3 March 2012

Friday Night Lights

by Matt Rubinstein at 7:41 pm

FnlI watched the Super Bowl this year, and if it made any sense at all it was because I’ve spent the last six months wading through NBC’s Friday Night Lights, spun off from Peter Berg’s 2004 film of the same name, in turn was based on HG “Buzz” Bissinger’s book of the slightly longer (and Oxford-commaed) name Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream.

I remember enjoying the film, which starred Billy Bob Thornton as the heroic coach, Connie Britton as his heroic wife and Lucas Black as the heroic quarterback. For some reason I’ve always enjoyed films about American football, from Any Given Sunday and Remember the Titans to Jerry Maguire and Shane Black’s million-dollar script for Tony Scott’s The Last Boy Scout.

Somewhat pretentiously, I first heard about the TV series from Lorrie Moore’s review in The New York Review of Books, as serious and sympathetic an analysis of popular culture as I’ve read anywhere buy levitra vardenafil. Moore remembers a party where:

I found myself locked in enthusiastic conversation in a corner with two other writers, all three of us, we discovered, solitary, isolated viewers of the NBC series Friday Night Lights. We spewed forth excitedly, like addicts—this was no longer a secret habit but a legitimately brilliant drama.

FNL‘s fifth and final season finished a year ago, but as far as I can tell it had never been seriously broadcast in the UK until it began on Sky Atlantic last month. It also struggled to find a regular slot in Australia, bouncing between Channel 10, Foxtel and ABC2. I’ve been watching it on Netflix, and like Lorrie Moore I’ve also come across quite a few closet fans who have tracked it down on DVD or online—and they’ve often been writers.

So I was stoked to see that in the recent Simpsons episode The Book Job, Lisa takes time out from the young adult novel she’s supposed to be writing to watch all five seasons. It’s a fun episode that features Neil Gaiman and begins with Lisa’s disappointment that one of her favourite authors is really a fabricated front for a committee of ghost-writers.

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