Season Four of Friday Night Lights debuts on NBC
May 7th, 2010
Back in the fall, I reviewed the critically acclaimed (to be awesome) fourth season of Friday Night Lights when it aired exclusively on DirecTV – tonight, as I hope someone else made you aware since I was asleep at the wheel, the fourth season made its debut on NBC, so I figured I should direct you to my review from the fall. I didn’t realize that I had written 3500 words about it way back when, but it seems I did, so if you’re looking for some analysis of the season premiere I’ve got you covered for an inordinate amount of time.
What becomes clear in this fourth season premiere is that the first season wasn’t an underdog story at all, but rather a story of a team recapturing glory that never really left them but for those brief moments when all seemed lost. The story of the East Dillon Lions, handicapped by a biased redistricting that we were once on the other side of, is a true underdog story because this team has nothing. Not only are they handicapped by the inexperienced nature of its players, but they are also crippled by their lack of that community surrounding them – they don’t have lobbyists, they don’t have an experienced coaching staff, and they only have a few storefront signs to bring them together.
All they have is Eric Taylor, a true underdog whose only weapons are his coaching ability and the words (and the emotions behind them) that inspired the Panthers to victory for three years. With them, he needs to build not only a football team but a community around it, the equivalent to Noah’s Ark more than a texas high school football team. “East of Dillon” establishes this challenge, and tells us two things: Eric Taylor is going to make this work, and the people who are going to help him are slowly lining up to be a part of it.
And I’m already in the stands to enjoy the result.
I’ll be posting links to past reviews as the season progresses (perhaps only on Twitter from this point onwards), and I’ll also be filling in some gaps (including, believe it or not, the season finale), so stay tuned.