"Friday Night Lights" has now gone, officially, to the great DVD boxed set in the sky. Five years of great characters, super storytelling, and a real Texas locale left memories about people who aren't real, but who felt real. I'm going to miss it horribly. Aside from "Upstairs, Downstairs" (the original) and "Poldark," (both on PBS), I can't remember being so engrossed and enamoured of fictional characters on the screen. FNL did what a great story does: it focused on a few characters, their flaws, their fears, their failures, and let us feel how they felt as they struggled to succeed.
At its heart, it was about a marriage and family. The Taylor family was no less important than the football team family or the Saracen family. They all got equal air time. When it became clear that Matt's grandmother was losing it, we understood his anguish and inability to know the right thing to do. Tami Taylor's fights with her daughter Julie are echoed every day in real houses. Yet the characters and their lives were all strung together with love, and we, the viewers, knew it. No matter how bad things got (and they got pretty ugly sometimes), we were sure of the love, even if the characters seemed to have forgotten about it.
Love always triumphed. How can a series based on that fundamental go wrong? FNL did everything right, and the last episode was the best of all. Farewell, Dillon, Texas. I wouldn't want to live there, but I loved being with you for one Friday night every week.