The critically acclaimed Friday Night Lights, a follow-up to the book and film of the same name, never found a widespread audience. However it always maintained a devoted fanbase drawn to its realistic portrayal of small-town life and the pressure that an expectant town with little else to cheer about places on exceptional young athletes, their families and their coach.
Friday Night Lights (76 episodes, 2006-11).
A series following the on and off-field lives of a high school football team in Dillon, Texas, a small town with a long-standing obsession and history of success in the sport.
From the opening notes of W G ‘Snuffy’ Walden‘s title music (the man behind The West Wing’s theme), it’s immediately obvious that we’re not watching a big city drama. The theme captures the essence of life in the big, wide open spaces of the south, as well as an evocative sense of wistfulness of a town which lives as much on its former glories as the present, perhaps more.
This is matched by the traditional montage of character vignettes, interspersed with small snippets capturing the essence of everyday life in Dillon. Unusually, the actors’ names on screen aren’t necessarily matched up to images of the characters they play. Here are the opening credits for season three, which are typical of the series as a whole.
All the show’s instrumental and background music was performed by the Texan post-rock band Explosions in the Sky, who also provided the score for the film of the same name on which the series was based. (In turn, the film was based on H G Bissinger’s 1990 non-fiction book Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team and A Dream.)