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Danny Franks

Friday Night Lights

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More generally, I had some issues with FNL's depiction of race. While it is commendable that FNL tackled race head on and did not ignore like some shows may have, I think it too often resorted to racial stereotypes. And I think the resolution to the Mac storyline was poorly handled.

 

Actually, I think a lot of us didn't like the Mac storyline when it aired. The whole thing with Reyes was poorly handled. The show didn't do well with addressing issues with Hispanics or rather they ignored them more often than not. I am not an African American so I can't speak with all authority on the depictions. I am a visible minority though. I think the show did well when dealing with race for Smash, Jess, and Vince. Mostly, I think all three characters were well rounded and their background impacted their interactions with the environment and their goals. I think Smash particularly represented how many African Americans use football and sports as a way to escape poverty. 

 

I didn't think FNL's racial themes were always perfect, but I think the show was much more realistic and honest about it than other shows at that time and even now. Drunken Bee wrote in a recap that the show was "colour aware" as opposed to the Grey's Anatomy model of being "colour blind". Race and ethnic background just as with gender should not define characters or people, but they shape people's interactions with society and the world. I can't really think of many mainstream or good character arcs featuring visible minority teens on TV right now.

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Best TV series ever for me. With the exception of Season 2 and the East Dillon move reaction. It bothered me to no end that the East Dillon staff and coaches acted like they didnt know the students. Didn't all the students come from Dillion HS? The school just split, so it wasn't a new student body.

 

That bothered me the first time I watched the show but on rewatches I figured that not all of the students had gone to Dillon HS prior to the redistricting.  More like kids on the extreme edge of Dillon may have been bused into another school in the county, and were pushed back into East Dillon with the changes.  So, kind of like 2 or even more schools getting dumped into the re-opened school.  Of course this was all in my head and never discussed on the show :D

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I liked the Mac storyline because it showed a facet of racial issues that's rarely covered on TV: That someone can be staunchly against racism when it's obvious (like some white cops trying to harass a black kid or a team needing to be integrated), but clueless when it's not obvious (like racial stereotypes related to sports). What was great about that story was that Mac came off like a real guy, a good, well-meaning guy, who simply could not see how his upbringing and environment had affected his subconscious views about race. And then Smash and the others got to see that it's not so simple as good guys and bad guys when it comes to racial issues. It's a whole lot more complicated than that. And then to add to it, Tami failed with her do-good pep rally, which felt incredibly real. Educators are always trying, and they fail often. I thought that story was one of their best.

 

The Reyes thing came out of nowhere, but didn't bother me much. The point was to show how things can get out of hand, I think. I liked that.

Edited by madam magpie
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I recently saw a trailer for The Grand Seduction, in which Taylor Kitsch stars as a doctor that a small down-at-heels Canadian town is trying to lure so they can land a factory deal. Sort of a folksy comedy with a bit of rom-com thrown in, I guess. I almost didn't recognize him clean cut with short hair, and with the Canadian accent he had to tame to play Riggins. Trailer here.

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What was great about that story was that Mac came off like a real guy, a good, well-meaning guy, who simply could not see how his upbringing and environment had affected his subconscious views about race. And then Smash and the others got to see that it's not so simple as good guys and bad guys when it comes to racial issues.

I think that's what bothered me about it--the focus became Mac and generating sympathy for him and his "well-meaning" ways. How the heck did a story about an assistant coach making racist comments become a story about how the black kid learns a lesson?? At least, that's how I remember it. I'll have to come back and rewatch, but I just remember thinking that this was such a missed opportunity for the show to critically deal with race. 

