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October 10, 2015

Friday Night Lights: I Knew You When (season premiere)

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 2nd 2008 11:02AM
Tami FNL(S03E01) If you're fortunate enough to be a DirecTV subscriber, tonight you had the opportunity to see the premiere of Friday Night Lights. The Dillon Panther football team was back, as were all the characters who deal with real world life issues that have nothing to do with the grid iron. The best thing about Friday Night Lights, in fact, is that the show is only set in a sports environment. The drama is much more than who wins or loses a game, and that's what stays with you. There are no easy answers for Eric and Tami, Tyra and Landry, Tim and Lyla. Even Buddy has ambiguities.

That said, NBC will be back with these same Friday Night Light episodes -- season three -- at mid-season. Therefore, for people like me with the DirecTV dish, we're getting the shows in advance. TV Squad has decided to review the season premiere -- including spoilers -- so please, if you want to wait and be surprised, be forewarned. On the other hand, if you want to know what's happened since the end of last season, follow me after the jump.

Sometimes when you get what you wish for, it's not everything you imagined it to be. That's the case with Tami Taylor. She's now the prinicipal of the high school, which she discovers is struggling with a limited academic budget. The air conditioning system is on the blink and the history text books are 15 years old. Meanwhile, Eric's football operation has new computers and an ice-cream wagon proffering Smoothies to the players after a heated workout. Is that fair?

Questions like that are everywhere on FNL. Is it right that Tyra should be told to not pursue a good college because her freshman grades have dragged down her GPA? Is it just that Matt may lose his stance as QB #1 because this new McCoy kid has an arm like Dan Marino and a father pushing Eric to promote his boy? Should Lyla take Tim seriously as a love interest or will he only be good enough in her eyes to have as a lover? Will Tami's decision to blow up Buddy's dream of a Jumbotron scoreboard and keep the big money for academics blow up in her face?

The most poignant story, though, is the future of Smash Williams. Eric wants Smash to make it all the way back from a shattered knee, but Smash isn't sure he'll ever be Smash again. The attention and emotion between coach and player is real and true, one more reason to admire Taylor as a man. Their racquetball match was the high point of the show. The question looms, can Smash change his game and make a comeback as a football player?

Other points of interest

-- Old man McCoy is a slimeball, offering Eric Cuban cigars and a bottle of Scotch to "bribe" him into playing his son. Eric is not going to go for that, but young J.D. can play and he is the next Jason Street.

-- I loved Eric's "Smoothie" rant.

-- Seeing Tyra's reaction to her sister becoming engaged to Tim's brother, a drunken proposal at the 7 Senoritas restaurant, was all it took to get her to go to Tami and plead for help so she could plan a different future for herself.

-- The episode was divided by the days of the week, starting with Sunday, building to the big first game on Friday night.

-- Smash called racquetball the whitest sport imaginable. Still, he was a "smash" at the game.

-- Riggins is still Riggins. He stinks in practice, but on the field he's a beast. He wouldn't be the best boyfriend, but he does love Lyla.

-- DTV ran the episodes with a single sponsor, commercial free. More TV shows should do this. It's great.
Will the Jumbotron get built?
Yes48 (23.5%)
No106 (52.0%)
Yes, but a smaller version50 (24.5%)

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What a great return to form! This is FNL as it was in season 1, which is one of the most brilliant, but underwatched shows airing. I posted all my thoughts on it if anyone is interested: http://tinyurl.com/4yslhz

October 04 2008 at 2:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

but what about Jason and the pregnant girl? did they touch on that?

October 02 2008 at 2:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JodyArnall's comment

There was no mention of Street's current situation but they are supposed to be phasing his character out as well as Smash. I suppose that story line may not be finished up the way most of us had hoped.

October 02 2008 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great episode. I have DirectTV also for the NFL ticket so getting to see FNL early is a very pleasant bonus to that. There simply isn't anything else on TV like this show and I look forward to each and every episode. Wish the season were going to be longer but I'll take what I can get. Already looking forward to next week.

October 02 2008 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

outside of nfl sunday ticket, this is the only good thing direct tv has ever done for me (exclusive provider for my building so its not like i had a choice). i haven't watched tv in days and with like 10 shows and only 1 hour to watch, this was the one i had to see - i think i made the right choice. they did a good job of filling in the backstory and i agree that the smash storyline was the best but didnt they only sign smash for 4 episodes? clearly the story couldn't sustain itself over the entire 13 episodes but i wish i could get more smash.
i was a fan of limited time with the daughter - she is very annoying. cant wait till next week (and also glad its not on fridays anymore so i can actually watch it same day).

October 02 2008 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to khamel's comment

hey you know every time you turn on your DVR and its NOT a huge p.o.s. made by scientific atlanta?? DirecTV did that for you also.

I hate it when people complain about having no choice but direcTV... live in a building (or on the side of the building) where your only choice is comcast/cox then get back to me

October 02 2008 at 2:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought last nights ep was the best in the series so far. Humbling Smash and having him become Brian definately racheted up the emotional aspect of the show. Kyle Chandler did an excellent job conveying the guilt coach Taylor has for overworking Smash and grenading his knee. I'm also excited to see what they are going to do with McCoy. He seems like a decent kid who is being pushed by his father. It will be interesting to see if he becomes a stand up guy like street or whether he becomes a sleezebag like Riggins when he inevitably starts.

October 02 2008 at 11:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ooh ... love that they split up the episodes into days of the week. That's one of things I missed from the pilot after they "tweaked" it out of future episodes.

Definitely will be looking for torrents of this ep. when I get home from work.

October 02 2008 at 11:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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