Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Friday Night Lights

A few things about Friday Night Lights, which I finished watching recently.

- I appreciate the fact that one of the main characters is a quadriplegic, apart from Joe in Family Guy, and that hardly counts, I feel like we never get to see handicapped characters as main characters in shows, and his recovery process I found very interesting in and of itself – of course, watching it in real time, would be monotonous and boring, but spread over a couple of hours, it becomes fascinating.

- I like the way how each main family of the show is different, both socioeconomically, and in the family structure and personality – in a lot of ways, this is something evident through the show, and it’s kind of a show of representation – each character, while being built upon and deepened gradually, seems to represent a certain type of generic person – the self-obsessed star, the snobbish, sheltered cheerleader, the drunken, dumb fullback. They both represent their types, and build upon them, showing some complexity rather than sticking to the roles that they’re laid out in, yet at the same time making it believable within the character.

- Yes, the show definitely gets corny at times, and features over-the-top game winning scores and sequences in nearly every game, and yes it does take on almost every conceivable stereotypical high school sports issue (a la pro football in ESPN’s Playmakers of a few years back): there is steroids, recruiting violations, tough decisions regarding favorite status to football players, etc

- However, in a strange way – it does a great job with moments that could easily be merely sentimental, and really makes them very powerful – almost all of Coach Taylor’s speeches – while your brain knows that this is often clich├ęd, Motivational Speaking 101, you still get pulled in by them. In addition, my feeling for the characters made many of the sappy things that they did, worth more than that, because I had grown to know them, and, got to have these moments, as I do in all good dramas, where I have to remind myself that this is just a show, and that Kyle Chandler doesn’t have to worry about losing his job, and that poor Matt Saracen’s grandmother is probably just fine.

- A quick note about the credit sequence – it grew on me over watching the show – I didn’t like it at all at first, and now I kind of like it, but it’s still a little long, could use a little more energy, and would benefit from a few more scenes that showed more in them then just countryside, even though I understand what they’re going for, it’s hard to pay full attention to it every time

- Also something I’ve been strangely focused on in watching TV shows recently: who belongs to be featured in the credits? In FNL, the coach, portrayed by Kyle Chandler and his wife, Connie Britton, are the only two adults featured, while Gaius Charles, Zach Gilford, Minka Kelly, Taylor Kitsch, Adrianne Palicki, Scott Porter, Aimee Teegarden, and Jesse Plemons are featured as kids, a featured cast of 8, which is within normal bounds for a drama. Everyone pretty much features in every episode and deserves their entry into the credits except for maybe Jesse Plemons, who plays the new QB’s best friend, Landry, who is simply absent from some episodes and has very small parts in others. There are a number of different important supporting characters, primarily family members of the featured kids, along with an assistant coach or two, but the only one that really makes any headway into being close to worth of being featured is Brad Leland as Buddy Garrity, the cheerleader’s father, and team’s head booster, along with used car salesman and sleezy adulterer. Garrity is in most episodes, and has some major parts, though still does not deserve credit entry, with only two adults in there anyway. However, his character is one of the most entertaining in the show.

Friday Night Lights, Season 1: 7.4

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