A 'Friday' Tradition
Published: Monday, February 21, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
There is both heartbreak and elation, devastation and excitement, restlessness and hope. It's been a little over a week since the season five finale of Friday Night Lights on Direct-TV, and I can't stop thinking about it. Why is this obsession particularly impressive for a show that has proved its mettle with annual Emmy nominations for the past four years? Because I haven't even seen the episode yet.
The dueling jubilation and despair over this glorious finale is caused by the fact that this season's finale is the series' finale as well. At the end of a five-year voyage into the heartland of Texas, Friday Night Lights has filled my life with adrenaline-inducing football, exquisite character development, real yet fantastic plot hooks, and the "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose" Taylors.
Of course, right now I'm feeling more like "Full eyes, broken heart, can't breathe," as the ever-pithy Vulture blog put it. While the end of the season on cable means that this summer I can flip to NBC and sink into a languid pool of Friday Night Lights bliss, season five is also the final season of this purely genius show – hence my devastation. Adding to the distress is that every time I go online, it seems that there are spoilers lying in wait on my usual procrastination sites. They're just hoping for a vulnerable moment when I give in to temptation and ruin the suspense of season five by clicking on a review.
I can legitimately say that Friday Night Lights is the reason I am at Boston College – okay, well maybe that's not true. But it certainly assured me that the decision I had made was the right one. I was extremely excited when the indomitable Tami Taylor and sometimes annoying, yet still endearing, Julie Taylor made a trip to Beantown while scouting colleges. But I was utterly ecstatic when I saw them walking across the academic quad, right on the path between Campion Hall and the Rat that marks my lunch path. Of course, I didn't know that I would literally follow in their footsteps twice a week after class when I watched the episode this summer (and I won't comment on whether or not this walking path was a subconscious-but-on-purpose result). But seeing Julie stroll across my future campus made BC all the more attractive to me.
My only life preserver keeping me out of utter doldrums (and large vats of ice cream) is that some of my favorite characters have already been slated in new shows. The darling Matt Saracean (Zach Gilford), who convinced me that Southern accents actually can be quite attractive, has already been placating my anticipated Friday Night Lights withdrawal in the new Shonda Rhimes show Off the Map, which is essentially a mix between Grey's Anatomy and Lost. The last two episodes Gilford had on Lights were by far his best, as he dealt with the traumatic death of his often absent, soldier father, and clearly the talent was noticed, since he started Map right after ending his Lights run. Driving off into the distance in his final episode, Gilford stole a piece of my heart as he went (though my mother cheekily pointed out he just must have been trying to get to South America in time for Off the Map. Touche, madam).
But more recently, Adrianne Palicki, who played the sassy, street smart Tyra, came swooping out of the sky in red, white, and blue to pull me out of despair. NBC recently announced that the ex-Friday Night Lights star will be taking on the title role in the newly-slated Wonder Woman television series with director Jeffery Reiner. No other casting announcements have been made, but I'm already a guaranteed viewer just to see that fantastic attitude in superhero action.
Though it is a tragic day for television when Tami and Coach will no longer grace the Friday night lineup, the stars that the show leaves behind are certainly not leaving the industry anytime soon – maybe Tami will even come back to Massachusetts in a future role (cue "I'm Shipping Up To Boston," please).