Archive for February 15th, 2010

Friday Night Lights Season Four Review

A few times before, I’ve used a season-ending review to claim that the most recent season of a great show has not been up to the standards of the show. While I stand by those claims, I do acknowledge that there is a natural tendency to romanticize the past and, as a result, unfairly denigrate the present.

Which is why it is so refreshing to watch a season of television like Season Four of Friday Night Lights, which took an already very good show and made it great. The most recent season (which concluded last week on DirecTV, and will begin airing on NBC on April 30) of FNL was by far the best season of a show already considered by some to be a classic.

I’ve said before that my opinions of the first season of the show (and the first three seasons in general) were not as high as some others: FNL was a very good high school drama, innovative in that it actually focused on a small, economically struggling, town; but it got some undeserved credit for penetrating things like race, class, and other serious issues, when it really didn’t do those things all that well. This actually made it easier to accept some of the show’s more outlandish creative turns in Season Two.

But Season Four actually deserves most of the credit that Season One got—and it had some pretty heavy odds stacked against it. Ever since NBC reached its deal with DirecTV after Season Two—in which the satellite network picked up some of the show’s production costs and was able to air the show earlier in return—FNL has operated with a limited budget and only 13 episodes. In Season Three, the show had to get rid of two regular characters (Jason Street and Smash Williams), and this season the show had to lose an even more significant part of the show (Matt Saracen). In addition to this already sizable setback, the writers decided to end last season on a decidedly final note (probably due to the fact that it wasn’t clear whether the series would be renewed): Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler, of Early Edition fame), the star and center of the entire series, was fired from his job as head coach of the Dillon Panthers, and given the unenviable job of resuscitating a dead football program over at the new East Dillon High School, in the—shall we say “undesirable”?—part of town (ironically, Taylor gets the job at the inferior school after gerrymandering the district so that all the best players stay at West Dillon). Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while practicing torch lighting for 2012….

  • French pop-philosopher Bernard-Henry Levi rips Immanuel Kant in new book; too bad basis for said ripping is a critique of Kant written by a non-existent philosopher who was invented by a satirist. Even if BHL had claimed it was for philanthropic concerns, Kant would not have approved of the lie.
  • And because we’re not entirely sure if 1988 was better than 2000 in the dunk contest, a bonus video: