The End Of Friday Night Lights

The 2011 Emmy nominations are bittersweet for Friday Night Lights fans. After five seasons of consistently being one of the best dramas on television, FNL finally received a nomination for best drama series. This announcement came the day before its series finale aired last night on NBC.

It is only just dawning of me how much I will miss Friday Night Lights. I’ve spent the last few days reading much of the commentary on FNL that is circulating around the Internet. (Grantland has an excellent oral history of the show that is definitely worth reading.) I don’t want this show to end. I want Coach Taylor to stay in Dillon forever and continue leading the Dillon Panthers/East Dillon Lions to state championships. I want Tim Riggins to continue being Tim Riggins. But that isn’t happening and now one of my all-time favorite series really is over.

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Friday Night Lights: Start of the End

Tonight will be bittersweet. The fifth and final season of the always magnificent Friday Night Lights premieres on DirecTV.

When we left off last season, new characters were introduced, Julie Taylor and Landry Clarke were heading off to college, Tim Riggins was  arrested, Tami Taylor quit her job at West Dillon with plans to transfer to East Dillon, and Coach Taylor was relishing in a sweet victory over his former team, the West Dillon Panthers. Through it all,  the Taylors were and still are the parents I always wanted.

Fans of Friday Night Lights have been put through the ringer. Only the first season aired 22 episodes. We’ve suffered through more cancellation drama imaginable and tirelessly waited for FNL to be recognized by the Emmys. A deal with DirecTV gave us three more seasons and the phenomenal leads Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton were finally nominated at this year’s Emmys.

I joined the FNL fan club late. I started watching at the end of season three  but within in a few episodes, I was addicted. The often bitter realities of family life centered around the drama of high school football games has made for beyond exceptional television. In so many ways Dillon, Texas reminds me of the town where I grew up, which is nowhere near Texas. But that speaks to the essence of FNL, capturing small-town life in ways that feels oddly familiar even if Dillon is an unlikely character in your life.

There there’s Tim Riggins. Where would this show be without Tim Riggins? The beer-drinking, hard-working fullback with a heart of gold is the most iconic character on the show. (Though Coach and Mrs. Coach are up there as well.) Every time Riggins graces the television screen, whether on the football field, in his scenes with Lyla Garrity (you just want them to be together), or in his beloved pickup truck tossing his college books out the window, he is the emotional core the show. (Though Zach Gilford in the season four episode “The Son” takes the prize for best single acting performance in one episode.) I expect these characters and the many more who we have fallen in love with to be given a proper send off.

While I am sad this season is the last, I am grateful for the DirecTV/NBC deal, which saved FNL from cancellation and allows us loyal fans to get two doses of FNL each year, even after the Dillon Lions play their last game this fall.

Texas, Forever.

The Best and Worst of the 2010 Emmys

I throughly enjoyed last night’s Emmys telecast. Jimmy Fallon did a fine job as host and the shows I care most about Modern Family and Mad Men went home with the night’s top prizes. Here is my recap of the Emmys.

The Best:

1. The Glee-ful Opening – I fully expected there to be a Glee performance somewhere in the show but I did not expect it to be a wonderful as this opening number. Host Fallon, my favorite Gleeks – Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, Cory Monteith, and Amber Riley – plus the likes of Tina Fey, Jon Hamm, Joel McHale, and Nina Dobrev form their own Glee club. They prevent Kate Gosselin from joining and Betty White is Jon Hamm’s dance coach. AND they perform Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run. This Jersey girl was in Glee/Emmy heaven.

2. The wins for Modern Family – Modern Family is the best new comedy of television. Its wins for Best Comedy, Best Writing and Best Supporting Actor (Eric Stonestreet) were well-deserved. Toss in a great parody segment where Sofia Vergara (shockingly) oozes sex and George Clooney ends up in bed with Cam and Mitchell, and it was Modern Family‘s night to shine.

3. Temple Grandin – At first I had no clue who this person who kept standing and waving throughout the ceremony as a TV movie, Temple Grandin, kept winning awards (seven in total). I was also distracted by Claire Danes appearing on my television but not in a Latisse commercial. After a quick Google search, I have moved Temple Grandin to the top of my Netflix queue.

4. Betty White, Betty White, Betty White – I love everything about this women. Between her appearance in the opening parody as Jon Hamm’s choreographer and their boundless sexual chemistry, there is nothing this woman can’t do that I won’t adore.

