I peeked in on the Emmy’s last night, hoping to see if one of my favorite shows would win series of the year. I have watched Friday Night Lights since its first episode five years ago. In that episode, the storyline was pretty much what you would expect involving football, teenagers, and high school. But then the end of the series premiere came. Instead of the triumphant ending to the episode, the star quarterback breaks his neck and what happens on the field becomes small in comparison to what is happening off the field. Pretty soon, football becomes less a vehicle for exploiting young emotions and young lusts but a character in the show that provides connection, challenge, unity, and growth.
You won’t be able to appreciate my description of the show unless you have seen it yourself but let me tell you that no show on television has ever captured small town America and its people like FNL. They virtually nailed every depiction of life in a Texas town, down to the local politics, to the spiritual element, to the racial bias, and to the family connections. In the characters, you will see individuals wanting more out of their life but not always knowing what that is or a clue as to how to obtain it. This is the essence of good story telling. There were no easy answers for the characters in FNL and sometimes there were three steps backward before steps were made forward.
As someone who obsesses over growth and particularly Christian spiritual growth, I appreciated how honestly the show addressed the complexities of change and growth. And particularly, how family, friends, and community can foster or hinder that growth. The show was like cutting a hole in a portrait to reveal what is really going on behind the eyes of the picture’s subjects. I hope you will discover the show on Netflix and understand for yourself why this show should have won the last five Emmy’s for best series.