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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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