Friday Night Lights

OK, so it’s been hectic and there’s not been a lot of time for movie watching. Instead, I did see the first couple of episodes of Holly Hunter’s first foray into TV, the oddly bi-polar Saving Grace. It’s part Walker, Texas Ranger, part Touched by an Angel. Though the drunk and wayward cop thing has been done to death elsewhere, it’s entertaining enough. The religious stuff, by contrast, is horrible, horrible, horrible. Fortunately I’d tivo-ed it, so I could fast forward through the crap bits – which is basically whenever the guy with wings appears. It’s set in Texas, though – which is really the reason for this post.

I came across this fantastic review by Sara Mosle on Slate.com, of the high school football drama, Friday Night Lights. It’s set in the fictional West Texas town of Dillon, and based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger’s book about small-town Texas life.  Now, FNL is a show I haven’t ever seen, haven’t ever wanted to see, mainly because, American Football is not really big news anywhere other than, say, America, and too much “U-S-A, U-S-A” sporting testosterone makes me nauseous. But it would seem as if I’ve misjudged FNL…..  Says Mosle:

Friday Night Lights is….Texas as it’s seldom been seen—which is to say, as it really is. Virtually no one in Dillon wears a cowboy hat, and certainly no one under 30 does. The show has yet to show a single character on a horse. The only person depicted as remotely connected to an oil well is a businessman from Los Angeles, briefly passing through, representing faraway interests…..

….Hand-held cameras follow actors around on location, as they go about what appears to be their actual lives—to the gas station, to the grocery store, to the local diner, into one another’s homes. The cameras even ride in the car, like passengers, staring out at the passing scenery.

The show shoots in and around Austin, using city locations rather than sets, in order to build authenticity. (though this was a close call; filming nearly moved to New Mexico when much-hoped-for Texas film incentives were initially not forthcoming.)

If only for the realistic portrayal of modern America, I really think I must check this series out…..