 

And then there's Voodoo. Talk about missed opportunity. Here was a kid who had survived Katrina but had basically lost everything. What does the show do? Turn him into an angry, racist, "thug" stereotype with no other qualities. I thought that the Katrina background was such an interesting addition, but the show did absolutely nothing with it. Why couldn't Coach work harder to mentor and reach out to Voodoo like he had done with other troubled players? Why couldn't we see another side to Voodoo and deal with the obvious pain he was feeling regarding having to leave his school due to a natural disaster. And what made it worse is that the show painted him as a villain because he was replacing "angelic" Saracen as QB. Consider the respective races of these two individuals, and you will see why it is problematic. (Which is another reason I never fell for the "OMG how adorable is Saracen!!!11!1" thing)

 

BTW, I'm not saying that the show never handled race well. I think the characters of Smash, Vince, and Jess, while problematic at times, were well-drawn. Smash was one of my favorite characters by the third season, so the show was doing something right. 

Edited by Hava

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This might be unpopular, but I hated Landry/Tyra. It was just all of the worst Nice Guy tropes lumped into one unwatchable mess. He went from being one of my favourite minor characters to being someone I dreaded seeing on the screen, with his self righteous insistence that he was 'better' than other guys, and his shaming of Tyra for not wanting to date him, or not being happy with him. 

 

I recall one instance that really, really rubbed me up the wrong way, near the end of the first season. At the Panthers Roast, Landry said some rather unpleasant stuff about Riggins (not to Riggins of course), because Tyra had the gall to attend the event with him. I can't remember the exact comments, but along the lines of him being a worthless drunk who wasn't good enough for her. And this was just a few of episodes after Riggins and Landry had bonded a little over Of Mice and Men, and Riggins had willingly gone to a Crucifictorious gig (which not even Matt and Julie were seen to attend). And Landry was so quick to just spew venom about Riggins just to make himself feel better and to make Tyra feel worse. And then Riggins even greeted Landry affectionately in that same scene, to rub salt in the wound even more.

 

So yeah, Landry was pure Nice Guy for me, from that point onwards. Jackass.

 

I also felt almost nothing for the East Dillon Lions, and the players on that team. They weren't my team, and no amount of Coach Taylor and his hair, frowning on the sidelines, would change that. I remember Smash's words at the end of season 1, "I'm a Panther", and they were true for me. I hated that the show did that, just to give them some underdog story and the villainous Joe McCoy and spawn to fight against. And I was so happy to see the Lions' signage being taken down and their field being used as a car park, while the Panthers grew strong again, at the end of the show. Buddy got his team back, and so did I.

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This might be unpopular, but I hated Landry/Tyra. It was just all of the worst Nice Guy tropes lumped into one unwatchable mess. He went from being one of my favourite minor characters to being someone I dreaded seeing on the screen, with his self righteous insistence that he was 'better' than other guys, and his shaming of Tyra for not wanting to date him, or not being happy with him.

 

 

Yes! I posted something very similar in the Gender on Television thread.

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This might be unpopular, but I hated Landry/Tyra. It was just all of the worst Nice Guy tropes lumped into one unwatchable mess. He went from being one of my favourite minor characters to being someone I dreaded seeing on the screen, with his self righteous insistence that he was 'better' than other guys, and his shaming of Tyra for not wanting to date him, or not being happy with him.

 

Yes! it ruined the Landry character. They sorta redeemed him with Jess, but he and Tyra had no chemistry, They were involved in the worse FNL storyline, and he acted like a dick to her.

 

I think the opinion of them together wasn't exactly popular either.

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How the heck did a story about an assistant coach making racist comments become a story about how the black kid learns a lesson?? 

 

 

Everyone has something to learn, even black kids. I'd say in this case, though, that everyone associated with the storyline learned a lesson, including Coach, Mac, Tami, and all the black players. That was the whole point. Race issues are a lot more complicated than the black kid is always right and the old white guy is always wrong. This storyline portrayed that complexity perfectly.

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Funny..I think she was the best actress not named Connie Britton on the show. 

In terms of series regulars at least.

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Funny..I think she was the best actress not named Connie Britton on the show. 

In terms of series regulars at least.

