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Why NBC and DirecTV shouldn't renew Friday Night Lights

by Hemal Jhaveri, posted Mar 11th 2009 5:02PM
FNLShould Friday Night Lights come back for another season? EW's Michael Ausiello is reporting that a deal could be in the works, not just for one season, but for two. The avid fan that I've become wants to root for this possibility, but as a critic, I know this is a bad idea.

Look, I love the show as much as a die-hard fan can. I've gone so far as to inquire about getting my own Dillon Panther t-shirt. I think Tami and Coach Taylor are the best couple on television. I live by the edict WWCTD (What Would Coach Taylor Do). Yet, despite my need to have"I-heart-Tim-Riggins" tattooed onto my forearm, they still shouldn't bring this show back for another two seasons.

Before fans start the dog-pile, let me make my case after the jump.

Update: For folks (like me) who haven't seen the season already on Direct TV, tread carefully in the comments. They contain spoilers.

First off, the creative forces behind the show, Jason Katims and Jeffrey Reiner, are busy with other projects. Without the right people calling the plays (nice football illusion allusion, right?) I'm afraid we'll see a real loss in the creative vision behind the show. FNL sets high standards with their simply crafted, but elegant, story lines and visual style. I'd hate to see any of that sacrificed for ratings.

I mean, does anyone need reminding of the Landry/Tyra murder plot line that started season 2? In a misguided attempt to gain ratings, the creators lobbed this preposterous storyline into the field. Give them another two seasons and they'll be desperate enough to try something like that again. To their credit, the show runners realized it was a bad call and minimized the damage. But still, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Now, with Tyra, Tim, Jason, Smash and Lyla all graduating and gone, who's left to carry the show? The heart of FNL has always been the Taylor family, and that gives creators a solid foundation to build on, but isn't nearly enough material to build a show around. How many state championships can one team win anyway? FNL's charm lies in it's ability to find drama in the mundane. It isn't like regular high school dramas and I don't want to see it reduced to one. Season three seems to be developing some interesting options, what with the new quarterback JD McCoy and Landry's secretly lesbian bass player, but fans will deeply feel the loss of old characters.

All right, so here's my biggest worry. With a lock for two seasons, and only so much high school drama to go around, strife in Tami and Eric's marriage will become fair game. Please don't do anything to split up this couple.

The TV landscape is so littered with destructive relationships that an example of a good, functioning and loving marriage is rare. The Taylor's aren't perfect, but they are the best marriage on prime time by far. They're perfect together and they're perfect for the show. Don't ever mess with that.

Sometimes, it's just better to let things go at their peak. Friday Night Lights had a pitch-perfect, flawless first season. Their second season, by comparison, was highly uneven and included a few big botched plot lines. And season three seems to be regaining some of that old ground. But, I'd rather see the show end after three superior seasons than have it dragged down into mediocrity.

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Brandon

The problem with FNL isn't the writing, or plot flaws...IT'S THE SCHEDULING!!! Stupid NBC execs think a show about Friday night needs to be on Friday. Meanwhile the show's core audience isn't even home when it's on. Instead of showing another crap show like "The Biggest Loser" or "Celebrity Apprentice", why not move FNL back to a night when people actually watch TV and I promise the ratings will go up.

March 29 2009 at 11:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
YouFaceTheTick

Kill it. I own FNL Season 1 and 2. gave it to friends. still recommend the show. Season 3 had WAY more problems than season 2 (making tami principle, turning back the age clock on 3 characters - sorry both of those trump the murder story). I liked season 3 enough but not enough to tune in again. Like Arrested Development and Veronica Mars, they needed to stop at 2 seasons.

March 14 2009 at 2:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to YouFaceTheTick's comment
Natalie

i love the show, but i agree that it has many flaws.
i found the fact that they made some characters seniors for what seemed to be the third time incredibly confusing but at the same time i understand it since riggins is a very popular character. i think it was to do with the writer's strike/ the deal with direct tv and NBC that caused the two seasons to be so disjointed. but hopefully they'll be able to pull it together in the next two seasons.
i doubt it though since all the characters that remain/ are being introduced are either really young or not that interesting. needless to say i'm not excited to see all my favorite characters graduate.

