Amanda Gates

TV: Catching Up with Friday Night Lights, Seasons 3-5

WARNING: Major spoilers ahead. Also, um, it's wordy.

Well, I finished. And it was sad, but not as sad as I thought and not as devastating as others experienced. I saved the last episode for Friday night, I cried through one Kleenex and then I read a book for the rest of the night. And that felt nice.

I loved the show. Like I said before, it’s up there with some of the best dramas, for sure. When I started season 3, the jump from season 2 was quite disjointed, and I’m contributing that to the unsure future of the show at this point. But once I got over that, season 3 turned out to be one of my favorites. Here are my random likes and dislikes of S3-S5, in bullet form:

+ I had no idea Lyla, Tim and Tyra were sophomores when we first met them. Wow, by S3 they were quite the mature seniors. However, this seems like an obvious move because the show’s creators would want to keep around their most popular characters for as long as they can (see also: Glee).

+ So, Tami Taylor, a stay-at-home mom for 15 years/guidance counselor for two years is somehow qualified to be principal? This seemed far-fetched to me. But, my girlfriend brought up a good argument in that why would a school that cares more about its football team than anything else, really care about who was principal? And once I got used to the idea of her as principal, of course I loved Tami as principal. Such a good woman. Her struggles with the JumboTron, the boosters, the budget, Becky’s abortion, etc., were really, really interesting. And I loved how she handled pretty much every single hurdle that was thrown her way.

+ I appreciated Jason Street’s story arc. His effort to be a good father and provider seemed in true character for him. While I loved his coaching, he seems even more fit to be a sports agent, so that was an awesome end to his story. I just wish his last episode in S5 ended on a little higher note.

+ Man, I hate the McCoy men. First JD is this whiny little wanker and his dad is a giant pain in the ass, then they just become disgustingly awful people. I wanted Coach to punch Mr. McCoy so many times. While there are a few characters I couldn’t care less about (more on that in a bit), I actually liked hating the McCoys. However, what did I miss once S5 started? Where did the McCoys and the S4 Panthers coach go? Why wasn’t JD QB when the Lions played the Panthers in S5? I figure I missed a quick reference to them somewhere, right?

+ While Tyra’s constant back and forth on wanting to be a good student and with Landry and not caring about her future (and not with Landry) got a bit old, she was still one of my favorite characters. I cried when she got the letter that she got into college. I missed her character the most in seasons 4 & 5. (And nearly had a heart attack when she returned, I was so happy.)

+ Becky, Billy & Mindy. From the moment Becky entered the show, I really wanted her to exit. Unfortunately she stuck around. I never cared for her or any of her problems. (It could’ve just been a casting thing? Maybe another actress wouldn’t have rubbed me the wrong way?) I understand why Billy and Mindy were important to the story, but I think because I so preferred Tim and Trya, I felt like Billy and Mindy, especially in S5, were just the leftovers or second best. Every time they were on I thought, “I wish you were Tim or Tyra instead.” I didn’t care about them, besides wanting to smack Billy for being such poor role model.

+ I also didn’t give a crap about Epic. Even though I knew Tami needed a project in S5, I felt nothing for Epic or her struggles. Boring.

+ Matt. Gosh, he just broke my heart at the end of S2. And then in S3 Coach benches him. Ugh. But, I loved his arc in S3. I liked the storyline with his mom and I liked that he made himself into a wide receiver. I didn’t like that he decided to stay in Dillon (at first). Seeing him deliver pizzas was one of the saddest things ever. The death of his father was also some great character acting on Zach Gilford’s part. In the end, I definitely appreciated where Matt ended up.

+ Oh, Julie Taylor, how I want to shake you. I want to shake you for thinking your poor little 18-year-old self with no boyfriend in a new college just has it so rough. I want to shake you for sleeping with a married man. I want to shake you for pretty much being a whiny brat to your parents for five years. I want to tell you that if you can’t handle life now, well girlfriend, you’re in for a big surprise. At least she ended somewhere stable.

+ Because I first watched Parenthood, I think I came into FNL with a bit of an advantage. I knew Alex (Michael B. Jordan) was going to show up sooner or later. And when he did in S4, I cheered. So, the switch over to the Lions didn’t hurt quite as much because I was excited to meet Vince Howard. And while he had his bad moments, he was a great character. Just great. I also liked Luke, Jess and Tinker.

However, in the end, I always missed the S1-S3 cast of characters. S4 & S5 just didn’t have the same flair for me without a consistent presence of Matt & Tyra & then Tim & Landry. I cared less about more of the characters (like mentioned above), so S4 and especially S5 were a bit lackluster for me.

+ I’m still in love with the Taylors, too. One of my favorite lines between the two of them: Coach says, “You know who I miss? The coach's wife.” And Tami replies, “You know who I can’t wait to meet? The principal’s husband.” Love them. They went through ups and downs and power struggles but have always been so in love. Her support for moving for him is unwavering, that it’s frustrating when Coach gets stuck in the “what about my job?” mindset. But he always comes around.

I enjoyed the series finale and that we got a wrap up of many of the characters. If I had to rank the seasons (the last couple episodes of the series notwithstanding –they were great), I think this would be my order by most to least favorite: 3, 1, 4, 2 & 5.



Oh I just love this post :)

Oh I just love this post :) I'm glad to hear you loved Tyra as much as I did. I pretty much agree with everything you said - except I still haven't watched Parenthood - definitely on my list for maternity leave though :)

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