Frazier Moore asks, for the Associated Press, “Who would want to face the sad news that the fall’s best new series has been overlooked into oblivion by viewers?” The show in question is NBC’s Tuesday night drama, Friday Night Lights. And, for some reason, this critically beloved show is underperforming in the ratings. What’s the cause of it? Moore points out that, perhaps, mainstream audiences are reluctant to embrace characters that are more ordinary:
Very few TV dramas recognize anyone below a comfortable economic level. (According to TV’s aspirational slant, its characters are meant to be our role models as consumers. With their lifestyles and possessions, they provide us a wish list for what to acquire.) Another thing: Very few TV dramas acknowledge fields outside of law and order, medicine and the media. (According to conventional TV wisdom, other jobs are too routine or unrelatable.)
With its different mindset, “Friday Night Lights” has claimed a world far from TV’s beaten path, and depicts it with such honesty that we viewers behold its ordinary people (and, by extension, ourselves) with new eyes. In the writing, acting and on-location filming (the production is based in Austin), “Friday Night Lights” debunks the “TV version” of things, depicting real life on its own indigenous terms. This, alone, is a powerful reason to watch.