October 03, 2006

Friday Night Lights

I haven't seen it yet, so this is no personal endorsement, but when ace New York Times critic, Virginia Heffernan, gets so excited about a TV series, so do I. Here's the lead of her review in the New York Times today:

Lord, is “Friday Night Lights” good. In fact, if the season is anything like the pilot, this new drama about high school football could be great — and not just television great, but great in the way of a poem or painting, great in the way of art with a single obsessive creator who doesn’t have to consult with a committee and has months or years to go back and agonize over line breaks and the color red; it could belong in a league with art that doesn’t have to pause for commercials, or casually recap the post-commercial action, or sell viewers on the plot and characters in the first five minutes, or hew to a line-item budget, or answer to unions and studios, or avoid four-letter words and nudity.

Kyle Chandler plays Eric Taylor, the beleaguered new coach of a high school football team in Texas. And the fact that Peter Berg wrote and directed the premiere of “Friday Night Lights” within the confines of television production — network television production, at that — means that it’s certainly great.

Friday Night Lights debuts on NBC tonight at 8:00 P.M. E.S.T., and reruns tomorrow at the same time.

I've been too busy plugging my own book to discuss television here much, but has anyone noticed that there aren't as many horrific new shows this season as there usually are?