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After spending last year writing about all of the reasons why more people needed to watch NBC’s “Friday Night Lights”, I wanted to wait and give the show a chance to redeem itself from its terrible premiere episode that caused fan controversy before it even aired.
However, after watching last Friday’s episode, I can no longer hold back my disappointment. One of the best written dramas of the last several TV seasons has now betrayed its core audience by turning the series into a Texas-style version of “The O.C.” In the process, “Lights: has left behind the authentic, heroic storylines that originally made fans cheer.


The first and biggest misstep did come in the first episode when one of the two teens on the show with a strong moral compass, Landry, kills a man who was stalking the girl he has pined for all throughout high school, Tyra. This was a pick-up from last season when the man tried to rape Ali while she was waiting for Landry to show up at a restaurant. If “Lights” producers and writers wanted viewers to think this was heroic – akin to making Landry a knight in shining armor – they probably shouldn’t have had Landry go back and kill the guy after the man was already injured and semi-unconscious. Having Landry and Tyra throw the dead body in the river to cover up the incident also smacked of nothing better than tacky teen soap operadom.
Not only has “Lights” ruined a perfectly good hero in Landry, they haven’t done much better trying to turn their resident bad boy Riggins into a Christian. Yes, it wasn’t enough to turn perky former cheerleader Lila into a sanctimonious goody two-shoes, but in last week’s episode, teen alcoholic Riggins decided to come to Lila’s megachurch to give Jesus a chance.
Because I am a Christian, you might think I would be thrilled with such a possible story arc as two troubled teens turning to God for salvation. I suppose I would be, except that it seems that the entire storyline is crafted to throw Riggins and Lila back together again and that Riggins may be using his new found faith to hit on Lila. Nothing heroic about that, either.
The only bright spot on “Lights” this season has been the plot line involving Coach Taylor and his wife Tammy as he deals with new job pressures and she has a post-partum meltdown. Once again, this couple makes the difficult and brave choices necessary for their marriage to grow.
Is that enough for Coach Taylor to save this losing season? Not for this “Friday” viewer.

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