Julie and Matt share a moment on the practice field.
In Texas, high school football isn’t just an after school activity. It’s more than that. It’s not an understatement to say that it is a religion, one that grabs hold any small town. The players on these teams work hard, and are treated like royalty for their efforts. No show has been able to quite capture this one of kind setting quite like NBC’s Friday Night Lights. Based on the 1990 nonfiction book by H. G. Bissinger, and the 2004 film of the same name, the show takes place in the fictional town of Dillon, Texas, home of the Dillon Panthers. The lives of the players, coaches, and citizens of Dillon are on full display as we see what it’s really means to be “Texas Forever.”
Matt and Julie share a kiss.
The show revolves around the lives of the players of the Dillon Panthers; backup-turned-starting quarterback Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford), star running back Smash Williams (Gaius Charles), hard hitting fullback Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch), and former quarterback Jason Street (Scott Porter). The show also focuses on the lives of The Taylors; Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler), patriarch of the family and Head Coach of the Dillon Panthers, wife Tami Taylor (Connie Britton), and their daughter Julie (Aimee Teegarden), who can be seen wearing black chucks in the show.
The cast of Friday Night Lights.
The show starts out on the Monday before the first game of the season. Coach Taylor has just been promoted head coach because of his relationship with superstar quarterback Jason Street. Street is the talk of the state, with offers to Notre Dame on the table, and it’s because of him that the Panthers are ranked #1 in Texas and favored to win the State Title. However, what should be a perfect season goes down the drain when Street is paralyzed in a freak accident during the first game. The shy, yet hard working backup QB Matt Saracen is thrust into the spotlight, as he relies on his stellar backfield of Tim Riggins and Smash Williams to help him get through the season in one piece. Over the course of the first season, and throughout the show’s five season run, things only get tougher as they learn every victory can come with a loss. Players come and go, but football always remains.
The show is arguably at its best not when it revolves around football, but when it delves into these strong characters that occupy the town of Dillon. Eric and Tami Taylor have an electric dynamic, and their bond is so strong that they are the show’s emotional anchors. The off field issues that are covered are also a highlight as players deal with relationships, race, and the pressures that come with playing on a high school football team in Texas. This isn’t to say that the football portions of the show aren’t excellent because they most definitely are. No other show has been able to capture the excitement and brutality of a high school football game like this show, and the games are action packed, exciting, and very realistic. Friday Night Lights is a show that blended sports, drama, and strong characters together for five seasons. It’s a show that lives on fondly in the minds of those who watched it every week. We watched these players grow up over the course of five seasons, and every fan lives by the credo bestowed onto us by Coach Taylor: clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.
Julie Taylor in her black chucks.
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