 

I thought Aimee Teegarden was great in the role as well. She had the perfect mannerisms for whatever the occasion might be (given that she was a teen herself, I guess it came naturally). Julie is an adorable, precocious sweetheart. Check. Julie is a vile, selfish brat? Check. Julie is falling for her first boy? Check. I never had any problems with her performances in the show, it was just the writing of the character that annoyed me at times.

 

And like I said, she was a teenager at the time. In her first regular acting gig, and regularly in scenes with far, far more seasoned actors, most of whom were killing it in every scene they had. It was a lot to deal with, and I think she did it admirably.

 

I think the character just suffered badly at the same time other characters did. Namely, in the almost universally ill-advised second season (where the only good thing was the Tim/Lyla/Jason possible threesome in Mexico), and then when they kept her on the show but isolated her from the rest of the cast, when they probably should have just let her go off to college and leave it at that.

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If season 2 was better..and perhaps if they hadn't retconned Tyra, Riggins and Lyla's ages..or Landry's to a lesser extent. That kinda always bugged me.

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Honestly, I wish that it wasn't Tyra, or Lyla who brought Tim out of his funk but rather Jason. Also I'm bitter that there's a final "Texas Forever" scene with them that we're likely never gonna see.

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This show accurately depicted my miserable hometown in which the school system was designed to create football players. Most of the people pretended they were all future NFL stars and let them get away with anything since a black mark on their record could ruin their future careers in professional football. Until a few years ago not a single one of them had even made onto a major college football team.

 

The longtime coach was slightly less powerful than the mayor. He once beat up a kid in his driveway in front of the neighbors. People called the police but they refused to show up. When the incident was reported in the local newspaper, people accused it of becoming a tabloid.

 

Our football stadium was built entirely from donations, sponsorships, and season ticket sales. No public funds were needed but it was built when the town was booming. When I graduated however, the town's unemployment rate was 25%, High school football was the only thing some people had. Like Dillion its good years were in the past. There were so many similarities to Dillon I stopped counting. It was uncanny. 

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I didn't watch the show until recently when I Netflixed it.  Julie was a really uneven character.  I really thought she had some borderline mental illness by the final season.  The way she acted and reacted to her situation at school was really bizarre (although that situation was portrayed very unrealistically).  Crashing her car on purpose was not something a mentally healthy person does.  I was disappointed that Julie never really learned to stand on her own two feet.

 

As an aside, and I realize that this is unkind, but I was distracted by AT's teeth during most of her scenes.  Her two front teeth are much longer than the others -- it was jarring.  I often wondered why she didn't have them fixed.  I haven;t seen her in anything else, but I once looked her up on IMDB and thought she was beautiful as a brunette.  Not sure what her natural color is, but she shouldn't go blonde again.

Edited by Jillybean

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I'm watching season 1 again (LOVE), and it reminded that Jason was one of my favorites in the beginning. I remember watching the pilot for the first time, and my immediate reaction to his accident was thinking that this guy was no longer going to be on the show. But, the show did something I had never seen before and actually followed Jason's recovery and he was one of the show's central characters. I thought that was fantastic and I have to give the show major props for that because it would have been easy to just ignore it. Watching him come to terms with the fact that his football dreams were over and finding his place in the world was really great to watch. And him becoming a Panthers coach was one of my favorite developments of the whole show! But, as many people have commented, his character began to lose me a little bit towards the end of the first season and almost completely in the second season. First, he dropped out of high school, which I thought was dumb but ok, I accepted it. But then he didn't go to college either and I absolutely could not understand why. While it was understandable that Jason felt that he needed to find his "calling" or whatever, it also seemed like he--or the show--forgot that he was still super young and had his whole life ahead of him. Why couldn't he go to college and get an education and then figure out what the rest of his life would be like? And him deciding not to coach anymore, but then going on to become a car salesman and then an agent. It was just too all over the place for me. But the worst storyline ever had to be his baby storyline. First, I will never forgive him for essentially pushing Erin to have a baby she wasn't ready to have. Second, it was another case of him thinking that he had to make all his life decisions right then and pushing himself to grow up much faster than he needed to. I absolutely loved the final scene between him and Riggins because I adore him and Riggins together, but I absolutely did not love how Jason got there and where he ended up (as a young father). Sigh. 

