Someone once said absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I’m guessing whoever said that didn’t have to wait for almost a year for new a new episode of Friday Night Lights. After a couple months without a trip to Dillon, fonder became frustrated quickly. And to add insult to injury, there was the fact that some people got to see the premiere four months ago thanks to DirecTV.
But it was well worth the wait even if there were a few “huh, did I miss something?” moments like Mrs. Taylor is the new principle? Seriously? Lyla and Saresen have been in the same grade the whole time making Lyla a Varsity cheerleader as a sophomore? And then there were the glossed over reveals like Lyla dumping Jesus for Riggins? And the completely ignored like Street’s miracle baby.
But really none of that bothered me because I was distracted by all the goodness that started with opening unmistakable earthly guitar licks (FNL is the best scored show ever in the history of television) and scenes like the Riggins brothers powwow in a strip club and subsequent proposal, Momma Smash, Landry at the Collette house, Tyra telling off the new guidance teacher (since when was it so hard to get into a State college: at one point Ohio State University had a 100% acceptance rate), the status of Tyra and Landry’s relationship, and surely I am forgetting something else.
The show’s strength is how emotions can change on a dime which was best on display during the racquetball scene that starts off as whimsically enough with Smash mentioning it is the whitest sport ever created (which I can attest to as I have an intramural racquetball championship under my belt), but at a drop of a dime Coach lays into Smash for giving up (Mrs. Taylor had her own scene with Tyra earlier which parallels each struggle to get out of Dillon).
Verdict: Last year Friday Night Lights ended the season number one of my Best Television Shows of 2007-08 list and after one episode it is hard to think of any show that will come close to knocking the show off its pedestal. You can and should catch Friday Night Lights at 9:00 on Fridays. You can also stream episodes at NBC.com or download Friday Night Nights on iTunes or Amazon Video on Demand (see below). And you can still get the first two seasons for dirt cheap.