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"Friday Night Lights" Returns

By admin Published: January 4, 2008

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This, I fear, is where Landry and Tyra have gone.

Notes on tonight's and next week's telecast after the jump. Some spoilers ...

Since "Friday Night Lights" has resolved the Landry killing, I should be able to put it aside. But it has become the "FNL" equivalent of the spousal rape on "Rescue Me," the sort of thing that keeps affecting how I view the characters and plots from now on.

It's especially difficult to deal with tonight when, the killing plot having ended, Landry expects to resume his relationship with Tyra. I won't dispute how good the actors are, or how well done this story might have seemed if it had taken place before the killing. But now, Tyra's hesitation, her seeming to hold out for something better, is all too much like Molly Ringwald looking past Jon Cryer.

And if you're trying to be a great drama, you don't model yourself after a crowd-pleasing movie aimed at the silliest dreams of the subteen girls you want to draw to the multiplex.

I held out hope that, at some point, Tyra might explain that her hesitation was a hangover from the killing, that seeing Landry was too much of a reminder of what had gone before. That I might have bought. But she should have gotten over that he's-not-quite-good-enough thing long ago; indeed, the road trip to the state championship last season suggested that she was getting past it. But no. It had to be dragged out some more.

Elsewhere in tonight's show, we get the twister, which gave NBC some decent promo material but in the context of the show led to an awkward placing together of Dillon and a rival team in the same facilities. Which of course prompted conflicts that, in the sensible world that "FNL" often inhabits, would have been stopped with a few firm words by both coaches. Instead, it, too, is dragged toward a payoff in the next episode that is cheap melodrama.

And there's a plot coming with Riggins that's even worse.

I don't want to believe the wheels have fallen off the "FNL" bus. And as long as Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton are playing scenes, with other characters and with each other, I will want to tune in. But those wheels are looking shaky.

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