Why Didn’t Someone Tell Me About Friday Night Lights?

Note: This was the last season for Friday Night Lights, so if you want to see it now it will have to be DVD.

Friday Night Lights castOur latest Turn-on is a TV show completing its fifth season, thanks to loyal fans and universal praise from the critics. Like a reviewer for the New York Times, who likens its location in Dillon, Texas to another famous town:

Dillon is red-state America scaled down to “Winesburg, Ohio” dimensions and more poetically portrayed. The town revolves around the world of high school football, but its existential battle is elsewhere: what Dillon is always fighting is the disease of diminished expectations.

Friday Night Lights is delivered with the precision and manner of ethnography — it never condescends.

It doesn’t take much research to unearth the news that the show “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.”

football stadiumSo it seems that I’m one of the last people in on the planet to give Friday Night Lights a shot, and why is that? Because it’s about football, plain and simple. (Not a fan, never have been – sorry!)

But with the first season or two playing instantly on Netflix, I found myself tuning in and watching episode after episode in an increasingly addictive manner. It’s not about football, of course, but about life in a small Southern town, and about family life anywhere. Its unusual production methods – with no rehearsals, no blocking, no back lots and plenty of improvisation – result in the most authentic look and feel I may have ever seen on TV. Seriously.

So while I can understand my avoidance of this stellar show, why didn't any of my friends recommend it to me?

Susan Harris is a Washington, DC-based garden writer and blogger whose most recent online venture is  It’s all about what’s turning on Boomers nowadays – in music, technology, fitness, second careers and more.

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