In less than a week, Friday Night Lights will be closing up shop for the second time. After finishing up its final season on DirecTV earlier this year and releasing the entire season on DVD before its run on NBC, the show will be airing its series finale on Friday, July 15th. It’s a sad time for the small but passionate fan base of what some consider to be one of the greatest shows of all time, but it’s also a time of reflection and looking to the future.
After Friday Night Lights was canceled by ABC Family after only a couple of weeks living in syndication, I was pretty upset, as this show needs to be exposed to as many people as possible and it looked like it was going to have to rely on word-of-mouth once again. That is, until ESPN came into the picture and, according to The Wrap, picked up reruns of Friday Night Lights starting the week the show finally signs off. On Tuesday July 12th, the first two episodes of Friday Night Lights will air on ESPN Classic (beginning at 8:00) with a season one marathon airing on the 14th and 15th. The show will then settle into its new Thursday night home starting July 21st, where it will air two episodes weekly starting at 9:00.
If you think that Friday Night Lights is just a show about a football team, I highly encourage you to actually sit down and watch the first few episodes of season 1 when ESPN Classic starts airing it. You’ll find that the show isn’t flashy Sportscenter highlights with a thin story rigged up just to have some semblance of a show; it’s a deeply emotional, realistic, rich look at marriage, growing up, small town life, and finding that last kernel of strength when you think you can’t go on any longer. This is organic, outstanding storytelling at its finest and easily transcends its label as a “sports drama” when it’s oh so much more. Even though the show is available through several outlets (DVD, Netflix Instant Streaming, etc.), I hope that enough people watch the show to keep it on air for years to come because this isn’t just television. It’s art.
Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose.
What do you think about the move by ESPN? Will you be tuning into the show in syndication? Do you think this’ll introduce the show to more people?