Last week less than 7.2 million people watched the premiere of ''Friday Night Lights,'' which ranks among the best new shows of the season. As I have said before, it was my favorite pilot for a new series. I know that the 8 p.m. hour (on the East Coast, at least) is a brutally competitive one for TV fans. The DVR will certainly be clicking in my house at that time. But even if you have to record something else for later viewing, give ''Friday Night Lights'' a chance. I have seen tonight's episode and it is still good, thoughtful, emotional -- a deft portrayal of a small town that goes far beyond its football trappings. These are not patient times at the networks, with all five -- ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and the new CW -- having already made changes in their fall plans. So let's not push NBC's patience by waiting awhile to watch ''Friday Night Lights.'' It deserves a look now.