 

And then there's Jason and Lyla. I will again give major props to this show because it had me invested in both Jason and Lyla's relationship and Lyla and Tim's relationship, which never happens to me (I always choose a ship!). While I loved Tim and Lyla's relationship in the later seasons and would have loved to see them end up together, I had a soft spot for Jason and Lyla and don't think I would have been upset if they had ended up together. I found their relationship intriguing from the very beginning. Yes, it was cliche. It was heartbreaking to see a couple who had built their lives around each other falling apart, but I also loved seeing Lyla face the fact that she had built her life around Jason and now she would have to discover what she wanted to do and who she wanted to be. Damn, that was so awesome for a female character. And, in the beginning, it felt inevitable that they would find different paths and would break up. But I can't say I liked how the show got there. Jason becoming immersed in quad rugby and Lyla feeling like Jason was moving in a different direction without her was very believable (although I still can't figure out why he was being so insensitive towards her during that time and why he was ignoring her feelings about her parent's break up, but I think that was more a problem with the show than the character). But then Lyla came to the training to visit Jason and they really sold me on the their love. First, Jason declaring his love for Lyla in that epic speech about nothing being bigger than them. Second, the "victory" of the them finally connecting on an intimate level. I absolutely loved it. But then the very next episode, Jason is telling tattoo girl that she's so easy to talk to (it was never made clear that he found Lyla not easy to talk to), he's kissing tattoo girl, and lashing out at Lyla again. Huh? I thought that was a very poor choice on the part of the show because it just rang false and felt inconsistent with what had come before. And then Jason became a Panthers coach, and the excuse that Lyla and Jason were moving in different directions didn't really seem to fit anymore and, in fact, it seemed like it would be the perfect opportunity for them to be together. And then in season 2 (I'm sorry this is so long) the time jump means that we miss any of the fall-out from Jason and Lyla--two people who had planned their futures together and who were completely in love--breaking up. There is not angst, no tension, nothing between them. And I think that was a disservice to their characters and their relationship. I'm definitely not saying that they shouldn't have broken up. I just think the way it was done was too abrupt and actually did not live up to the inevitability that was set up in the very first episode. Unfortunately, I was really disappointed in their goodbye scene because none of their history came through there--it just felt like two regular friends saying goodbye to one another and not two people who were once so in love. 

 

I think the ultimate question I'm left with is this: would Jason and Lyla have broken up if Jason had not become paralyzed? Did his paralysis just make them realize the differences between them, or did the paralysis actually change them? Unfortunately, I don't think the show was clear on this point because I never understood why they broke up at the time they did.

Edited by Hava

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I never understood why they broke up at the time they did.

 

Didn't they break up because Lyla had sex with Tim? They got back together but Jason then had that whatever with the tatoo artist and Lyla threw the ring back at him. I don't remember if they reconciled after that.

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Didn't they break up because Lyla had sex with Tim? They got back together but Jason then had that whatever with the tatoo artist and Lyla threw the ring back at him. I don't remember if they reconciled after that.

 

 

You're right. Sorry, I wasn't more clear. I know that Jason kissing the tattoo girl was ultimately what ended their relationship, but what I didn't understand was how they got there, I guess. I didn't understand why Jason was kissing tattoo girl in the first place and why he was treating Lyla like shit when the episode before he was telling her that there was nothing bigger than them. I hope that makes sense.

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It was kind of sudden.

Jason was my favorite character of the whole show. Not a fan of his reduction in s2 and 3. (Like when Tim was looking for a place to live...why not Jason's?)

