Friday Night Lights is an American serial drama television series adapted by Peter Berg, Brian Grazer and David Nevins from a book and film of the same name.
The series details events surrounding the Dillon Panthers, a high school football team based in fictional Dillon, Texas, with particular focus given to the team's coach, Eric Taylor and his family. The show uses this small-town backdrop to address many issues facing contemporary Middle America.
The series aired in the USA on NBC and The 1010 Network from 3 October, 2006 to 9 February, 2011. There are 76 hour-long episodes in five seasons.
Friday Night Lights originally premiered in South Africa on M-Net on Friday 4 May 2007, at 19h30. It also aired on DStv's GO (which later became Vuzu) and M-Net Holiday channels and was moved to DStv's M-Net Series channel for the final season.
See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Season one revolves around two main events: the ascension of coach Eric Taylor to the position of head coach and the paralysis of star quarterback Jason Street.
These two events set off a chain reaction that leads the series through its first season, which largely revolves around a few basic themes.
The first of these themes is the overcoming of adversity. This is most evident in the juxtaposition of the team's new quarterback Matt Saracen and Jason Street who is now paralyzed from the chest down.
Both characters must struggle against seemingly insurmountable odds as Street learns to live without the use of his legs and Saracen must rise to be worthy of the position he has now inherited.
Both struggle mightily against their respective challenges and their journeys largely parallel each other as each eventually conquers those challenges.
At the same time, a theme that repeats itself throughout the first season is the struggle Coach Taylor must face trying to balance the need to do the right thing with the need to appease a town whose hopes and dreams are inseparably intertwined with their high school football team.
At several points Taylor must risk his team's success and consequently his job to do the right thing.
Finally, the first season's overarching theme is that even seemingly stereotypical people have unknown depth; once that depth is revealed people generally are not as different as they believe themselves to be.
Nowhere is this made clearer than in one of the season’s most volatile relationships, that of “Smash” Williams with Tim Riggins.
Williams is a driven athlete, obviously college bound, with a good family, while Riggins is an unfocused alcoholic with absentee parents and no prospects beyond high school.
When the season opens both characters despise each other but as it progresses they become more and more dependent on each other eventually forming a friendship. In doing so they realise that they aren't as different as they had once thought.
The cast also includes Scott Porter as the Panther's injured former star quarterback, Jason Street; Gaius Charles as feared running back Brian "Smash" Williams; Taylor Kitsch as reckless and self-destructive full back Tim Riggins; Connie Britton as Taylor's supportive wife and high school guidance counselor, Tami; Zach Gilford as Matt Saracen, the new team captain and star quarterback; and Minka Kelly as Lyla Garrity, Panther cheerleader and Street's on again off-again girlfriend.
Also starring are Aimee Teegarden as Coach Taylor's daughter, Julie; Adrianne Palicki as Tyra Collette; and Jesse Plemons as Landry Clarke.
Season 1 (22 episodes)
Channel: M-Net | Premiere: 4 May 2007 | Finale: 28 Sep 2007 | Fridays, 19h30
Channel: GO | Premiere: 18 Sep 2007 | Finale: 22 Feb 2008 | Tuesdays, 18h30
Channel: M-Net Holiday | Premiere: 10 Dec 2007 | Finale: 31 Dec 2007 | Daily, 09h00
Season 2 (15 episodes)
Channel: M-Net | Premiere: 18 May 2008 | Finale: 24 Aug 2008 | Sundays, 17h00
Season 3 (13 episodes)
Channel: M-Net | Premiere: 27 Sep 2009 | Finale: 27 Dec 2009 | Sundays, 17h00
Season 4 (13 episodes)
Channel: Vuzu | Premiere: 16 Sep 2010 | Finale: 9 Dec 2010 | Thursdays, 20h30
Season 5 (13 episodes)
Channel: M-Net Series | Premiere: 2 Sep 2011 | Finale: 25 Nov 2011 | Fridays, 20h30