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"Friday Night Lights"

By admin Published: November 19, 2009

So I was watching the latest episode of "Friday Night Lights" on my little laptop, via the press feed from DirecTV, with less than perfect video and a big DirecTV logo on the screen much of the time. And I was so drawn into it and touched by it that I said I small thank-you to DirecTV for helping to keep the show going.

But even more I was thinking, how effing stupid is NBC that it has not put this show on during the fall, in the regular season, and promoted the living daylights out of it, and made it a crown jewel in its schedule. The mass broadcast audience ought to see this, people deserve to see this, and it's a great great show, and so much better than something like "Mercy" or "Trauma" or five hours of Jay freakin' Leno every week. And the fact that the network has not done that should tell you all you need to know about how idiotic the management at NBC is.

After the jump, some notes about the episode.

In what's been a good season so far, this, the fourth episode, may be the best. The news about Saracen's dad felt a little like piling on in a telecast that had been fine up to that point, but it was also a real punch in the gut. (Also, as I was finished watching it, I got a CNN e-mail about the latest U.S. deaths in Afghanistan.)

And it came after we had already had the effective moments with Tami being badgered on the radio, and the pep rally, and Landry and Jess (and Jurnee Smollett just lights up the screen, but we already knew that), and dinner at the Taylors, and the Riggins-Saracen fireside conversation.

And we know that even though Vince and Luke are going to have to deal with each other, that story's not done; we have already seen that Vince's peer group is going to make it difficult for him to go his own way, and this episode showed us that Luke is still running with the West Dillon guys and they're not going to make his life any easier. (Although I would have thought they would have hung around when the police came to the fight, to back up whatever story Luke told.)

Jess's dad, of course, is another story that we're moving slowly into, and Steve Harris is making full use of his glower. But the stuff with him is a reminder of how well "FNL" does with what people do not say -- him talking to Eric at the barbecue place, for instance, or Buddy's face at the pep rally, or the way Riggins and Saracen were forced to say to each other what they haven't said to anyone else, or Julie's conversation with the assistant coach. (And couldn't you tell how much he loved saying "assistant coach" when he said it at the Taylor house.) I half expected Tami to call in to the radio station, or even to go there, to face the complainers, but that was too tidy for "FNL." The chocolate was a much better moment.

Still on not talking, Eric obviously had a nice little talk for the East Dillon alumni, but was cut off -- and the cutoff was completely appropriate to the moment. And I just loved everything that was going on at the pep rally. And Landry kissing Jess -- for those of us who have been with the show from the beginning, that was a moment when the show demonstrated how much Landry has grown and changed over the course of the show. (Smiled, too, when he at first declined to be the chauffeur, and reminded us that he had played that part before.)

And I know, I am bouncing all over the place, but that's because my head is jumbled with thoughts and feelings from the episode, because it moved me. And that, again, makes me think how stupid NBC is.

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