For the most part, I think the American public is a lot savvier and smarter than what Hollywood gives them credit for. I believe that most people are craving for deep story lines that challenge viewers in terms of their emotions as opposed to just going for the easy feel-good ending. However, when I see that a show as nuanced and gripping as ‘Friday Night Lights’ is struggling to find an audience, I start to understand why Hollywood goes for the lowest common denominator.
Cindy had some interesting concerns before this show aired about whether this would inappropriately glorify high school sports at the expense of other important educational issues, but after viewing the first two episodes of the show, I believe that it’s as dark and upfront as H.G. Bissinger’s classic book about the obsession of a small Texas town that is both ridiculously misplaced and spiritually uplifting at the same time. The show is a lot less about football and much more about the triumphs and problems of society weaved through a coach, his family and players, and the town that they live in. It amazes me that the television show that is almost universally lauded by the critics as the top new program of this season is getting trounced in the ratings by ‘Dancing With The Stars’ (which I’ll admit isn’t even really a bad show, but everyone ought to be horrified of the prospect that the vein on Joey Lawrence’s Kojak-style head is going to pop out through the TV screen).
I’m the type of person that has the television attention span of a gnat (while I probably watch as much TV as anyone, I can count on one hand the number of shows that I make the commitment to watching every week), yet ‘Friday Night Lights’ has already made it to my must-see list. I don’t ask for much, but please check out ‘Friday Night Lights’ on Tuesday if you haven’t already regardless of whether you even care about football in general – you’ll be thankful.
(Image from Sports Illustrated)