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Since we are speaking of Jason and Lyla ... I will never, ever not love the scene between them when Jason goes off on his rant about losing quad rugby, everyone being mad at him about the lawsuit and bitching at Lyla for making his cup of water so full that it spilled on him.  Her reaction, to grab the water back fling it in his face and yell "You want to play quad rugby? Go find another team.  You don't want the lawsuit?  Find a way to make it go away.  And the next time you want water?  TRY SAYING PLEASE." made me cheer that girl on.  Sometimes tough love is necessary and Jason was being an asshole :D

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I watched The Son last night, which was such a mistake. I've seen it numerous times and I still found myself a complete wreck. Zach Gilford did such a good job with his scenes. I wasn't a huge fan of the last two seasons, since the original Panthers mean everything to me, but that episode is perfection. The team back together on the field, Tami being a kickass mom to Matt with the arrangements, Coach being Coach. Ugh, everything was perfect and everything was devastating. 

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I'm a fan of the "Mrs. Coach" line. I also liked when Billy described his forthcoming kids as "little Rigglettes." Lastly, when Matt showed up at the Taylor's door during the series finale and Eric just looks at him and goes, "What the hell are you doing here?" I don't know why, but that made me laugh really hard. Like Eric was so mad for some reason at Matt being at their doorstep.

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I watched The Son last night, which was such a mistake. I've seen it numerous times and I still found myself a complete wreck. Zach Gilford did such a good job with his scenes. I wasn't a huge fan of the last two seasons, since the original Panthers mean everything to me, but that episode is perfection. The team back together on the field, Tami being a kickass mom to Matt with the arrangements, Coach being Coach. Ugh, everything was perfect and everything was devastating. 

 

I made the same mistake a few weeks ago.  I discovered FNL is rerunning on some random network on my cable (Pivot?) and started watching "The Son."  By myself.  While I was drinking wine.  So, so many tears. Such a phenomenally done episode.  FNL at its finest for sure.  

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I just finished a binge watch. I liked Matt and I liked Julie and I liked them together, but I was really disappointed by the proposal and the talk with the parents. Julie starts in on how she's not going to quit college and her parents should trust her and of course her parents say they do trust her, but why? Why do they trust a girl who is only two months removed from having an affair with a married teacher and then nearly dropping out of school because of it? And why does Matt feel rushed to propose to the girl who he had very recently told she needed to get herself together because he didn't want to be her back up plan?  If the show runners wanted them together at the end, they could have written a story about them starting to get back together and figuring out how that was going to work.

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Julie starts in on how she's not going to quit college and her parents should trust her and of course her parents say they do trust her, but why? Why do they trust a girl who is only two months removed from having an affair with a married teacher and then nearly dropping out of school because of it?

I had a major gripe with this too. 

 

I found it hard to buy Julie having sex with a married man no matter what bullcrap story he gave her. I felt the TA storyline was written for Coach and Tami's reactions instead of being an organic Julie story. Julie's comment to her parents and them saying they did trust her mere weeks after the TA mess only reinforced my beliefs. 

Edited by GodsBeloved
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This isn't a criticism or even an UO necessarily, but I do feel that Kyle Chandler was underrated. I liked Tami and Connie Britton was great. I think Chandler deserved a lot of credit as well.

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In "The Son" when the scene was set up to make us think Coach was going to say something fatherly or comforting or moving, and instead he realized Matt was alone and his father was just killed, and what he needed was someone to be there, so he said: "let me walk you home," and off they went. I thought that was so beautifully written. And of course acted.

When Coach brought Smash his acceptance letter to A&M, Smash read it, looked up and said: "I'll make you proud."

Every last second of the final scene of the series, from the first line (Coach to Vince): "You've got to give the receivers time," to the last (Tami to Coach): "You ready to go?" Camera pans out, Tami and Coach walk off the field, and the (Friday Night) lights dim.

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Seeing Landry making meth over on Breaking Bad has added such ridiculous conversations to our family dinners. We talk about how Landry's murder in season 2 was his gateway into being  like "Screw it" and leaving Texas and going to New Mexico. So silly but it makes us all laugh and laugh. 

