Tuned In

TV Tonight: Friday Night Lights' Last Season (Again)

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If you didn’t watch it on DirecTV last year and earlier this year, or if you didn’t buy the already-available DVD set earlier this month, you can start watching the fifth and final season of Friday Night Lights via good-old-fashioned rabbit-ears broadcast TV tonight.

I absolutely loved the third season of FNL (its first on DirecTV) and its fourth (which fabulously rebooted the action mostly at a new school). The fifth begins a little more tentatively, but by its second half it is as strong as anything FNL has ever done, and its finale is a textbook example of how to satisfyingly end a realistic drama with a number of storylines.

The season starts by reintroducing several storylines (spoilers only if you are not caught up to the end of season 4): Tim Riggins is in prison and unable to entirely forgive Billy, the brother he took a fall for; Julie Taylor is off to college; Coach Eric is trying to see if he can transform East Dillon’s moral victories last season into actual ones; Tami is starting over in her very different new job. (Where she dealt with overmeddling staff and families at West Dillon, at East Dillon she’s up against apathetic faculty who have given up on their troubled kids.) In the meantime it launches some new stories and puts some meat on some old ones (Billy, whose character was largely defined in connection with Tim, becomes a more prominent and sympathetic figure this season; Vince deals with the help/hindrance of his father’s overeager involvement in his future football career).

I’m taking a week off next week (my kids’ spring break), so I probably won’t have time to do morning-after posts for the first couple of episodes; I’ll get back into the habit once season 5 starts to get in gear. In the meantime, if you’re an FNL fan, I assume you’re in for the ride by now, but have patience at the start and the season will reward you by the time it’s done. And feel free to use this post for postgame discussion this weekend. Go Lions!