Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday Night Lights

Other than sports, the Daily Show/Kolbert, "Mad Men" and "Family Guy" I don't watch much TV. But there's one show I think Wire fans would like, or at the very least appreciate.

NBC's "Friday Night Lights" has been, like "The Wire," a critically acclaimed and little watched program. It is about the travails of a team and their fans that live and die on their fortunes in fictional Dillon, Texas. Like "The Wire," the show has won a Peabody Award (awards issued for excellence in radio and TV broadcasting issued by the Univ. of Georgia - they do a great job of singling out great shows).

The subject matter is vastly different, the teen romance drama often gets annoying, but in its focus on regional mores it is aesthetically similar to the show. I have written in the past about how one of the great attractions about "The Wire" is its "regionalism" - it's ability to capture the mores, customs and language of a particular area. You usually hear this term to describe Flannery O’Connor and other Southern writers but its applicable to anybody who is able to capture the area they are writing about in such fullness. “The Wire” does for Baltimore what Raymond Chandler does for Los Angeles, what Dennis Lehane does for Boston, what “The Maltese Falcon” does for San Francisco: it lends the place a sense of mystery giving it a sense of place. It makes the place come alive by lending a sense of immensity to the unique details of the particular city.

Likewise, "Friday Night Lights" does a fantastic job of portraying conflict, ambition and daily life in a world far away from the happy-go-lucky cosmpolitania usually portrayed on the small screen. Life in hard scrabble towns like Dillon do not get much play on networks or in popular culture. The show has a little-known ensemble cast with a superb lead actor (Kyle Chandler) playing the paternal central figure of Coach Taylor. It is an earnest and serious show that deals with serious topics. It's fourth season starts at the end of the month but it's worthy of being placed at the top of your Netflix queue.

Watch the first episode at the very least. The first ten minutes of that first episode are expertly made.


Blogger warmislandsun said...

I found this show in its second season. It is one of the best on television. The acting is superb.

10:43 AM  
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