Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose

Howdy ho, b-rollers. It’s been a quiet few weeks, I know. I apologize for abandoning you all for, um…yeah, pretty much the entire summer. God knows it’s a barren time for television, Mad Men and SYTYCD notwithstanding, and I haven’t seen that many films worth mentioning, since for every Inception (brilliant, indeed) there were a couple of A-Teams (I love me some Liam Neeson and shirtless Bradley Cooper, but the “let’s steer a falling tank by shooting its cannon” scenario took the suspension-of-disbelief principle just a touch too far for me). I’ve been to the library more than the movie theater; I know I should be proud of that, but it just feels like something’s amiss in the b-roll universe.

Anyhoo, thanks to every network’s decision to unleash all of the Fall premieres on the same damn week – that wheezing sound you hear is my DVR praying for respite, just FYI – we’ll have plenty to talk about again. At the end of this week, I’ll grade the Fall premieres of my favorite shows (oh Glee, how I’ve missed you!) and the newbies I’m testing out, so keep an eye out and be prepared to jump in with your thoughts.

In the meantime, though, I’d like to discuss my new obsession. A few weeks ago, on a quiet Friday night – you’ll appreciate the irony of this shortly – b-roll roomie and I were pondering what to watch, and said, “Hey, I’ve always heard good things about the show Friday Night Lights. Want to see if it’s on Netflix?” (Important addendum: the ability to stream movies and TV shows from Netflix to my television courtesy of my Nintendo Wii led me to say aloud, and I quote directly, “Streaming Netflix is a gift from the baby Jesus.” I stand by that.) Anyway, Season 1 was indeed available, so we watched an episode. Then another. And then four more. And suddenly it was Saturday. That weekend we were as social as the Unabomber, clutching the Wii remote and adopting “maybe just one more episode!” as our mantra, and by the end of the weekend, we’d watched all 22 episodes of Season 1 and were powering ahead to Season 2. Cue now, and we’re anxiously awaiting the first disc of Season 4 (no more streaming episodes after Season 3, unfortunately) and cursing that we have to wait until God-knows-when for the final episodes to air on NBC.

Why do I share this, rather guiltily? Because after hearing the drumbeat for years and inexplicably failing to heed it, I’ve finally given in to the critics and writers and bloggers who’ve been saying that FNL is the best-acted – and quite simply, one of the best – shows on television. They’re totally right. The show just doesn’t hit a false note. It’s funny and touching and suspenseful and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Now, there may be consequences to immersive FNL fandom. For example, I’ve begun thinking in a Texan accent, and may be speaking in one too; I dunno, it’s all a slow, drawl-y blur. Also, you may start scouring YouTube for any available videos of Taylor Kitsch, the gorgeous actor who plays Tim Riggins, a character who is lovable but a total screwup (a gorgeous one – did I mention that yet?). Riggins is that kind of “I could totally fix him” bad boy that all of the women on the show are attracted to, when they should like Matt, the sweet, responsible quarterback who is a thoroughly decent guy. Who do b-roll roomie and I prefer? Riggins, of course. To the extent that while watching one episode in which Riggins didn’t have a place to stay, we joked that he should come live with us, then got into an argument over whose room he could sleep in. (Her reason: “I have a bigger room!” My rebuttal: “Riggins prefers older women!” Um, anyway…)

In summation: Friday Night Lights is the best show I wasn’t watching. If you’re not either, for God’s sake, start. And if you’ve been watching this entire time, feel free to tell me what an idiot I am in the comments below. Clear eyes, full hearts…

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