Posts Tagged ‘Television’

When I was a high school teacher, our whole school read Buzz Bissinger’s book Friday Night Lights. It’s a good book, and was very familiar territory for me as a guy who grew up playing high school football in the South.

It’s a little odd then that I am only coming around to watching the TV series, on Hulu, based on that book. These are some of my first impressions having only seen the first two episodes of the first season.

  • Peter Berg’s hand is directly evident in the direction of the show and that’s a good thing. I like the closeups, interesting camera moves and natural tone to the lighting and color paletter.
  • There seems to be a pervasive sadness in all the characters. I don’t remember this from the book, but I read it a long time ago. Perhaps, this sadness comes from the way a small town always feels like it teeters on the edge of oblivion.
  • Kyle Chandler’s portrayal of Coach Taylor is perfectly balanced: his concern for his players always at odds with his need and desire to win. I would be very interested to see Chandler get a hold of some meaty film roles.
  • The possible demonizing of the townspeople is, like in the book, done with nothing more than what is very close to reportage. It’s not mean-spirited, but is presented by reality. As one of the team boosters says, “Football is all this town’s got.” That’s the reality of many small southern towns whose dreams are pinned on the occasional exceptional athletes or really young people of any kind that are products of these towns. There’s an irony there that’s worth exploring.
  • While I tend to disagree with the football as a metaphor for life, it’s hard to ignore the parallels any sort of competition or group endeavor gives a person to the challenges we face internally.
I can’t wait to watch more. I am deeply involved, but I still feel like the show has a deep undercurrent of sadness that’s hard to shake.