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It's been awhile sicne I've watched FNL so please forgive me if I get some of the details wrong.

When the East Dillon Lions are holding a banquet in honor of Coach Taylor and I think it's Tinker who says "you changed my life and I love you for that" *sob*.

The East Dillon Lions in the locker room before the state game.

The final montage of the series.

The whole episode 'Stay' makes me weep and emotionally affects me more than 'The Son' for how warmly and respectfully it handles the end of teenage love just floors me.

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I'm pile-driving through FNL on Netflix.  I'm wrapping up season 4 right now, with two eps to go.   I have to say, while season four is high in quality, it doesn't spark my devotion the way the first three did. I miss Tyra, I miss Lyla and Jason, and I'm not crazy about the East Dillon crew.  I feel the storylines are driven more by social awareness and less about character/idea exploration.  I mean, it's still damn good stuff, and the acting is amazing.  Just not loving it like I did the first three seasons....

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I'm pile-driving through FNL on Netflix.  I'm wrapping up season 4 right now, with two eps to go.   I have to say, while season four is high in quality, it doesn't spark my devotion the way the first three did. I miss Tyra, I miss Lyla and Jason, and I'm not crazy about the East Dillon crew.  I feel the storylines are driven more by social awareness and less about character/idea exploration.  I mean, it's still damn good stuff, and the acting is amazing.  Just not loving it like I did the first three seasons....

That's pretty much how I felt about season 4. I didn't even watch it when it was airing, because once I learned that Tim was going to drop out of college and come back to Dillon, I was so disappointed. I decided to consider season 3 the end of the show, so everyone could go out on more of a high.

In the end, I did watch season 4, but I just felt no connection to the East Dillon kids or the East Dillon Lions. They weren't my team, the Panthers were my team, and I really resented them being turned into pantomime villains like they were.

Yes, I missed Lyla and Tyra and Street as well, and even as I was watching I wanted Tim to be gone, at college, and Matt doing more than working with that skeevy junkyard artist guy. So at least I got to see Matt head off and start his adult life, but Tim's story just got more and more depressing. I never watched the show to see people fail, and I was under the impression that the whole ethos of it was that, if you try your best, you will succeed. "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose", right?

That's an interesting point about the storylines being driven more by social awareness issues. I hadn't considered that before. To an extent the show always dealt with issues like those (not well, some of the time), but I agree that they leaned much more on those themes in the 4th season. I was always a little confused over how the show seemed to turn Dillon from a small, rundown old oil town to something that felt much larger, with its own inner city style ghettos. Much like Sunnydale went from a small California town to a place with its own university, seaport and airport.

When I rewatch episodes, I almost never pick those from the last two seasons. Occasionally one that focuses heavily on the original characters, but I mostly stick to seasons 1 or 3.

Edited by Danny Franks
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I love them as a couple.  They respect each other but don't have to agree on everything.  The physical and emotional intimacy they showed felt very authentic and real.

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I think we were supposed to conclude that Julie was just broken without Matt.  Once they split up she kind of lost her freaking mind.  I was sad I never got to see a daddy/Julie hug at the end...their bond really never recovered her affair.

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Whenever Julie wasn't dating Matt (other than the first few episodes of the show, before they got together), she was written pretty terribly. It seemed like the show wanted to use her to explore the trials and tribulations of teen romance. The bad choices and the mistakes and the inappropriate things that happen when you're young and the hormones are driving you.

 

Two problems with that:

 

1. No one wanted to see Julie Taylor go off the rails and rebel and be dumb. She was great in the first season, as a kid with her head screwed on right who could snark from the sidelines at her parents and still be cute about it. And more than that, her relationship with Matt was pretty adorable, and I don't think viewers wanted to see it fail.

