Wednesday, April 2, 2008

"Friday Night Lights" gets saved. Now, does it need fixing?

You may have heard already, but NBC renewed "Friday Night Lights" as it announced an ambitious (and confusing) 52-week schedule for next year. One of the big bits of news, of course, was that "FNL" was coming back, partly because DirecTV cut a deal with NBC and will air the series first, then NBC will get it back. There will be 13 episodes available to DirecTV customers in the fall, then the series will go back to NBC (for the same 13 eps.) at midseason. I think this is a great idea and one we'll probably see again in the future. Anything to save struggling, deserving series. The question now is, what needs to be done to "FNL" to make it as great as Season 1? Anything?

Also, NBC announced a spin-off of "The Office" and a four-episode order for a half-hour, Thursday version of "Saturday Night Live." Maybe this one will be funny?


George D from the 415 said...

The SNL thing sounds like a horrible idea

Mon-sewer Paul Regret said...

Thank you for asking. My sense is that you don't think anything needs fixing, because you seemed less bothered by the problematic aspects of S2 than most of us. The problem with FNL is that we can't erase the stupid rape/murder/body disposal plot, which means on some level, the show is unfixable. Having said that, just concentrate on what it does best. Soapy melodrama is fine ... ludicrous plot shenanigans are not. And remember that your central married couple are in the TV Married Couple Hall of Fame, so don't come up with another plot line that requires the couple in question to spend all their time separated.

domino87 said...

What needs to be fixed about FNL is to just go back to the original S1 formula. No more death scenes, no more robbing from meth dealers. Just stick to the basic stuff from S1 and it should be fine.

Can't say I like the scheduling arrangement though, I pulled this from Daniel Fienberg's Blog:

"Now I'm not going to advocate digital piracy, but the episodes are going to make their way online somehow and what are the odds that tried-and-true "FNL" fans are going to say "Well, I'll just wait three months," knowing that the episodes are out there in the ether? I'm gonna go with "low." Then the show will return to NBC, it'll get plunked in the same Friday night slot that didn't really work this year (albeit after actual football season is mostly over, which could be beneficial) and nobody will watch. I wonder how many people currently subscribing to DirecTV are "FNL" fans, because those dozen people are the only real beneficiaries. NBC knows this, but it's all about finding different ways to manage failure."

I pretty much agree.

The Office spin-off? No idea about that until I hear an actual idea for the pilot, according to Kristin dos Santos Greg Daniels doesn't have one yet. I just hope it doesn't tarnish The Office in any way.

girlina said...

At least in the Dirty South, there's beaucoup peeps w/DirectTV, thanks to that little flood issue called Katrina a couple years back. I doubt it's a money maker for DirectTV, but it may help the show find a new audience.

lalalysa said...

Well, this Oakland DirecTV customer is thrilled that the show is coming back.

I agree with Domino87 that going back to the S1 formula will bode well for the series, and I don't have the same reservations about the other commenters.

I've always liked the Riggins/Lyla and Smash storylines. Less excited about Saracen's and the nanny, but I always like the Eric/Tami storylines because, frankly, I can relate to their everyday issues (although my older child is not a teen).

Despite the wrong direction of the rape/murder/body disposal, many of last season's storylines worked well on their own: the visiting school, the pull for Santiago to go bad, the child care/attachment issue, the visiting sister - all rang true for me. I'll be curious to see how the Buddy/Santiago storyline plays out - that could take a bad turn and turn cheesy(er).

leftymn said...

Does FNL need fixing? You're joking, right? What, the best series on broadcast television wasn't absolutely dead perfect? I'm just pleased to know they're bringing it back.

Jason from Calgary said...

I think FNL needs to spend a bit more time working on the football aspects of the storyline. Season 2 intentionally went away from football, and I think it hurt the show. The team and the games should help tie the show together, not just be a poorly referenced part of the background.

Anonymous said...

As much as I'll miss Smash and them, they need to graduate that class and introduce a bunch of new characters. They spent this truncated season leading up to graduation. We didn't get there, but they can't try to pick up a year later like no time has passed. Maybe A "bridge" episode or two-parter to start the season with flashbacks to where the seniors are today, introduce the new varsity and cheerleader additions, and give Saracen his senior year season.
It's high school, people need to move on. New team, new challenges, new characters, new conflicts, same coach and family in new situations.

Anonymous said...

FNL needs to be improved big time. I loved it from the start and this season was a huge let-down.

Slow down! FNL felt like Grey's Anatomy last year with so much happening so quickly.

More football (but no team wins every game in the last second!); more Landry being Landry and not murdering rapists; more of the guys just hanging out; more of the Taylors, especially Mrs. Taylor; more Tyra (!); more of Street playing "murder ball" and less being a dad after a one-night stand; fewer murder plots, fewer new characters; more of Riggins' brother, but less ferrett-owning meth dealers.

emp said...

It seems highly unlikely that FNL will last past Season 3. So I say do it right- return to the style of Season 1, give all the major characters their due. It is not going to help matters to do away with Smash or Riggins, especially when they have finally given Smash a compelling storyline. Personally, I got tired of all the new characters shuffled in and out last season (with the exception of Santiago, who really brought out a fantastic side of Buddy), and I do not want to spend Season 3 meeting a 'new class'.

It was also really disappointing to have Landry on the football team this season- to me, that was even more disappointing than the whole murder plot. More Crucifictorious, please.

Finally, the core of the show in Season 1 was the strong relationship between Coach and his wife. I suppose they had to show them going through a rough patch with the arrival of a new baby, but keeping them at odds with each other for too long ruins the entire premise of the show.

Larry said...

I am a big fan. I do think that the whole murder thing felt very out-of-place (inorganic?). It got dropped in, it played out, and then it was like it never happened. Outside of that, I still like the show and the characters in it and want to see what happens to them very much. The first season was golden and could stand by itself as a miniseries-maybe just too difficult to live to. It is still great TV.

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