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?