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Can You Forgive "Friday Night"?

Posted by Matthew Gilbert  October 9, 2007 07:14 AM

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There's some very OK news on the "Friday Night Lights" front. The ratings for the show's second season return were "pretty positive," according to this Variety article. I hope the uptick is the start of a trend, despite the fact that the premiere was definitely not among the series' best hours.

I certainly understand why the "FNL" writers decided to have Landry and Tyra toss the attempted rapist's body in the river. It throws the unlikely couple closer together. If they're going to fall into a romantic relationship, the secret murder will help provide dramatic motivation for their intimacy.

But a huge event such as murder is out of sync with the real-life tone of the show. One of the great things about "FNL" has been the way it makes ordinary smalltown life into something so rich in pain and heroism and struggle. There are murders everywhere else on TV, and "FNL" stands out in part for providing serious drama without dead bodies. And then it didn't help the murder plot twist by giving it only two or three scenes, (Check out a little movie called "Mean Creek" to see a richer, more complex version of a vagely similar predicament.)

OK, so I've vented. And fortunately, the plot doesn't ruin the next two episodes, which I have seen. Perhaps someone felt that the show needed to be more aggressive about grabbing viewers, to help it survive another season.... ? In any case, "Friday Night Lights" remains must-watch network TV. We've all had our off days. I forgive.

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2 comments so far...
  1. Yup, that sounds like a network executive suggesting a way to "spice up" things for ratings. I hope they don't go down that road again, because it's a great show.

    Posted by Jim R. October 10, 07 09:38 AM
  1. I was underwhelmed by the season two premiere. But I won't cut and run yet; hopefully the writers know what they're doing with the murder storyline (did they actually dump the body?) and it won't take center stage. I want to see more football, more of the mundane small town slice of life stuff, and I hope they stick with that great Explosions in the Sky soundtrack. Still one of the best shows on TV.

    Posted by Karoline October 11, 07 08:45 AM
 

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