How is it that I never watched this show? It has three of my favorite things: teen angst, a stellar cast, and football! I’ve had many people tell me that I need to watch this show. As usual I was very late to the game on this one. Like Gilmore Girls, Bones, and Supernatural…all of which I started watching WAY after their initial premieres or even after they had their final episode…FNL was a show I never watched when it was on but enough people have yelled at me to watch it, so I did.
Ten episodes into Season 1, I can tell this is going to be my Steel Magnolias, my P.S. I Love You, my Brian’s Song. If you haven’t watched any of those movies, I recommend copious amounts of Kleenex and a bottle of Excedrin Migraine medicine before you watch. In other words, they are tear-jerkers and those three movies in particular, are my biggest. It doesn’t matter how many times I watch them and the fact that I could recite each movie’s script by heart, they still get me every time. Before I even really know these characters and their stories, I am already in tears during the pilot. It’s really a testament to the writers and the cast. And I have cried (even as little as a small tear trickling down my check) during all 10 episodes!!! Is there something wrong with me? Don’t answer that. I think I already know the answer!!
When I started watching, the first thing that made me laugh was the fact that two characters on this show that I have fallen in love with, I absolutely HATED on other shows I saw them on. The first is Scott Porter. Can this be the same Scott Porter (who plays QB 1 Jason Street who had a terrible accident on the field that has left him paralyzed and rebuilding his life) who played disgusting, creepy, but really sexy Blake Calamar on The Good Wife? What a difference!! I have to say, as much as I wanted to punch him on TGW, I just want to run through my TV and hug him and tell him everything will be alright on FNL. He’s fantastic!!! Now if he and Lyla (Minka Kelly) can just work things out, that would be nice! Since I’m talking about Minka Kelly, this is now the second show where she has been a slut bag (the other one being Parenthood) yet, I’m always on her side! Maybe it’s because Kelly is so good at being sweet, endearing, and soft-spoken, that I am willing to forgive so many of her bad decisions! I do feel bad for Lyla. While what she did (sleeping with Jason’s best friend Tim while Jason is recovering from a spinal injury) was wrong on soooo many levels, she’s a kid who made a mistake. And boy does watching this show remind me how cruel kids in high school can be sometimes. Wow! And I didn’t go to high school during the age of the internet (yes I am dating myself) so I can only imagine the levels to which kids can be even more cruel. The second actor I have fallen in love with (actually there are more but in regards to hating and now loving) is Zach Gilford (who plays QB 2 now QB 1 Matt Saracen who is struggling with his new status as the starting QB of the #1 ranked Dillon Panthers, dealing with his grandmother who is dealing with dementia, balancing his friendships (especially with his best friend Landry, played by Jesse Plemons) with the non-cool kids and the football team, and falling in love with the coach’s daughter, Julie.) I absolutely HATED his character of Dr. Tommy Fuller on the short-lived (thank God) Off the Map. Fuller was an obnoxious, condescending, ass who had nothing likable about him what-so-ever. A far cry from Matt who is so sweet and good-natured. A kid who would pretend to be his grandfather and sing their wedding song to his grandmother to calm her down when she had an episode. A kid who is really respectful to Julie and is adorably nervous around her and her parents! Again, hard to believe this is the same actor! But that’s why they get paid the big bucks to perform and I get paid nothing to comment on it! LOL!
Ten episodes in and there is really only one character that rubs me the wrong way and that’s Tyra (played by Adrienne Palicki.) She’s annoying as all hell and brings nothing to the table. Although I have a bad feeling she’s going to be around for a while. Probably one of my favorites is Brian “Smash” Williams. I love that kid! I also like the very relevant storyline they are going on with him as a kid who is working so hard to get a scholarship but is just a little undersized so he turns to steroids to help give him an edge. He’s a good kid who’s just making a really bad choice right now but I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. I also like the Riggens family story. Tim (played by Taylor Kitsch) is a rebel who’s never really had any parental figures in his life to help guide him. His older brother Billy (played by Derek Phillips) is trying to keep him in line and working to get him into college and using football to do it. They don’t always agree or get along and have a strange way of showing their love for each other, but you can tell that Billy just wants the best for Tim and Tim really appreciates all his brother does for him. Tim and Jason are best friends. That is until Tim falls in love with Lyla and sleeps with her while Jason is recovering from his injuries. I get the feeling that eventually, Jason will forgive both of them and move on, but he’s not there yet. Finally we have the Taylors, Eric, Tami, and Julie (played by Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, and Aimee Teegarden.) The Taylors are a great family. Eric is the new head football coach of the Panthers and he is learning very quickly that this is more than just your typical high school football coaching job. EVERYONE in town has a thought on your team, your players, and your coaching methods. He always handles it very well with grace and class. I would have had a serious come to Jesus meeting with someone at this point, but Eric Taylor is a better person than me! Tami is a supportive wife but her support only goes so far at times. She is his moral compass and reminds him that not everything can always be about football and what’s best for the team. She reminds him that sometimes, what is best for the kids themselves, should come first. She’s also the school’s guidance counselor (can you tell?) Their daughter Julie is a high school sophomore at Dillon and has a really good head on her shoulders. She’s a strong girl but incredibly respectful to her parents. She is also starting to date for the first time and she doesn’t start small. Her first date and high school love is the new captain and QB 1 of the football team, Matt Saracen. Needless to say, this doesn’t go over very well with her parents. I don’t understand why. Matt’s a good kid. It could be worse. She could be interested in Reyes!
Ten episodes in and I can’t wait to watch every episode in this series!!! Although, I want to take it slow considering I know there are only 70+ episodes total in the series. I don’t want it to go too fast. I have to throw in a Mad Men or Buffy every once in a while to break it up. But I can’t wait to see how everything works out for the people in Dillon, Texas! Since I am watching this for the first time, if you have seen the series, please don’t spoil anything for me!! But I would love to hear your comments as I go through the series.