Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Netflix Instant Queue Review: Friday Night Lights

Since Microsoft and Netflix have joined forces to bring the Netflix Instant Que to the New Xbox Experience I thought I would mix in some reviews of some of the Netflix library (both instant and DVD offerings). And here we go:

Friday Night Lights: Season 1

Late 2 the Game Score: 5 out of 5
Netflix Availability: DVD and Watch Instantly

When I first saw the ads on television for the NBC series Friday Night Lights, I couldn’t think of a show that would have interested me less. I thought, “High School? Football? Teenagers? Texas? Great! Everything I have absolutely no interest in at all; wrapped up into one easily avoidable hour a week.” Because of my immediate disinterest however, I unfortunately missed what turned out to be everything I wanted from a television series.

The show centers on a small Texas town’s high school football team, and though it may seem a shallow stage, it packs a surprising variety of characters that display a vibrant spectrum of emotion. Following a few recommendations I warily started watching Friday Night Lights, and I was pleased to find out how misleading the advertisements had been for the show; choosing to focus on the rare “bedroom scenes” instead of the engaging characters.

Though this was a welcome discovery, I still wasn’t sold on the idea of football being the common thread that tied the myriad of characters and stories together. Football is obviously a large part of the Friday Night Lights experience, but even those like me who don’t have any particular attraction to the sport will enjoy what the series has to offer. In fact, most of the series takes place off the field, tracking the players and their friends, the coach and his family as they live from game to game. And when the action is on the field, it’s emotionally charged by what has happened to the characters off of the field. Football is not the point of Friday Night Lights, but more of a catalyst for emotional development and a canvas for the collective character experience.

If you like football, you’ll love Friday Night Lights, and if you hate football but like good drama, chances are you’ll love Friday Night Lights. Load it in your queue and “Set…set…hike!”

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