- The fact that the show lasted as long as it did is a small miracle in and of itself
- The show's permanent under-the-radar status made it more of a joy to watch
- The losers and the dorks tend to be the ones who triumph in the end
I'm not sure how many people told me to watch "Friday Night Lights" before I actually did.
Six? A hundred? Somewhere between six and 100. It was a hard-fought campaign. I would say "Isn't that the football show?" And they would say, "Well, sort of, but it's not really about football."
Years later, when I was a Dillon Panther 4 life (just kidding, GO LIONS!) and I would recommend the show to other people, they would say "Isn't that the football show?" And I would say "Well, sort of, but it's not really about football."
This is why "Friday Night Lights" was probably doomed from the beginning (as much as "doomed" could ever describe a critically beloved television show on a major network that ran for five seasons).
Someone who would want to watch "the football show" could just as easily have watched a real football show, which is called: actual football. And those who would want to watch a stirring, beautifully filmed, understated and naturalistic portrait of modern life centered around a small town high school would always be scared off by the phantom lunchroom bullying that the idea of "the football show" stirred up.
Which is not to say you had to hate actual football to enjoy "Friday Night Lights," but it didn't hurt.
The series revolved around a high school football team in the fictitious town of Dillon, Texas. And much like actual high school sports teams in towns across the country, it developed a strong and loyal following of sometimes rabid devotees.
But even with that assist, the fact that the show lasted as long as it did is a miracle -- like show character Smash Williams' heroic last-minute touchdowns. Which is not to ignore the impressive game-winning work of Matthew Saracen, Luke Cafferty or Vince Howard.