The best show on television?
I know the general consensus among critics is that The Wire is currently the best show on television. However, I don't watch The Wire, because I really can't handle shows that are too gritty (The Sopranos is enough for me).
So I'm going to make my vote for Friday Night Lights. Is there anything that could be improved about this show? If so, I can't think of it. The writing is moving and realistic, the acting is great, the cinematography is effective, the small characters are perfect and they get the small details right (do football players in East Texas really have huge signs on their front lawns with their name, jersey number and position? I suspect so!). I love it.
I particularly loved last night's episode. Lyla Garritty might very well be the Best Girlfriend Ever, but for her transgression with Tim Riggins (but if one were to ever cheat, shouldn't it be with someone just like Riggins?). But despite her wholesomeness she doesn't come across as unrealistic or saccharine. Just like a teenager who is really in love and wants to do be the best person she can.
I love that the show is consistent about giving Smash barely-perceptible acne, even when his steroid use has not been profiled for the last few weeks (although it looks like that storyline comes to a head in next week's episode). And I loved his speech to Waverly about who he is and how he loves not only football but the crowd, the attention, and everything that comes along with being a star (as well as his admission that, like Rickey, he will continue speaking about himself in the third person).
Was there any doubt that Tyra's home life would be exactly as it was? No surprise there. What I loved the most about her scenes was her talk with her mom about getting out of Dillon, and her mom telling her that she did leave once, for Dallas. Actually, during this talk I did think to myself "are you telling me that the girl who wants to get out so badly never knew her mother moved to Dallas at 18?" So maybe there was a slight point of unrealism. But regardless, I thought it was effective, because it reminded us not only that Tyra wants to get out, but also that it is easy to be pulled right back in. And the fact that her bonding moment with her mother was interrupted by Abusive Boyfriend of the Week made it all the more poignant.
For me, the most poignant storyline of all is Jason Street's. Sure, Matt Seracen's story is sad, he is a 16 year old with a lot on his plate and no help, and his selfless act in telling his dad to return to Iraq--and to think that someone would prefer Iraq to selling cars for Buddy Garritty--was totally in character. (On a sidenote, Buddy Garritty is a great minor character. I loved his sleaziness in making Seracen's father wear the flag pin, and I adored his scene in church, recognizing that god is truly all-powerful because he ensured the Panthers would make the playoffs and then saying "You know what I'm going to ask for next, god" when he prayed that they would win state. But then we do see the more human side of him, like when he stood by his daughter after finding out she had cheated on Jason with Riggins.)
But Jason's story is my favorite. I love his character, I guess because I'm a sucker for a good kid who has something go wrong, and continues to be a good kid. The scene where Jason starts trying to convince himself that maybe his parents and the lawyers are right about the merit of his lawsuit was great. You could see him doing it not only for his mom, but also for himself, so that he could live with the decision. Of course, he couldn't stop himself from apologizing to his coach, because he's a good kid who can't stand what's going on around him, but can't stop it either. And the new Jason-as-outcast story will be interesting to watch as well. I want to see how a town of people who loved Jason as a quarterback and supported him when he was paralyzed justifies ostracizing him now that he is suing the Dillon Panthers.
Although Jason is my favorite character, my favorite scenes are always those between Coach Taylor and his wife. Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton are so incredibly realistic as a married couple, and there banter always makes me laugh out loud. Which is something I don't do often while watching TV. Their tiff last week over Riggins' education, where Tami kept telling her husband that she couldn't even believe they were arguing because she was so obviously right, was priceless, particularly when Coach Taylor actually listened to her and told Riggins he had better pass (without rally girl help) if he wanted to play.
I guess I have written a pretty long review only to say what I said in the first two paragraphs here. Friday Night Lights is about as perfect as television shows come.