 

2. The storylines just weren't written that well. Her first breakup with Matt, over the Swede, and her bitchiness to Tami just felt off. Not that it's unrealistic for teens to act that way, just that I don't think it was realistic for Julie to act that way. The college stuff was just a bungled attempt to do the whole, 'kid away from home for the first time makes mistakes' story. But again, I never wanted to see Julie Taylor falling into some skeevy dude's bed.

 

This is another reason why seasons 1 and 3 are the best. They have the best of all the relationships on the show. Except Tyra's, but I was never really invested in Tyra as a character. Her romantic shenanigans were always tiresome.

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Yes, I'd rank my seasons as 1,3,2,5,4.

 

I agree with your rankings.  

 

Season 1 will always be the best because it started everything and was amazing  

Season 2..was terrible, but still the original Panthers.  

Season 3, the show got its groove back and made me remember why I loved the show 

Season 4 was weird and unsettled, and I didn't care about the Lions yet.  

Season 5 still wasn't old school Panthers but I was more invested in the characters and the final episode makes up for all the things.  

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I agree with your rankings.  

 

Season 1 will always be the best because it started everything and was amazing  

Season 2..was terrible, but still the original Panthers.  

Season 3, the show got its groove back and made me remember why I loved the show 

Season 4 was weird and unsettled, and I didn't care about the Lions yet.  

Season 5 still wasn't old school Panthers but I was more invested in the characters and the final episode makes up for all the things.  

Exactly!!

 

I didn't watch it in real time so I don't remember if there was a reason Minka Kelly didn't return for the final episodes....I was a little sad she and Tim didn't get together in the end, even though I know they weren't really compatible except in bed. :/

 

 

A weird thing I noticed when watching, and I'm not sure if it's a FNL or a Netflix thing, but sometimes the "Previously on FNL" bits contained scenes left out of the previous episode.  For example, I didn't see Tim actually arrested in the episode, but it was on the "previously". I didn't see Becky tell Luke she has some feelings for Tim in the episode but I saw it in the recap.  Anyone else or am I losing it?

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Season 1 is one of my favourite seasons of television ever, even with the racism plot, with Voodoo being pointless and with Tim hooking up with his 'old lady neighbour'. The feel of the show was almost magical at times. Elegiac and warm, and it made me nostalgic for things I've never even experienced. Watching that season is the only time I've wished I grew up in a small town in Texas.

 

Season 2 had some spectacular misfires. The murder plot, Julie the Bitch and fragmented Taylors, Tim and the meth guy. All horrible. But there was some gold too. The Mexican Threesome was hawt, for starters, even if it was only implied. The imagery of that scene with them dancing, and Lyla all languorous and sensual, and then the three of them looking exhausted but happy the next day? Whoever on the writing staff realised they could get away with that deserves a special category Emmy.

 

I also loved the episode of Tim living with the Taylors. So much fun, and him being a concerned big brother to Julie was great. I wish they hadn't dropped that afterwards, and I wish the show had done more to mix the characters up. For instance, I don't think Lyla ever had a scene with Matt or Landry, Tim had very few with Julie, Tyra never really acknowledged Smash again after the second episode of the show. 

 

Anyway, I digress. I also liked Little Matt Goes Off The Rails. That was fun, yet heartbreaking. For both Matt and for Tim, who seemed so pleased to have a proper drinking buddy who looked up to him. Matt's breakdown at the end was a long time coming.

 

So, onto season 3. Yeah, a big return to form. And like I already said, I think it was the season where they had the most relationships going well. Coach and Tami, obviously. Matt and Julie got back together and were adorable. Tim and Lyla were pretty great as well, and it was such a big growth season for Tim (shame they tossed all that away in season 4).

