Idol Chatter

You might think that after writing- no, gushing – about “Friday Night Lights” for three years, I would have nothing left to rave about when it comes to the NBC “FNL” season 4 premiere this Friday. Think again. I agreed with all of the critical praise heaped on the show when the season four episodes first aired on DirecTV last fall. This season, despite an overcrowded, slightly-less-than-perfect premiere, is arguably the best of the entire series. And I could write about any number of interesting spoilers regarding the plots for this season. However, I think I would rather frame the richness of the show’s stories in season four with the words of Coach Taylor: “What kind of a man are you?” On a show where the motif of fatherless teens growing up too hard and too fast has been portrayed in many ways, it’s an especially poignant question this season.

It’s the question that Coach Taylor must ask his ragged and ill-equipped new football team as he tries to create something out of nothing at East Dillon High School where he is the new head coach.It’s the question that haunts former Panthers quarterback Matt Saracen as he faces the decision to leave Dillon or to stay there for the women in his life – girlfriend Julie and his ill grandmother. It’s a question he must ask himself again when tragedy strikes close to home. And it’s the question one East DIllon teen asks himself when he is faced with a choice that could mean life or death.
As is always the case on “FNL”, the answer to the question is not handled in ways that are pat or preachy, yet always inspiring. Sometimes the question doesn’t really get answered at all- which is exactly what makes “FNL” so authentic and makes this underrated, underappreciated show simply one of the best on televsion.

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