Friday, October 05, 2007

Plot twist dims brilliant 'Lights'

So you may remember how, a few weeks back, I wrote about how there was a development in the otherwise-great "Friday Night Lights" season premiere that had me really worried for the show's creative future? I've now seen two more episodes and am just as concerned. Today's column talks about that -- along with Jason Katims attempting to defend The Bad Thing in an interview -- in very non-spoilery terms:

Live fast, die young, leave a good-looking corpse.

No, that's not my own motto, but there are times when I wish some TV shows would follow it.

Too many series peak in their first seasons, then hang around for years as they slowly devolve into self-caricature. Even worse are the good but low-rated shows that get renewed on the condition that the network gets to make "improvements" that inevitably take away what was special about the show in the first place. NBC, for example, kept renewing "Homicide" and then forcing serial killers and prettier, less talented actors on the producers.

I was thinking about "Homicide" a lot as NBC's brilliant, struggling high school football drama "Friday Night Lights" approached the end of its first season last spring. Here was as perfect a season of a TV drama as I had ever seen, and yet a part of me was rooting against renewal. I feared what NBC would do to make the show more "accessible" or some other silly buzzword, and how that might sully my memory of the genius of season one.

To read the full thing, click here. As the column says, I'll have a post ready to publish as soon as the premiere ends, where I'll have some more quotes from Katims, more detailed thoughts on why I'm so troubled, etc. Since I know a lot of people watched the premiere on Yahoo!, if you want to talk about The Bad Thing now, we can continue the discussion in the comments for the last post I did on this. (I'll be checking them all day.) I want to leave this post a spoiler-free zone, and once the episode airs, we can all come together to argue about it some more.

12 comments:

Beckylooo said...

Oh Alan, my heart just broke a little. I hope I disagree with you upon seeing eps 2&3 but that seems highly unlikely. I look forward to more of the Katims interview.

Sigh.

jcpbmg said...

okay alan, you have now officially caused me to worry about fnl's future.

i tend to put a lot of faith in quality tv writers to pull their shows through and ultimately restore them to their former glory, and while i'm frequently let down i was really hoping that wouldn't be the case here

i'm also surprised they would view soapier plot lines as a way of bringing in more viewers, especially since OTH hasn't had decent ratings (and I mean that by cw/the wb standards) since s2 and now-soapy shows like grey's are purging viewers by the week

Anonymous said...

You know, I believe Katims. This storyline began in the Mud Bowl, and even back then I felt it was awkward and belonged on a different show.

That being said, I was just as uncomfortable with tonight's other storyline (not a spoiler since it's given away on Yahoo's page describing the episode), that of Julie looking to cheat on Matt with a college pedophile (a storyline that was also done uncomfortably last season when Tyra did it).

My guess as to what the bad thing would be based on what you wrote was that Julie would lose her virginity to him. I'm glad it didn't go down that route, but I'm getting real tired of the fact that not one character on this show in a relationship can be faithful except for the coach and his wife.

More thoughts after tonight's episode airs.

Anonymous said...

Any words on how the DVDs are selling for the show? I went to 1 Circuit City, 3 Borders, and 3 Best Buys before finding it. Everyone else was sold out.

Anonymous said...

I really can't believe that this subplot is so horrendous that it will ruin the show. I haven't watched the episode yet, but FNL is so freaking brilliant that I am more than willing to forgive an attempt or two at melodrama or a One Tree Hill-like plot line. I'm sure a lot of people rolled their eyes and hated the Riggins/MILF subplot last season, but that didn't really bother me in the least. (Maybe because I have a HUGE TV crush on Riggins, but I digress.) Looking forward to tonight...

Beckylooo said...

that of Julie looking to cheat on Matt with a college pedophile

Well, I think you've gotten a skewed perception of that storyline based on what ever's up on yahoo. And its not related to "The Bad Thing."

Anonymous said...

What's skewed about it? I watched the episode. Julie did have a huge crush on an older guy (at least 21+ since he's playing a bar) who was into her (knowing fully well she's underage) and went there to cheat on Matt.

Beckylooo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beckylooo said...

I'm a tad uncomfy about getting into specifics in a spoiler free environment so I'm going to respond in the other thread.

jcpbmg said...

while if the storyline went any further he would be guilty of statutory rape, that's certainly not the same thing as pedophilia by any extent (especially since 16 isn't considered a child in the context of pedophilia).. and wow, i really watch way too much svu

Anonymous said...

Sad, but true. According to the previews for next week's episode, Julie is going forward with the relationship with the pedophile. And while technically he isn't one, I prefer to use the negative connotation associated with this, rather than statutory rapist.

John Boni said...

Alan,

Saw the episode and at this point I know what the bad thing is that you're talking about. I am of mixed feelings about it and when you let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, I'd like to offer my own observations.

JohnB