30 Pilots in 30 Days: Friday Night Lights

Had I seen it before: No.

What IMDb says: The trials and tribulations of small town Texas football players, their friends, family, and coaching staff.

Why I picked it: This is one of those shows I don’t remember hearing that much about when it was on but everyone seems to remember it quite fondly now that it’s off the air. Is that just because it was aired on Fridays? Was it actually aired on Fridays? I don’t know.

I also love the idea of a network tv show that has relatively low stakes. No politicians or cops or lawyers or doctors. It’s high school football. People don’t die or go to jail when you lose. I’m curious to see if and how the writers make stakes feel high with a premise where they’re relatively low.  

What I liked: Damn, they made those stakes feel high. The way the football scenes were shot and edited, I felt like I was watching a real football game I actually cared about. The moment at the end when BOTH TEAMS come together to pray for the injured kid? Bring on the feels.

I also like their decision to make the show about the top football team in Texas because virtually every sports movie or tv storyline we’ve seen before was an underdog story. I mean, we’re talking about teams so bad that adding a dog to the lineup improved the team. Focusing on a championship team and the pressure they’re under to stay at that level is mildly refreshing.

What I didn’t like: This is probably the most predictable pilot I’ve watched so far. We learn all about how the current quarterback is the best in the country, not just Texas. The whole town looks up to this 17-year-old and believes he can go on to win a Heisman someday. Meanwhile we’re also following the backup quarterback, and we’ve been told he’s never going to get to play. I think you can put two and two together and figure out what’s gonna happen in the first game of this season.

So yeah, Big Shot Quarterback gets injured and Crappy Quarterback is in. We also get to see Big Shot Quarterback’s super invasive surgery because it needed to be abundantly clear that he’d be out for the entire season. Somehow Crappy Quarterback gets less crappy when his coach gives him the ingenious piece of advice: “Look for the defensive guys and look for our guys. Then throw to our guys.” Fuck, maybe coaching football is easier than I thought.

Do I want to watch Ep. 2: Yes. Sure it was predictable and kinda unrealistic, but in a delightful pre-2004 Disney Channel sorta way. And I am really curious to see how the new coach and a new quarterback get through the season together. It seems like a show I could really learn to love.


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