March 29 2009 at 8:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
StillBash

@dianesgallen

Simple reason: you can re-run comedies in syndication to death, out of order, and on a daily basis if there are 100+ episodes. The re-watchability of drama is much lower and the production costs much higher (FNL is filmed in Austin, Texas and not on a lot somewhere in Hollywood).

The reason NBC wants this show to keep on going is because it represents american culture, it's critically acclaimed and they think it's worth holding on to. Again I can't get behind the idea that somebody who's a fan would not support it too. It's like staying at home with your girlfriend because everything is so perfect. Problem is FNL was never perfect given season two's murder storyline and that this is a feel-good show that always ends up with the people in it getting some sort of happy ending (if not the happiest ending). It isn't perfect at all it's just a damn good TV show that should be kept alive.

Go buy the DVDs. You'll help the show.

March 14 2009 at 1:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dianesgallen

Friday Night Lights, is hands down the best show on TV on any station as far as I'm concerned. I feel very confident that the great writers of the show will be able to continue a captivating story line with the "Taylors" and any other cast members old or new. I will remain an ardent fan and would be heartbroken if the show is cancelled. I don't understand how such a quality show is always fighting for it's life when crappy sitcoms get renewed year after year.

March 13 2009 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CindyP

I understand you point, you make some valid argument but i have to completely DISAGREE...FNL still has a lot of CLEAR EYES FULL HEARTS moments left in it to continue bringing us quality tv for a while...maybe one, maybe two season..who knows?!? Let just enjoy while it lasts and cross our fingers it'll be back...TEXAS FOREVER

March 12 2009 at 9:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Zach

Perhaps you should have waited till you viewed the entire season before writing this post. Or perhaps leave it to someone on your staff who has. I don't see how you can make these "conclusions" w/o seeing the rest of this season.

Right on dkny. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.

March 12 2009 at 4:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
shu

@StillBash

Well said, and couldn't agree more.

March 12 2009 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dkny

clear eyes full heart can't lose

March 12 2009 at 10:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
StillBash

*snicker*

I thought I'd never do this but

http://tinyurl.com/fridaynightlights

For non-stupid comments about Friday Night Lights.

Some hints:
- It is ALLUSION not ILLUSION.
- you say three superior seasons and call the murder storyline in season two a desperate attempt to get more viewers and therefor disprove your own argument
- you simply guess that they will break up the Coach and his wife and therefor simply make up an argument
- of the five characters you listed, TWO have left the show. THREE of them are not even guaranteed not to come back, meaning that both Riggins and his brother as well as Tyra and her sister and Lyla are most likely coming back next season. Maybe they will leave the show just like Smash and Six but that took EIGHT of the thirteen episodes of the current season, with four episodes each focusing on ONE single character.
- Saracen and Julie Taylor stay on the show

Were this an essay in school you would get an F. Your arguments are faulty, your logic is flawed and your style is horrible. As if wanting a Panther Jersey and getting a Tattoo would justify making up all these "arguments" for canceling the show. Those are just empty words just like the rest of the article. If I were to stand in front of you right this minute and look you in the eye wouldn't you have to admit that you just THOUGHT about getting a panther jersey and never really tried getting one? Because I think you just make stuff up to further what you think is a valid argument. You pull stuff out of your a** just to sound better.

The murder storyline almost ruined the show. Season Three is much better. What's your excuse to say stop here and don't make any more faults? The absolute ESSENCE of being alive is the possibility of making errors. To fail is human. Without TRYING you never achieve greatness.

Isn't the sheer possibility for two more seasons that could be even better than those three we already got reason enough to keep on going? Don't you think that the fresh blood in the new actors, the new players on the new teams of both Dillon and East Dillon will be reason enough to tune in? Don't you TRUST the creators of this show to deliver more excellent episodes?

What the hell is wrong with you? There's something the powers that be at NBC think is worth fighting for, for once it's NOT reality TV, for once it's not another Talk show (remember Leno?) and you think the best idea to comment on this is to ask them to stop producing it?

Again: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?!?

March 12 2009 at 6:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Suntzu

Really???? You like a show but you don't want it to come back for fear that it will be altered or changed with time?? That's the dumbest thing I've ever read. Of course it's going to change things are going to happen. But to end the show because you are afraid that Coach and Tami migh split up or have problems. Do you need the definition of drama?? Or intrigue? It's just plain stupid

March 12 2009 at 2:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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