Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Night Lights

Tonight is the finale of the fifth and final season of Friday Night Lights on NBC. Global played the ninety minute finale last week so I was able to cry my goodbye tears a little earlier than the Americans as the curtain went down on this amazing series. It's about football, which I have less than zero interest in, but it's really about relationships, and the kind of real people that you don't often find on television.

If you have never heard of Friday Night Lights, or you have shied away from it because you don't care about football, I'm here to beg you to reconsider. If you rent or buy all five seasons, you will have so much incredible television in front of you and I know you won't be sorry. No other series can hold a candle to the writing and the performances on Friday Night Lights.

Watching the finale, I was moved to tears in so many places, and I really didn't want to say goodbye to these characters who had become so familiar and recognizable to me. The show reminds you of your youth, in the best possible way, and Coach Eric Taylor and his wife Tami are the best fictional parents I've ever seen.

The show never backed away from difficult topics. It handled everything from teenage pregnancy to juvenile delinquency to divorce and did so without once flinching or providing an easy answer. I learned a lot from watching Eric and Tami parent, and it gave me hope for the teen years with my own children.

The marriage between the coach and his wife was also an area of inspiration because it deftly portrayed the kind of endless compromise and support which is the hallmark of all healthy and successful marriages. It's never easy, but actually possible to have this kind of a relationship, and to see it week after week in this show planted new hope in my heart.

As I try to write better screenplays and stories, I stand and salute the writers, producers and directors of Friday Night Lights. If at the end of my career I can be even half as good at portraying real life with all of its pain and flaws and inspiration, I'll be more than satisfied. It's important to have something to aim for, and I'm aiming for the kind of writing that made Friday Night Lights stand out from everything else I've ever seen on network television.

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