Watching (and obsessing over)… Friday Night Lights

Okay, so I really just want to say WATCH THIS! YOU SHOULD WATCH THIS! IT’S SO GOOD! WATCH IT! But I’ll try to expand just a leetle…

So Christmas before last – i.e. Christmas 2009 – I was looking on David’s Amazon wishlist for inspiration (yes, we’ve been together for 15 years, but he’s still pretty much of a mystery to me. You know, I know he likes cheese, but you can’t really buy someone cheese for Christmas, can you?) and saw that he wanted the book Friday Night Lights by H G Bissinger. I’d heard good things about the TV series too, so I ordered both, figuring we could watch the series together.

He read and loved the book, but when we sat and watched the pilot episode we were underwhelmed. And a bit depressed. Talk about a total downer (I won’t say why cos I don’t want to be spoilery), but we got to the end and said, “Well. That was a barrel of laughs.” It was not. We didn’t actually discuss never watching it again, we just… never put it on again.

But then I kept seeing it recommended by women – Meg Cabot, Sarra Manning, Abby McDonald, Cat Clarke – I like and know have good taste, and I decided I really must give it another go. David was less keen, but we sat through the pilot again (still depressing, still incredibly mumbly*) and then the next night we watched the next episode. And the next night we watched the next. And I think by the fourth or fifth episode we were getting caught up in the show.

Tim Riggins: another good reason to watch...

Before much longer, I noticed I was thinking about it (by which I mean Friday Night Lights, but also that fella above, obv.) during the day and looking forward to that night’s episode. And then I was yelling at the characters as I watched (always a good sign). About halfway through Season 1 I suggested we watch two episodes, but David said one was plenty. I think we watched the last eight episodes two at a time and often had to rewind bits we’d missed because me and D were debating something that had just happened.

I don’t know if I can explain what’s so good about it, apart from saying that the acting is amazing and the characters are utterly convincing (particularly Tami Taylor who is a goddess and already one of my all-time favourite TV characters). The various “issues” – again, being vague to avoid spoilers – aren’t simple or straightforward, in almost every case I can see both sides. (In fact, more than once I’ve shouted “That’s exactly it!” at one character before then saying, “But, you know, I can totally see his/her point” about another.)

Goddess. (I almost never look at David like this...)

And don’t be put off by the football aspect. There’s really very little time dedicated to actual games, but while I started off going, “Aw crap, football!” every time we saw them play, by the end of the season I was actually starting to get involved. I still don’t care as much about the football aspect as I probably should (partly because the obsession with high school football is way over the top anyway and I highly doubt I would ever care that much), but I do now watch and enjoy it rather than picking up the paper like I did in the beginning.”

Matt Saracen: worth watching the football for

So what I’m trying to say is that for the past few weeks, I’ve basically just been wishing each day away in order to get to the next episode. And now we can start Season 2. Bliss.

* Is it my age or are TV shows in general much quieter and/or more mumbly? We seem to have to have the subtitles on A LOT. And there are no subtitles for FNL. We still occasionally say, “I have no idea what he/she just said” but certainly not as often as we did at the beginning.


8 thoughts on “Watching (and obsessing over)… Friday Night Lights

  1. I remember wanting to watch this when it first aired (a tv show about American football? My kind of thing!) but for some reason never did. All the twitter chatter about it recently has been making me think about it again, this post has confirmed it for me. It’s now on my to watch list!

  2. We suffered with the mumbly fast talking with The Wire too – although I think a lot of that was the patois of the Boyz in Da Hood, etc. And with that too, by the end of Season 1 we were understanding it a lot better. By the end of Season 2 we’d started talking like that ourselves, a bit. 😀

  3. I gave up on this series after watching the pilot, too, so it helps to hear from you that you felt the same…and ended up changing your mind. Maybe I will give it another try, after all!

  4. Oh, crap. So many people I know love this so much I can see I’m going to have to power through it sometime. I HATED the pilot, thought it was beyond depressing, and so much football, and everything seemed bleak, not just the ending, the whole town. (But that ending!)

    I did think “this is great cinematography” at one point, but when do you ever think that when you’re loving the plot?

    I got into early One Tree Hill (which I’m not saying has the same standard of acting or writing, because no) despite the basketball, so maybe I can do this, too. Sigh.

    PS: The good thing about watching stuff on your own is headphones. 80% less mumbly or your money back! Probably.

    1. No, it’s definitely not the TV – have the same problem on the computer (and the TV’s pretty new anyway).

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