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Friday Night Lights Season 2 DVD Review - -

Feature 8.5
Video 8.0
Audio 8.0
Special Features   0.0
Total 8.0
Distributor: Universal
Classification: M15+
Minutes: TBA
Reviewer: Jamie Kirk


Friday Night Lights Season 2

Wanna 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.

For 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.

There 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.

Apart 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. 


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