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Scramble the letters in the acronym “NFL” (National Football League), and what do you get? – “FNL,” otherwise known as Friday Night Lights, the television drama series about high school football that first aired it fall 2006. The series is based on a book and film bearing the same name.

The show explores family, friends, and football, and the effects this high school sport has on the fictional small town of Dillon, Texas, where high school football is the focal point of just about everything in the town. With little else to do and no nearby venue where folks can seek entertainment, the Friday night football game is the “main attraction,” and everyone in town is talking about it. The show isn’t presented in a “teen-oriented” style; it is presented in such a way to be appealing to all ages – the type of show that adults can watch with both their “tweeners” and older children alike.

The main character is the new coach, Eric Taylor, who has come to town to hopefully lead the Dillon Panthers to another victory. The role of the understanding coach, stand-in father, and dependable mentor for his players is superbly portrayed. The coach is a decent man, who receives free advice from just about everyone in town on how to coach “the team.” A winning football team is what brings hope and happiness to the residents of this otherwise small and desolate town. The message to the new coach is, “The team has to make it to the finals – it’s all we’ve got to keep this town alive.”

Besides focusing on the coach, FNL tells individual stories of the players, cheerleaders, heroes, and outcasts of the school, depicting their problems, dreams, and pranks in a realistic and mature style.

The show’s authenticity and realism draw the viewing audience into the plots that touch on such topics as racism, education, parent-child relationships, and the politics and culture of the small town.

Knowledge of football is not a prerequisite to enjoying the show. For one thing, a quick camera...
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