Remember: clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!

coach-taylor.gifWell kids, this may very well be our last visit to Dillon, Texas.

I have loved a lot of shows that have died before their time, but I don’t know if any of them is going to hurt as much to lose as Friday Night Lights, if this is indeed the end. Tonight’s fifteenth episode of the second season was the last produced before the writers’ strike, and even if the strike is resolved next week as rumor has it it will be, we won’t be seeing any more of the Panthers this season. The second season DVD, with only these fifteen episodes on it, is scheduled to be in stores on April 22. (Don’t blame the writers for this particular mess, though…it’s probable that with more original material to air, NBC may have already cancelled the show.)

If we can’t see the end of this season (and by that, I mean the Panthers’ football season, not the TV season), so many big questions will go unanswered. Will Smash pull his life together, or lose out on his dream of playing at TMU? The final scene of last week’s episode, where he gave his team a pep talk and then watched them head onto the field without him, knowing that if his suspension cost them the playoffs he might never play football again, brought me to tears. Will the Panthers be the first team in Texas history to win State one year and not make the playoffs the next? What would happen to poor, wonderful quarterback Matt Saracen, already on the edge of being unable to deal with the pressure, if that happened? How will Coach Taylor bring his team through this hard time, knowing that his decision to leave at the end of last season was one of the things that caused it?

And those are just three characters I’m worried about. There are a dozen more, most of them not on the team at all, that I can’t bear to say goodbye to.

That’s the thing that’s so remarkable about this show, and why it’s so lamentable that more people haven’t discovered it: it’s not just about football. It’s about everyone in this town, and how their lives are affected by the town’s priorities, and the choices they make for themselves when sometimes it feels like small town life doesn’t give them any. These are some of the best-written, best-acted characters I have ever had the privilege to watch. Julie Taylor, the coach’s daughter, is the most realistic TV teenager since Angela Chase on My So-Called Life more than a decade ago. The actress Aimee Teegarden is superb in the role, making us love Julie but be exasperated by her at the same time. Connie Britton, who plays Tami Taylor, the coach’s wife, should have been nominated for an Emmy. Everything about her performance is vibrant, and subtle, and true. Then there’s Adrianne Palicki as Tyra Collette, the least cliché “bad girl” in history, and national treasure Jesse Plemons as Landry Clarke, her unlikely friend, ally, and love. The development of their relationship has been the most pleasant surprise of this series.

And don’t even get me started on how much I love Jason Street.

What can we do to save our show, and convince NBC to make a third season? Fans of CBS’s Jericho sent bags of peanuts to the network to show their support and got their show saved. Shall we all save our empty beer bottles, in honor of the one and only Tim Riggins, and ship them off to Ben Silverman?

In seriousness, I ask anyone who is reading this, whether you watch the show or not, if you know anyone who has a Nielsen box on their TV, please ask them to tune in to tonight’s episode. And please, click over to the NBC site and start up an episode. Leave it playing on mute in another window while you work if you have to. If you’re a fan who hasn’t bought season one yet, it’s on sale at for $18.99. Anything we can do to show an uptick in the ratings or to help NBC make a little more money on this show could influence their decision on whether to let it live or not.


5 Responses to “Remember: clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!”

  1. 1 Becca February 8, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Look how sad this news makes Riggins. God…what a good show. This show is my hero.

  2. 2 Becca February 8, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Apparently it won’t let me post pictures. So look here to see how sad this news makes Riggins.

  3. 3 Carly February 8, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! nononononononononononononono.

  4. 4 james February 9, 2008 at 9:31 am

    Great blog!!!
    allways enjoy reading

    thanx for the time and effort

  5. 5 Carly February 13, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    this is so depressing. i get mad/sad every day. plus i read somewhere that it has consistently been 3rd in its timeslot – is it really not financially viable to keep something with 6 million viewers alive? how can that be?

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Other projects:

Downton Gabby: podcasting about Downton Abbey from a funny, foul-mouthed, feminist perspective

Quick Lit: reading one short story a day in 2015

Grand Dames: collecting sundry achievements of admirable women

The MacGuffin: archive of my days as a film critic

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