Clear eyes. Full Hearts. Can't Lose. In the first episode of the critcally acclaimed series, Friday Night Lights, this mantra pulls you into a world that feels all too familiar, but holds your breath barely and steadily because this world is all too magical.
How often are you enamoured by a television series's cinematography? How often is your gut clenched just waiting for the next visceral image? I would assume this is a rare occurrence. What is even more surprising is this was not an HBO, Showtime, or AMC series. Friday Night Lights barely made it through its five seasons due to low ratings, though it possessed extreme critical acclaim. It has heart and it can be appreciated by any group: old, young, football fanatic, football hater; it doesn't matter. The show provides a sense of unity that appears lost in some other shows. We've got our True Blood, our Mad Men, our Game of Thrones, our Boardwalk Empire, but we also have a show about small town Texas and the community whose entire life revolves the football game occurring every Friday. Football presents unity, the fragmentary, a coping mechanism, something to celebrate and the all around banality of everyday life. It does not need vampires to showcase passion, or kings and queens to present the earnest desperation found in betrayal and it doesn't need a Don Draper to have an alluring mystery and appeal. All it needs is heart.
The show was by far an underdog throughout its entire run. Yet, it has some of the most compelling characters to date. It's easy to look at Friday Night Lights and say it's like its other teen counterparts: One Tree Hill, 90210, or the O.C.. However, the drama never feels forced. In fact, if you're not crying by the end of episode one, you're trying too hard to ignore that sense of emotion that TV series rarely do well. As I've said before, what enhances the show and quite possibly allows such visceral depth, where other shows would come off too dramatic, is the cinematography and the music.
The band, Explosions in the Sky, orignally provided music for the 2005 movie, Friday Night Lights, with Billy Bob Thornton, which was based on the book by H.G. Bissinger. The band also has a song on the first season soundtrack to the TV series. If the music of Explosions of the Sky gives you instrumental chills, then this show will to. Here's a song off of the first O.S.T. for the TV show:
Now, keep that style of music in mind and watch this clip (includes a spoiler from the end of the season 1 pilot):
You can get all five seasons through the Denver Public Library:
Clear eyes. Full Hearts. Best show you're about to watch.