5. Clooney and Margulies reunited – George Clooney receiving the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award is a true honor. He accepted the award with great humor. And of all the people present the last night’s Emmys there was not better person to present the award to him than Juliana Margulies, Clooney’s E.R. co-star for five seasons. Doug and Carol forever!

6. Top Chef beats out The Amazing Race – It is about damn time someone broke The Amazing Race‘s Emmy winning streak. I’m glad it happened now too because I am in a feud with The Amazing Race for reasons I cannot disclose until September 1. But trust me, they are good reasons.

The Worst:

1. Al Pacino speaks and Jack Kevorkian makes an appearance – After Pacino won for his performance in “You Don’t Know Jack”, his speech became a rambling mess. They really don’t cut Pacino off, do they?

2. Fred Savage is dead! – A teaser for the In Memoriam segment (of a young Corey Haim) led many people on the internet to think that it was really Fred Savage.

3. Mad Men doesn’t win an acting award…again – The stellar cast of Mad Men has never won an Emmy. Not Jon Hamm. Or John Slattery. Or January Jones. Or Elisabeth Moss. Or Christina Hendricks. I have my own theories but please feel free to share your own.

4. No love for FNLFriday Night Lights fans must sound like a broken record by now. All we want is for this show to win Emmys and to last more than five seasons. Neither has happened. Even when the lead actors – Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton – are nominated but don’t win, it is a bad Emmys night for us FNL fans. Just remember, clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

Did I miss anything? Sound off below.

The 2010 Emmy Nominations

I am generally pleased by the Emmy nominations, which were announced this morning. New comedies Glee and Modern Family received 19 and 14 nominations respectively. For the 10th year in a row, HBO led the nominations receiving 101 nominations in total.

I practically did cartwheels throughout my house when I saw that Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler were FINALLY nominated for Friday Night Lights. While the show itself and Zach Gilford were not nominated, I will take the nominations of Coach and Mrs. Taylor as a victory for what has been one of the most under appreciated shows of recent years. There is still one more season for which the show can be nominated and perhaps these two nominations will lead to Friday Night Lights finally getting it’s Emmys due next year.

The other two nominations that have made me completely ecstatic are Chris Colfer and Mike O’Malley for their work on Glee. Everyone fully expected Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison, and Jane Lynch to be nominated for their roles; they have been dominating the t.v. award circuit since the Golden Globes. But Colfer, who plays Kurt, and O’Malley, who plays his dad Burt, are genuine and much-welcomed surprises. See, the Emmys do celebrate great characters and great acting.

These are the main highlights for me. As for what I think was overlooked…

  • Courteney Cox, Busy Phillips, and Cougar Town. With one sentence: “What kind of skank where’s a watch?” Cougar Town had me hooked. Of course, it does desperately need a name change. Maybe that is why the Emmys turned a blind eye to the series.
  • Joel McHale and Community. Although the show started off slow but once it found its rhythm, Community definitely belonged in NBC’s Thursday night comedy line-up.
  • Ed O’Neill. Please explain to me how every other actor on Modern Family was nominated except O’Neill.
  • No love for Ugly Betty‘s great last season.
  • And for the love of God, why is Tony Shalhoub still being nominated? Ditto for Jon Cryer. Sometimes, I wish there would be a cap on how many times an actor can be nominated for the same tired role. (Of course that would be pointless and impossible since everything is subjective.)

The complete list of Emmy nominees is after the jump. Sound off in the comments section if you are generally pleased or infuriated by this year’s nominations.

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Confirmed! Two more seasons of Friday Night Lights!

Clear eyes, full hears, can’t lose!

Michael Ausiello at EW has reported that there will be two more seasons of Friday Night Lights!

HELL YES.

Sources at NBC are now confirming what I first reported earlier this month: DirecTV and NBC have come to terms on a deal that ensures Friday Night Lights will stick around for not one but two more seasons!

Although NBC declined to comment, my Peacock insider says the pact guarantees that FNL will see a fourth and fifth season of 13 episodes each. Similar to this season’s shared-window experiment, DirecTV will get first crack at the episodes followed by an encore run on NBC.

This is the best news ever. Friday Night Lights is by far one of the best shows on television and I can’t wait for the next two seasons. Even though I have to say goodbye to Tim Riggins for good.