So, after hearing repeatedly from people that I should be watching "Friday Night Lights" I decided I would give it a try this weekend. So far I am almost three quarters of the through the first season and I have to say that I am really torn.
On a really basic level I am enjoying the show. But...there are so many aspects of it that bother me. The show is loosely based on the book of the same name written by H. G. Bissinger, the book followed the football team from the town of Odessa in West Texas. This was really an amazing book. One of the things that I liked about it was that it really showed the truth of high school football in America. It also showed how high school football in Texas is a different beast entirely. The book was quite successful.
After the book came out and was a success the inevitable happened and movie was made. The movie starred Billy Bob Thornton and was directed by Peter Berg.
It was an enjoyable movie. It followed the book well and was respectful of the material. That a film adaptation of a book do both of these things is a very important thing to me. The budget for the film was about $30 Million and the movie grossed worldwide $61,255,921. So under anyone's criteria the movie was a success as well.
What happened next, is not always a successful thing in Hollywood. The man who had directed the film decided that he wanted to make a television show of the same material. The show was set in a fictional Texas town and followed the Dillon Panthers and primarily the team coach and his family. The show lasted five seasons and was never a real commercial success but it did achieve a lot of critical success and now that it is out on DVD and available on Netflix I believe that a lot more people are seeing the show. Which puts us where we are today. I am in the midst of watching the show. I never watched when it was on NBC and my initial response to it was "why in the world, would I want to see a television show that was based on both a book and a movie?"
So now I am watching it and it actually pains me to say I am enjoying it. I played football from 4th grade until the beginning of 10th grade. When I in a fit of self righteousness I walked off of the team after a particularly frustrating practice session in which I felt that the head coach had singled me out for an extra helping of verbal abuse. I have few actual regrets in life and quitting football is one of them. So I am coming into this television show from a position of real love for football. Now, this love ebbs and flows and right now is primarily directed at the Pittsburgh Steelers and not much else. In fact the state of the NFL right now just disgusts me and I am not at all interested in college football at all.
I realize that this is kind of a long and scattered review but it kind of highlights my mixed up feelings about the show. There are times where it really makes me smile and laugh. Where it really rings true about the emotions and feelings that can surround the sport. There are also times that the show makes me cry. It is so touching and I hate myself when the show does it to me. But I keep watching. I am going to watch the whole series and I think I am really going to enjoy it. I hope the show continues its level of quality as things continue.
So give it a try. I think that you will enjoy it.