“Lights” Out


Tonight is the series finale of Friday Night Lights on DirecTV in the U.S., though many will catch up with it later (the last DVD set is apparently scheduled to be released even before NBC starts airing the final season). James Poniewozik has a tribute to the greatness of the show in the print edition of Time, and Alan Sepinwall mentions some of the show’s greatest moments.

I have a feeling that eventually the fan rage over season 2 will fade, if it hasn’t started to fade already. Yes, the dead-body storyline came off as a sop to the demands of network audiences — both broadcast and cable — for melodrama. But I didn’t feel the show had crossed over into full-blown sensationalism; if it had, it wouldn’t have bounced back from that story as easily as it did. It was more a sophomore slump of a forgivable nature, where a show is trying to broaden its appeal and come up with new ideas, and comes up with some weaker stories as a result — like The Rockford Files season 2 or some other show that became a bit too broad in its second season, but snapped back in its third. (Not that FNL is anything like The Rockford Files; I’m just using that as an example of a show whose second season produced some good episodes, but others that seemed to be trying too hard to make the show more of a mass favourite.) The DirecTV seasons were better, but they do grow out of what came before, including the second season, and eventually it may be forgiven for its lapses in style. If Buffy season 6 can be forgiven by many fans, why not FNL season 2?

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“Lights” Out

  1. Loved the show and sad to see it go.

  2. It will be hard to find a replacement for this show. It's been a wonderful 5 seasons and I'm definitely going to miss it! RIGGINS!

  3. Great show. I never quite understood why this show didn't do better ratings wise. The acting has been terrific, so too has the writing (save for the aforementioned dead body stuff). They handled character roll over quite well, something most high school shows are unable to do. I feel as connected to the actors who have been in the last couple of season as I do to those from the first two or three.

  4. I think the difference between Buffy season 6 and FNL season 2 is that even at time of air, Buffy season 6 had hard-core defenders (a group which has actually increased in numbers in the years since, I'd wager), including some big-name critics who defended the show. Thus, the season became less about being disappointing–which was the feeling as it aired–and more about having to see that season and make up your own mind about it. Pretty much everybody disliked FNL season 2 from air until then. Similarly to Buffy, the Sopranos finale, which many people hated on first viewing, has gained a better reputation almost solely because the people purporting a certain theory related to the conclusion made it seem as though you had to see it to make up your own mind.

  5. Semi-defender of FNL s2 here. I actually liked the resolution of the Landry arc, and much of the rest of the season, but it was the weakest.

    But you've goaded me into saying it one more time: I will never understand why people did not like Buffy s6.

    Agree with TVDW's general point about polarizing seasons. Lately I'm finding I respect season 6 of Lost more the more I think about it. (Though at some point need to actually WATCH it again to see how it really looks in retrospect.)

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