Dear Friday Night Lights,
I finished watching the last episode of your fifth and final season on Saturday evening. My eyes were red from crying, my heart was breaking to say goodbye to these characters – characters I only met in April (thanks to the art of watching seasoned DVDs one after another – Thanks, Jacques!) but felt as though I had known or met throughout my life. I understand that this letter seems to be getting dramatic and hyperemotional, but this all comes from a genuine place.
I have to say – I have never seen a show quite like you before. This was the first series where I would forget at times that there were actors at play and scripts delivered – the realism of the stories and people, the depiction of every life and issues without the sensationalism and histrionics. Never seen it before, don’t think I will again. You introduced to me to characters who lived and breathed and were three dimensional and established a canvas for a show that never took its audience for idiots, nor (for the most part) forget its history that you created.
There were some mishaps along the way (perfection is strived for, never fully grasped) but here are five reasons why this show was one of the best:
- Eric and Tami Taylor. They were the anchors to this entire experience. The realistic depiction of their marriage and family upbringing was beautiful and real. I give a knee to Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton for their multi-faceted portrayal of a couple, clearly still in love with each other, and willing to be leaders rather than followers.
- The young cast is quite possibly the best I have seen in a television show. Their acting was so natural and humane – their glances told a story more than script pages. And the passage of time was part of the show’s evolution in that students got older and left to make way for new characters – brilliance and showed that if this is done correctly, every show could do this. To Scott Porter, Minka Kelly, Adrianne Palicki, Taylor Kitsch, Gaius Charles, Jesse Plemens, Zach Gilford, Aimee Teegarden, Michael B. Jordan, Madison Burge, Jurnee Smollett, Dan Lauria and the cast of secondary characters who went in and out of this realm throughout the show – all I can say is WOW.
- The show treated everyone with respect. You had strippers, jocks, drug addicts, mothers, fathers, absentee parents, alcoholics, right wing Catholics – and you loved them all for who they are and for what circumstances brought them to points in their lives.
- The cinematography shook and moved and never stayed still. You felt like you were watching a documentary every week. You were a citizen of Dillon, Texas and you saw the life that lived there.
- This wasn’t shot on a sound stage – you were in homes with details and items strewn everywhere. You were in Texas and you saw surroundings that were authentic.
- The writing. I mentioned it already, but Friday Night Lights trusted its audience and there was no pandering. It trusted you to know the history and life of these characters and you went along for the ride with them.
I have watched the last montage from the last episode about 5 times since. I have listened to “Devil Knows You’re Dead” by Delta Spirit (the song that is played over the last scene) about 15 times since downloading it from iTunes. I am happy to say that this show enters the realm of Freaks and Geeks and Buffy and Felicity for me. It’s been a really long time since a show moved me with story and characters to such an extent without jumping the shark. You never did, and you can have glory knowing thatyou didn’t.
Farewell – I may have to purchase you.