 

Speaking of. Season 4. I didn't care about East Dillon or the Lions, I didn't really care about the new characters, even though I would concede that Vince and Luke (and honestly, I had to look up their names, that's how little an impact they made on me, compared to the original gang) were nice enough guys, and I wanted them to succeed, I was just never attached to them. I did like silly, chatty, sad Becky, despite her neediness. Madison Burge did a really good job with that character, and while I never wanted her and Tim to get together, I did understand why that friendship between them grew, and was important to them. I think there were one or two more new faces, but I genuinely don't remember anything about them. Oh, I loved seeing Matt Saracen finally get started on his adult life, even if it did mean heartbreak for Julie. The end of Stay, with Matt driving off into the distance, that little smile on his face, and Tim staring at nothing, wanting what he can't have, while Becky talks sense and Bob Dylan sings? Fucking beautiful.

 

Season 5 just felt like a bit of a 'greatest hits' season. So many of the themes and ideas from season 1 were hit again, that it restored some of that nostalgic feeling. The last episode was beautiful, and that cut from the ball in flight at the Championship Game, to Philly, as Delta Spirit kicked in? Gorgeous. I wasn't crazy about how the show ended for some of the characters, but I was at least glad that they got an ending. Wish they'd brought Lyla back, though.

 

Although you know what annoys me? That this wasn't in the episode.

Edited by Danny Franks
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A weird thing I noticed when watching, and I'm not sure if it's a FNL or a Netflix thing, but sometimes the "Previously on FNL" bits contained scenes left out of the previous episode.  For example, I didn't see Tim actually arrested in the episode, but it was on the "previously". I didn't see Becky tell Luke she has some feelings for Tim in the episode but I saw it in the recap.  Anyone else or am I losing it?

I think that was because the last few seasons were released on DirectTV (I think?) first and then later on NBC.  DirectTV didn't have all of the commercial breaks that NBC had so the episodes were slightly longer than they were when they were later aired on NBC.   Netflix might be showing the shorter NBC versions so some stuff was left out.  I watched them on NBC originally and then this year I've been rewatching them on Pivot but they dont' show the "previously on" bits on Pivot so I can't verify what I'm remembering.  

 

Although you know what annoys me? That this wasn't in the episode.

 

You and me both.  I wish they would have just shown a glimpse of that, even without dialog.  Those boys together, especially Tim and Street, oh how I loved them. 

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Tyra walking into Buddy's bar to see Tim...damn I forgot a) how hot she was and b) how hot they were.  Seriously wanted them to make all of the beautiful babies together. 

 

"Hey Jailbird" 

"Alaska, Tim?"

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One of my favorite TV couples! I took one of those quizzes and my hubby and I are like Eric and Tami. Made my day.

I love that they have genuine affection for each other. They respect each other. I don't think there was ever a moment on this show where I felt like they didn't have each other's back and heart.

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I discovered FNL is rerunning on some random network on my cable (Pivot?)

Me too! Though it is driving me nuts that they are not airing in order.  I had completely forgotten about Tim living with the Taylors and I loved that storyline, how he became like a big brother to Julie.  I wish they hadn't ended that so quickly.  Man I missed this show!

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One scene I'll always remember was Tyra's mom telling her in the truck to give up getting out of Dillion because it's hopeless. The lighting had most of Palicki's face in dark shadow except for her eyes, yet you could still see that Tyra's heart was dying while hearing that her mom didn't believe in her.

 

Putting an actor's face in shadow in an emotional scene is an extremely risky choice for network television.

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The biggest criticism of this show, and I think it turned more viewers off than anything else, is the constant and pointless cuts between cameras. Yes, they shot nearly every scene in a single take with three and sometimes four cameras (the rare scenes that were shot with coverage look out of place) and I loved that, however constantly cutting every two to three seconds was extremely jarring and distracting. I counted something like six hundred cuts per episode with an average length of just four or five seconds. The editing rarely followed the dialog and most of the time seemed completely random. 

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When Buddy comes to the Taylor house and Tami sends him over to Eric, saying "here's Buddy, he's got a box".

 

When Buddy picks up Buddy Jr. and Tabitha at the airport he tries to hug them and Tabitha says something like "ew, you're all sweaty" and he says "no more so than usual". Brad Leland's delivery on that was so great.

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