand New - Jesus Christ (mp3)