After five seasons, NBC’s critically adored and ever-embattled drama Friday Night Lights is coming to an end. The show has endured despite impressively low ratings due in no small part to obsessive (and media-driven) fandom. There’s a certain irony in this: a show ostensibly about high school football in Texas—flyover country doing flyover country things—ended up capturing the hearts and minds of coastal elites (and landlocked coastal elites). And nobody else.
There was a perception problem—who’s going to watch a drama about high school football?—and the reality of the show (the football is the least important part, anyone trying to convince you to watch it will explain) that made it a creation of contradictions and nuance, and because of this, probably unlike anything that’s been on network television in the last decade or will be for the foreseeable future. But mostly because it managed to stay on the air for five years.
In porportion to the size of its audience, Friday Night Lights – and especially the end of it – has yielded more writing and interviews about it (and the process of creating an always-on-the-fence television show) than so many other shows in the history of television. As such, here’s one opinion on the best writing the Taylors, Panthers, and Lions have yielded in their five years on TV.
10. GQ’s roundup of the best Friday Night Lights music moments.
9. Sandra Gonzalez’s EW interview with Matt Lauria.
8. Joshua Ferris’ New Yorker short story, “The Pilot,” which Vulture’s Willa Paskin pointed out involves a character basically summoning one of the Friday Night Lights characters for confidence. It’s the closest thing to FNL fan fiction out there, and it’s written by a New Yorker 20 Under 40 writer.
7. Emma Rosenblum’s interview with Zach Gilford.
6. A.V. Club’s interview with Michael B. Jordan.
5. The Awl’s ‘Generation FNL‘: Television Without Pity’s Friday Night Lights recapper on the end of the show.
4. Heather Havrilesky’s New York Times Magazine essay ‘How Football Players Got Trounced by Glee.
3. Willa Paskin’s Vulture interview with FNL showrunner Jason Katims. (Alternately: A.V. Club’s.)
2. Robert Mays’ Grantland oral history of Friday Night Lights.
1. Jermey Egner’s New York Times interview with Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler. (Alternately: Michael Ausiello’s EW interview with the two.)
And finally: this supercut of every time Connie Britton used the word “Y’all.”
firstname.lastname@example.org | @weareyourfek