Netflix Roulette — Friday Night Lights

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We’re Katey Stoetzel and Sara Hettel, and we’ll be teaming up this semester to bring you Netflix Roulette.

Netflix Roulette is a weekly source of commentary about television shows found within Netflix’s library. Each week, we’ll randomly select a series by spinning the wheel on the Netflix Roulette website. All thoughts, observations and reviews are based only on the pilot episode of each series.

NBC’s “Friday Night Lights” premiered Oct. 3, 2006 and tells the story of Coach Eric Taylor as he attempts to lead his high school football team to the state championship. Football is king in the small town of Dillon, TX, and it shows as the team maneuvers through PR appearances and news crews. During the big game, quarterback Jason Street is knocked out and taken into surgery, leaving it up to alternate Matt Saracen to finally prove himself as a valued member of the team.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Katey: Well, this show certainly brings back memories of a high school that is mostly focused on football.

Sara: My high school was the exact opposite, which made this a very weird, eye-opening watch. I found myself struggling with the reality of a lot of the situations because of that.

Katey: I would agree with that. The team had news crews following them around, which was a little unbelievable. But that probably stems from the small town aspect. This was kind of a weird pilot structurally. I liked the cold open and how we were just thrown into the chaos of this football world this town is absorbed in. But after the cold open and leading up to the game, it was still chaotic and hard to follow.

Sara: Yeah, that’s what I chalked it up to. It seemed as well that the news crew could be doing a documentary of sorts on the team, since they followed them to so many different places. I agree with it being a bit chaotic. I don’t know half the characters’ names or any of the backstory of the town, which would have been pretty interesting. I also didn’t feel really connected to the story until the end when Jason was taken to the hospital. I felt like the team was missing a lot of heart despite their motto of “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.”

Katey: Definitely not interested in the typical Jock/Cheerleader dynamics already presented here. But I will admit that during the game, oh boy I was super emotionally invested. When Jason got hurt and Saracen, the backup, had to go in, I was pretty much on the edge of my seat. I’m sure the people in the library where I was watching the episode thought I was having a stroke, or something.

Sara: There really is something about watching 25 year old actors pretending to be high schoolers fighting over relationships and whatnot. But yeah, I was more invested in that game than I’d probably like to admit. I was just so proud of Saracen. The game was where the entire episode hit a turning point for me.

Katey: Haha, I was proud of him too. I like underdog stories, and his was the biggest in this pilot. This show has a lot of Emmy nominations and awards, so I’m sure this show gets better beyond the pilot. I’m definitely interested in Saracen’s story and his friend, the only other guy character who isn’t on the team. Also, there’s a ton of people in this show, so that was kind of distracting. Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Minka Kelly, Adrianne Palicki, Taylor Kitsch and Jesse Plemons. Pretty disorienting, there during the opening credits.

Sara: I felt so bad for him when he hit that guy in the head with the football, haha, but he came through for us. I can definitely see the Emmy potential, especially considering how emotional it got in the last ten minutes or so. Also, the fact that you called Saracen’s friend “the only other guy character who isn’t on the team” is a perfect testament to there being way too many people in this show. I would have liked more focus on Coach Taylor and his family, and maybe some on Saracen as well, just because those dynamics felt the most realistic and heartfelt to me. Everything else was a little contrived and cliche.

Katey: For sure. Those dynamics are the only ones that will have me going forward with this show. And I think I will go forward with it. The promise of the those Emmy nominations has me very intrigued about where this show goes. I also couldn’t help but wonder something while watching this pilot. The show is called “Friday Night Lights.” And during the pilot, it started on a Monday and continued putting up title cards for the days leading up to Friday. So, like, is every episode going to do that? Is this show only concerned about the events on Fridays? What about midnight between Friday night and Saturday morning? That’s technically Saturday, but also technically still Friday. I was seriously pondering all of this during the pilot.

Sara: I can see myself continuing with it as well, but if you had asked me within the first half hour that answer would be way different. That’s a good point on the title cards. I think Friday is definitely the main focus, especially since that’s when high school football games generally happen. I am fairly interested in seeing the weekend dynamics, especially since religion was emphasized. I would venture to say that the next episode will probably highlight that Saturday to show us Jason’s improvements. It would be weird for them to cut out entire days like that.

Katey:  Haha, yeah. I’m sure that’s not going to be the case, but it does set itself up for those kinds of questions. I’m not entirely sure what else to say here, so I’ll just reiterate that this show really knows how to film football games. That whole sequence was super electric. It was that scene where I could kind of believe the news crews and stuff. This team seems to be pretty special.

Sara: It’s the best team ever, according to the players. I finally started to believe it at the end, too. Thumbs up for “Friday Night Lights.”

The series finale aired Feb. 9, 2011 after a five season run. “Friday Night Lights” has nearly a five star rating on Netflix. Similar titles include “Blue Mountain State,” “Master of None” and “One Tree Hill.”

Join us next week for the Best of Netflix Roulette.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]