kyle-chandler-getty-250 Several friends pointed out to me on Monday that my favorite television series, Friday Night Lights, was one of the big surprises at the Emmy Awards ceremony Sunday evening. Not only did Friday Night Lights win for best program for its final season (in its five-year run) but it also won for best dramatic actor, Kyle Chandler who was the brilliant Coach Taylor, and for the best drama writing, Jason Katims, who was the first executive producer and head writer.

Jason Katims gave a speech described by a media source as “lovely

[and] graceful” and ended it with the most famous line of the whole series: "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose." This memorable line, for those of you who have yet to see this series, is Coach Taylor’s great line used repeatedly at moments of intense drama just before his team took the field to play an important football game! Katims won his award for writing the show's finale, titled: “Always.” Personally, I believe this was the finest conclusion episode to a television series I can ever remember seeing. I noted this when I blogged on Friday Night Lights a few months ago. I am grateful the Emmy Awards acknowledged and celebrated this fantastic series, especially its final season. It is truly one of the great American television shows of the past five years and only got much needed recognition after it had ended. Now, after all this attention, maybe more people will enjoy the series in DVD format.

Other programs/series got much more attention from the critics over the last five years. Many were more popular but Friday Night Lights will remain, at least for some time, an enduring television series classic. Even if you do not like football, much less understand it, you really should see why these awards were rightly given up to Friday Night Lights. It is American television at its very best.
Actor Kyle Chandler, who played Coach Eric Taylor, clearly deserved the recognition that he received for his role in this amazing series. When he won as best dramatic actor he was at a loss for words. He tried to compose himself and then said, “I knew for a fact that I would not be standing here so I didn't worry about writing anything, and now I'm starting to worry about it.” He then thanked the show's casting director and producers, and "the people of Austin, Texas, who welcomed us into their home and filled those stadiums and brought the show to life while we were there. God bless and thank you so much."

As good as Kyle Chandler was, and he was simply brilliant, the surrounding characters were some of the best ever assembled on modern television. The only criticism that I’ve heard from friends who I’ve encouraged to watch Friday Night Lights is that “this stuff was too real for me.” Well, that just might be. But this is precisely why I loved it. Rent or borrow the series, now that it is history and the recipient of so many well-deserved awards, and watch it. I almost guarantee that you will like it. But then tastes vary and some of you simply do not appreciate television series at all. For the rest of you, get it and watch it. After a few episodes you will be a fan!

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  1. Craig September 20, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Wondered if you would blog about this, John. I was delighted to see this show get this recognition–especially for best writing!
    There have been very few feature films in recent years that approach the level of writing and acting seen in an episode of FNL.

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