Friday, May 07, 2010

Friday Night Lights. Still At The Top Of Its Game

Friday Night Lights (*****) is back TONIGHT for it's 4th season! And on network TV! For the diehards, we've probably already seen S4 on DirecTV (or ahem, other ways) last winter but NBC is finally airing the 4th season starting tonight, Friday at 8pm so there's no excuse not to watch the best show on television anymore.

And for newcomers, it might be the best time to join, since the show sort of brilliantly restarts itself while still building on our favorite characters.

The last time we left Dillon, TX, Coach Eric Taylor was being forced out of Dillon High and made to coach at East Dillon High, where there's barely a field, let alone funding for a proper football team. It's up to Eric to find himself a brand new team and an ounce of hope.

Tami Taylor remains principal at Dillon High where her kindness is gonna be put to the test. Let me just say that I've never felt so angry and frustrated at the politics of the town as much as what happens in the later parts of Season 4. It's a chilling story line that sadly probably reflects a lot of what is going on in America today.

We'll get to meet a bunch of new characters, mostly over at East Dillon High, the school on the poor side of town, a town not already known for having that much money. Eric Taylor's potential new players are a ragtag bunch including troubled Vince (Michael B. Jordan) and boy-next-door Luke (Matt Laura, Lipstick Jungle).

And due to the new redrawn district lines (again, only FNL can make local civic politics into a truly dramatic story arc), Landry Clarke ends up on the wrong side of town and must attend the new school, where by default, he becomes one of the stronger players, which is more of a sad statement of East Dillon than it is about Landry's football skills.

There's also Jess Merriweather (Madison Burge) and her mom (re-occurring guest star Alicia Witt, Cybill) who also seem to collide with Tim Riggin's life, just as Tim tries to forge a future with brother Billy (Derek Phillips in an Emmy worthy performance in his increased screentime).

And don't forget, J.D. McCoy and overbearing father Joe McCoy will still become thorns in Coach Taylor and force Buddy Garrity to rethink his allegiances.

Meanwhile, this is the season that will slowly merge out Zach Gilford from the show, and just as the show did a beautiful job saying farewell to Smash and Jason Street (Gaius Charles and Scott Porter), Matt Saracen's post Dillon life is powerfully moving and realistically genuine, and Julie Taylor's life never becomes quite the same. Make sure you have tissues on hand for the 4th and 5th episode as Gilford turns an Emmy worthy performance amongst a show of Emmy worthy performances (seriously, when are they going to hand Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton the gold statues?).

Friday Night Lights easily manages the season 4 cast switch by keeping Tami and Eric at its moral centre while new stories on the harsh lives of Dillon's poorer residence comes into light. The Blind Side and Superior Donuts had nothing on what this show can convey in a simple look from Coach Eric Taylor to his players. Still moving, still relevant, still at the top of its game. Friday Night Lights can't be beat.

Here's the Season 4 Cast Promotional Gallery:
Connie Britton as Tami Taylor:

Kyle Chandler as Coach Eric Taylor:

Taylor Kitsch as Tim Riggins:

Zach Gilford as Matt Saracen:

Aimee Teegarden as Julie Taylor:

Jesse Plemons as Landry Clarke:

Brad Leland as Buddy Garrity:

Michael B. Jordan as Vince Howard:

Matt Lauria as Luke Cafferty:

Jurnee Smollett as Jess Merriweather:

Madison Burge as Becky Sproles:

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


Deep Dish said...

It's a great show with a wonderful cast. One of the best shows on television right now. And Kyle Chandler is still dreamy.

CS12 said...

Seriously, give Kyle & Connie an Emmy or there's no justice in this world!!

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