Is it Lights Out for Friday Night Lights?

February 12, 2008

Well it looks like we might have seen the last original episode ever of Friday Night Lights last Friday.  And if you’ve had a chance to see this fine drama, you’d agree this news is a travesty.

Friday Night LightsIn its second season, Friday Nights Lights, based loosely on the 2004 movie by the same name, is about a small Texas town obsessed with high school football.  But you don’t have to be a football fan to enjoy this drama about relationships. 

However, while football plays a background role in the show, it does provide a basis for the timing of the season, aligning with the high school football season.  In Friday’s episode, “May the Best Man Win,” we were still one or two games away from playoffs.

But it looks like the Dillon Panthers might not being finishing this season.  According to both TV Guide and Kristen at E, Friday Night Lights will have no more episodes produced this season and that the chance of the series returning in the fall is slim.

In fact, a campaign to save the show has already started requesting fans to send light bulbs to NBC execs to “keep the lights on” for Friday Night Lights.

But all hope might not be lost.  While Variety confirmed no more Lights this season, it said that NBC is looking for a way to bring back the show for a third season.

But I question if this is even possible.  First NBC banished Friday Night Lights to Friday night this season.  Sure the name lends it self to that schedule, but the fan-favorite was already struggling for ratings.

Now NBC is contemplating leaving the Panther storyline hanging in the middle of the season?  If Lights gets a third season is it going to pick up at the next school year? 

What happened to the last few games?  Did the Panthers make it to playoffs again?  Did they win the state title?  Sure football is secondary in this story, but the relationships are based on the dynamics of how they are dealing with each other among these major events (play offs, state championship).

What about all the characters?  (I’m avoiding going into specifics to prevent spoiling it for anyone who hasn’t watch the series completely yet.)  What happens to them?  More than eight months will take place in their lives between Friday’s episode and the start of their next school year.  Given that many of the characters are teens that’s a lot of time to just gloss over.

I know that networks think that viewers are a dime a dozen.  But after putting us through a three-month strike, you’d think they’d show us a little love.  Networks want viewers to show loyalty.  How about a little loyalty for viewers?

NBC please give Friday Night Lights and the Panthers a chance to wrap up their season that way when you finally come to your senses and grant the show a third season, it’ll be ready to make a nice clean start.


What Are Your Super Bowl Plans

January 31, 2008

Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner.  Are you ready?I grew up in a household where Super Bowl Sunday passed by like any other weekend (Nascar weekends were another story).  My mother went to an all-girl’s Catholic school with 12 in her graduating class so you never developed a taste for the sport.  A childhood injury that left my father with severe knee problems prevented him from playing football as a child; thus, football was never a priority for him.  In fact, football was a sport I never even watched until I hit high school.  

Now I live with a man who plans for the Super Bowl like others plan for Christmas dinner.  He’s been mulling over the menu for weeks.  A menu for our family of four – we aren’t even having a party.  Sometime on Sunday he’ll rearrange the furniture for optimal viewing.  He might toss around the football with the kids for a little bit, but by 2 p.m. he’ll be settling in for pre-game, venturing from the TV only for the preparation of game snacks.

Me personally, I’m somewhere in between the two.  I enjoy a good game, can’t wait for the parade of Super Bowl commercials, loved the camaraderie of a party and will sit and watch the half time show.

What about you?  What are your Super Bowl plans?

What is your favorite part of the Super Bowl?  What is your favorite Super Bowl snack?

‘Gridiron Gang’ Goes For It on Fourth and Life

January 29, 2008

With the Super Bowl just around the corner and no games on TV this past weekend, my husband and I turned to a movie to get our football fix.  Our pick for the week was Gridiron Gang.

Gridiron GangThis inspirational movie is based on a true story about how football changes the lives of kids in a juvenile detention center. 

Sean Porter (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), a probation officer at the center, was tired of watching the kids that came through his center leave with little hope of a better life.  Turned back out onto the street many of these kids ended up back in the system or worse – dead.

Football, and a caring mother, had made the difference in Porter’s life.  He was hoping that football could do the same for these kids so he fought to bring a football program to the center.

Starting the program was a challenge, but, as you can imagine, a far sight easier that finding other teams willing to play a group of thugs and killers.  But in the end he succeeded.

What followed was an interesting story of how structure, teamwork and a shared goal bonded these boys together and transformed them from thugs into kids with heart. 

But the transition wasn’t easy and eventually the past life of one of the players threatens to bring down the whole team. 

I was most impressed with Dwayne Johnson as Porter.  I thought it was the first role where we got to see Johnson as an actor instead of The Rock.  There were no raised eyebrows, no bring it hand gestures; just Johnson filling the shoes of the motivating Porter.

L. Scott Caldwell (Lost‘s Rose) was a fabulous addition to the cast as the mother than never gave up on Porter.

The movie did a great job of wrapping up the story by telling you what happened to each of the players.  I’ll warn you, it’s not all happy endings.

Overall a feel-good story worth watching.

Fill the Football Void with a True Story Football Movie

January 24, 2008

The Superbowl is still more than a week away and there will be no playoff games on the tube this weekend.  Going through football withdrawals?  Then grab a beer, settle in the recliner and put in a football movie.

That’s just what I did the other weekend.  My husband was busy cheering his Chargers to a win (a lot of good it did them) over my Colts (I couldn’t watch.  So I snuggled on the couch in the other room with a couple football movies.  But not just any football movies, but those based on real stories.


First up was Disney’s 2006-release Invincible, the story of Vince Papale, a South Philly bartender who secured his spot on the Philadelphia Eagles team in 1976 as a walk on.  It was a great feel good story. 

Mark Wahlberg portrayed Papale as such a down-to-earth regular guy that I could help put cheer for this unassuming man who lost his job teaching, whose cold-hearted wife left him taking everything and leaving only a mean-spirited note and who at 30 was well beyond the normal rookie age.

His own personal “rising from the ashes” was nothing compared to what his success did for the city.  He became this symbol of hope for a city in despair.  For those out of work or on strike, Papale was a sense of pride.

I’m too young to remember the 1976 Eagles, but I really enjoyed the movie.

We are MarshallWe are Marshall

The second movie in my double feature, We are Marshall, was about the rebuilding of the Marshall University football program after a 1970 airplane crashed killed most of the team.

This movie starts out with this huge tragedy that not only wipes out the sport program for this school, but also deeply impacts this college-based West Virginia town and it’s hard to get past the weight of that lost in the rest of the movie. 

But when Jack Lengyel (Matthew McConaughey) arrives as the new head coach you can’t help but be hopefully for healing in light of his determination and enthusiasm for rebuilding the program.  I don’t know if Lengyel was really that eccentric or if that’s just McConaughey’s portrayal, but you have to admit that his ‘think outside of the box’ attitude is endearing.

However, I had a harder time connecting to assistant coach Red Dawson.  I’m not sure if his survivor’s guilt was hard to watch or if I didn’t like Mathew Fox’s acting in this role.

This movie does have some gut-wrenching moments so have a box of tissues handy.

If you could only watch one of the two movies, I’d recommend Invincible.

What’s your favorite football movie based on a true story?