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Soapbox: Maybe "FNL" Shouldn't Get a Second Season

Soapbox: Maybe "FNL" Shouldn't Get a Second Season

If you've been reading Buzz for a while, you know I adore "Friday Night Lights." It was easily my favorite new show this year; even now, three weeks since the show's season (and possibly series) finale, I get chills thinking about Coach Taylor's halftime speech.

Though the fate of the show is still up in the air (and will be until NBC announces its fall schedule May 14), signs have been looking good for its return. The cast believes the show will be back, its producers have talked about what a second season might hold, and NBC apparently has plans to put episodes back on the air this month.

So why am I not happy?

"Friday Night Lights" was an absolute gem in its first season, and it's exactly the kind of show NBC should keep on the air if it wants to promote a classy, quality-minded image. It won a Peabody Award, and — if there's any justice in the world — Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton will get Emmy nominations. NBC was incredibly patient with the show, giving it a full season even though it was one of the lowest-rated series on the air. But I don't think NBC would be as kind if things didn't pick up right away in a second season, so

Here's my biggest fear: "Friday Night Lights" comes back, and its ratings stay about the same as this season. NBC starts moving it around to different nights, confusing potential viewers. Eventually, the show gets pulled completely — either with no sense of resolution or with episodes going up online as an afterthought. It would be an ungraceful death, and this show deserves better.

The rumor that the show could air on Fridays if it returns worries me. Yes, it makes sense to have a show with "Friday" in the name air on that day of the week. But let's face it: Friday is a TV graveyard, and it's certainly not a place shows go to build ratings (example: what happened with "The Wedding Bells" and "Six Degrees" this year). "FNL" is better than either of those shows, but I still don't believe it can surmount the Friday curse — especially in the fall, when a good portion of its target audience is likely to be at actual football games. Of course, there's always the chance that "FNL" gains millions of viewers and becomes a true hit — but I'm not sure it can ever be that big a show.

And what about the story lines set up by this season's cliffhanger? I'm already worried about Tami Taylor having a baby — and while I trust the "FNL" writers to pull it off, new babies have been a jump-the-shark moment for a lot of shows. I like that the Panthers won the state championship, but where does the football story go from here? The show certainly isn't all about sports — the football is just a framework for the small-town dramas — but I don't want it to become a soap opera, either.

If "Friday Night Lights" ended now, I could say it was a perfect and beautiful thing that left me with a satisfying ending after 22 of the best episodes of television I've ever seen. I don't want it to end up battered and bruised, canceled midway through a second season or having its episodes burned off on a Saturday afternoon. Am I just being paranoid? Does anybody else think "FNL" might be better off wrapping up now?

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FNLrocks68 FNLrocks68 9 years
I'm wtih you, BuzzSugar. If NBC, FNL producers, etc. try to tinker with the show to make it more appealing to the masses--no matter how talented and passionate about the show as they are--I'm really afraid they're going to fuck up the chemistry and verisimilitude that makes the show sublime in the first place. The producers are already talking about the show having less football next season if it comes back! HUH?! How do you make a show about a football team and show little to no football?! I understand that the sports aspect may turn off female/non-football liking viewers (I, myself, LOVE football), but that's a significant part of the story. Football isn't just what the town of Dillon (or other small towns) goes crazy about. For many young kids like the fictional Panther players, football is their only ticket out . Either they're good enough to leave town on a college scholarship, or they're stuck there. FOREVER. For many of these kids, there is no "Plan B." And for many of us well-educated viewers--who either grew up or live in major cities--I think it's easy to play down the importance of sports from a self-preservation level. One of the reasons I love the Matt Seracen character so much is that you saw him evolve from a lanky, untested backup QB to gaining confidence and skill on the field, which bled into his off-field life as well. And I admit, I figured and was sort of hoping that the Panthers would LOSE State. What a great motivational story arc that gives the show for season two! I desperately want the show to come back, but I don't want it to suck in the process. I've seen that happen with too many amazing shows ("Homicide," "The X-Files," "Law & Order," etc.). Even "The Sopranos" is languishing in its final few episodes. Note to NBC, Peter Berg, Brian Grazer, etc.: Don't fix something that isn't broke! If "FNL" comes back and turns into a small town version of "The O.C.," I will be livid, channel Elvis and shoot my television!
Keel Keel 9 years
Good points. I definitely don't want FNL to die an ungraceful death, but (1) if it's not given a second season, it will be dead RIGHT NOW, and I don't think I could handle that and (2) maybe Fridays isn't that bad as the expectations for super sky high ratings wouldn't be as great. Also, as for the baby shark jump, you know how after each FNL episode you always say (well, I did), 'wow, that was the best episode ever. how could they possibly top that?' and then the following week, they almost always did. Well, perhaps we should give the writers, producers and actors a great big old chance in that department because they always blew me away each and every week. Not to mention most shows really start hiting their groove in their second to third seasons. Wouldn't it be great if we found out that last season was just a warm-up for all the even-more-awesome awesomeness yet to come?
thegirlisblue thegirlisblue 9 years
I love Friday Night Lights.. I really hope it comes back on the air.. I'm still waiting for Lyla and Tim to get together again ;)
Linda-McP Linda-McP 9 years
Your points are well taken, Buzz. I share your love for and your concerns about FNL not getting a fair second season shake. But like others, I'm selfish and I do want more; yet, if the show would suffer and be diminished, I would be sad for being selfish. This season's finale was satisfying and while I would miss Julie and Matt, Coach and Tami, Jason, Lyla, Grandma and all the rest, I would rather see the show end on a high rather than, as you said, be "battered and bruised" by a network noted for canceling shows. FNL truly was the smartest show on tv this year. Go Panthers!
curlyqmich curlyqmich 9 years
I agree - those are valid points. On the other hand, it's hard, as a big fan, to not yearn for more. Let's hope the summer reruns grab decent ratings and NBC realizes FNL is the definition of great television.
Livience Livience 9 years
I'm torn. While I do think that the first season would be a beautiful and fitting end to the series, I don't want it to die too soon, either. I just enjoy it too much. Maybe I'm being selfish, but I WANT MORE!! *sigh* I just hope that NBC does right by this show and recognizes it for the gem it is.
mallomar mallomar 9 years
Those are all good points. Actually Ive had some of the same concerns myself, but I think that the writers have proved themselves more than capable to take a show ostensibly about high school football and expand it to a very realistic portrait of family, of small town America etc... and I have faith that they can continue to do that. So if only for my own selfish desire to keep watching I hope it stays on and NBC lets it have a full second season.
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