My friend bought me the Friday Night Lights box set for my birthday in November, a show that she highly recommended. I myself wasn’t sure. As much as I love rugby, I’ve never really been a fan of American football (I thought all of the padding and helmets was because they can’t play as well as rugby lads and need some padding to protect them). I started off slowly with the show. Maybe one or two episodes a week, if I wasn’t in the mood for watching anything else. But by the time I got halfway through season one I was hooked. In fact, come December and into January (not even mid-way into the month) I managed to complete the five season, 75 episodes show).
The show focuses on Texas high school coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler – Grey’s Anatomy, Argo) and his wife, the school councillor Tami (Connie Britton – Nashville, American Horror Story) as he pushes his team, the Dillon Panthers to get to the state final. The show also looks at the trials and tribulations of the team and their friends. As you’d expect with a show set around a high school, especially sport playing students, a couple of seasons in and you have the dilemma of players graduating and heading off to college. Well if they are that good surely they are going to get a scholarship?! But what the show does will is not ensure that its the same story at the end of every season – star quarterback from a poor family wins a scholarship to a top university. There’s a guy who is looking after his grandmother and is in love with the coach’s daughter. An alcohol/woman-loving long-haired guy who doesn’t care about college. And perhaps more interestingly, the star quarterback, dubbed to be probably the best in the state ending up in a wheelchair in the first episode.
There’s all the high school drama you would expect, plus also the issues the coach and his wife have to face. From making the step up to college football, to parents not liking the counselling you offer their kids to try and get you kicked out of the school. Eric and Tami have been through it all, with a typical teenage daughter and a toddler at the same time – possibly the worst combination. But what I really liked about this, and possibly a lot down to the acting, is despite the ups and downs, and the standard parent discussions that turn into an explosive argument, these two love each other and stick through it all together. If you think the show is going to follow the stereotype of coach Taylor becoming the best coach in the state and then going off to coach the best college team in the state then think again. Because although this show might look like it is about a high school American football team, it is really about the people – the family.
But between all of that, I actually enjoyed the football element too. It might not be rugby (I still think tackling rather than hitting is far more superior for skills), but it is far more interesting that football (or soccer as the Americans call it).
Image source: ourmaninchicago.net
A real gripping show, even if you don't like American football (too much stop starting) it makes you want to watch the game