FNL: Preserved For Posterity In an Inferior Version


You know, when Friday Night Lights started doing two different versions of its episodes for the two networks it’s on — a longer version for DirecTV, and a shorter version for the commercial-filled world of NBC — I assumed that the longer versions would be the ones released to DVD. Apparently not:

We’ve found out, directly from the studio, that the Friday Night Lights – The 3rd Season DVD release will actually contain the NBC edits of the 13 episodes. Furthermore, we’ve also learned that the music on these discs won’t be what was originally broadcast; some portions of the music will be changed for the home video release.

I have a feeling that NBC/Universal will get enough complaints over this decision that the longer cuts will wind up being used for the fourth and fifth seasons.  But geez. The music changes are understandable, if unfortunate, given that NBC will only release FNL on DVD at the lowest possible price point. (DVDs at that price are not so much a way of making money as a super-cheap way of making people sample the show, and therefore hopefully watch it on TV.) But setting NBC’s 42-minute running times in stone for posterity is something else again.

Even weirder is that one of the special features for the DVD is, of course, “Deleted scenes,” meaning that the deleted scenes section will probably include scenes that originally aired as part of the episodes. I don’t mind DVDs not editing in the scenes that were cut for time (I prefer it that way; there are few after-the-fact “extended cuts” of episodes that are real improvements), but these scenes weren’t actually deleted, not originally.

Looking for more?

Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.