With the rise and accessibility of cell phones has come …
Friday Night Lights
Friday Night Lights had a unique journey, to say the least. Based on the novel of the same name, which was adapted into a film first, the series premiered in 2007 on NBC to critical praise but didn’t manage to find a significant audience. NBC supported the series, bringing it back for a truncated season two (courtesy of the Writers Strike), but season three seemed unlikely to happen until NBC worked out a deal with DirecTV to cost-share the series, renewing it for season three, and then in one fell swoop, four and five. Because of this rocky road, the creators actually ended up crafting three separate episodes intended to function as series finales, season one’s “State”, season three’s “Tomorrow Blues”, and season five’s “Always”. Many series struggle to create a meaningful series finale. Jason Katims and the Friday Night Lights team made three.
Fruitvale Station is a series of vignettes searching in vain for connective tissue. Its anchor is the excellent young actor Michael B. Jordan, and while he and the other performers in this dramatization of a harrowing recent tragedy are all solid, the final product is still a bit too scattered to make an impact, despite the moment-to-moment resonance.
The opening images in a pilot are usually incredibly specific ones. They’ve been chosen as the very first thing viewers will see, what will introduce them to this series and help them decide whether to tune in or flip to something else. In Alias, it’s Sydney Bristow’s face, her head held under water. In Battlestar Galactica, it’s a ticking clock. In Justified it’s a man in a cowboy hat and boots, heading to a duel at high noon. In Friday Night Lights, it’s Texas.