Friday Night Lights Season 2
hear a secret? Friday Night Lights is the best teen drama that you have
never seen. Actually that needs rephrasing, as “teen drama” brings
connotations of crappy soaps where never ending cycles of beautiful
people sleep with each other. Friday Night Lights is one of the best
dramas on TV that you have never seen. Some may be put off because it
seems to be another teen drama, but it is much more than that. Some may
be put off because they think it focuses on American football, and is
therefore not of interest. It may feature teens, and it may revolve
around a football team, but it is so much more than that. Friday Night
Lights is one of the most realistic, well written and thoughtful dramas
on television right now, and deserves attention. The second season
continues following the trials of the Dillon Panthers, and while it may
slip up just a little, it is still a very strong season.
those that haven’t seen the first season, Friday Night Lights concerns
the Texas high school football team the Dillon Panthers. The cornerstone
of the series is Eric Taylor, the coach who faces immense pressure to
bring success upon a small town that live for their high school team.
Among the football team are Matt Saracen, the benchwarmer thrust into
the limelight when the star quarterback is injured, Tim Riggins, the
bruising beer swilling full back from a broken home and loudmouth
running back Smash Williams, whose arrogance is only topped by his own
talent. If this all sounds a bit cliché in premise, it is pulled off
wonderfully in execution. Whether it involves the awkward fumbling of
teen dating, struggles at school, or the crushing feeling of never being
able to be anything more than a former high school football star, it is
all handled deftly. The writing staff has crafted a believable group of
teenagers, and more importantly given the older cast members plenty to
do. Coach Taylor and his family have plenty of their own issues,
punctuated by the early season plotline of Eric’s new coaching job, a
few hundred miles from his wife and his newborn daughter. Other plots
concern Smash dealing with incoming scholarship offers, Matt Saracen’s
increasing feeling of abandonment by those that love him, and Tim
Riggin’s increasing tendency to make the dumbest personal choices
available. These scenes are given greater weight by the impeccable
performances of the young cast, who will make the viewer feel for them
even when they veer into unlikable territory.
are only two problems with the second season, and one was completely out
of the showrunner’s control. That would be the writing strike that took
place a couple of years ago, which cut most season’s stories very short.
This is no exception with Friday Night Lights, as the second season ends
on an oddly incomplete note. With only fifteen episodes this time
around, a lot of plot threads are left dangling by the end, and not in a
season finale cliffhanger kind of way. The other problem is the
incredibly silly subplot involving two characters that takes a real show
about a small town, and turns it into Beverly Hills 90210. It is highly
unnecessary, drags on way too long, and then is mostly forgotten about
subsequently. Thankfully it doesn’t take up too much space, but the
whole thing could have been handled much better.
from the second season slip ups, Friday Night Lights remains one of the
best drama’s on television. The terrific writing is backed up by some
great understated performances that are sadly overlooked come Emmy time.
It is also one of the better looking drama’s on TV, shot in a
documentary style that really captures the intimacy of the small town.
There are no special features, but that shouldn’t stop anyone. Throw out
any preconceived notions of what Friday Night Lights is, and just sit
down and watch it. You will not be disappointed.