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Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose

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Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose

Friday Night Lights Season 4

Photo by: Justin Stephens/NBC

Unless you have DirectTV, you’ve been waiting for “Friday Night Lights” to return to NBC.  This week, that finally happens.  I can tell you: it’s worth the wait.

   By : SHAWNA BENSON

Unless you have DirectTV, you’ve been waiting for “Friday Night Lights” to return to NBC.  This week, that finally happens.  I can tell you: it’s worth the wait.

This show has continued to get stronger and better with each passing season.  Sure there was that rough patch in Season 2, but nearly every show has some growing pains.  I’m happy to see that NBC is becoming more vocal about the yearly oversight this show endures for Emmy recognition.  “Friday Night Lights” has never been ‘sexy’ or particularly trendy, but it has always had good, solid storytelling and great characters, created with realism and truth. 

Friday Night Lights Season 4

Photo by: Justin Stephens/NBC

As season four begins, Dillon, Texas is now a town divided – two high schools, two football teams.  East Dillon High School was resurrected from its long dormant state, and much to the dismay of parents and students, some of the kids (on the “wrong side of the tracks”) are being forced to hang up their Panther Pride and become East Dillon Lions.

The Taylor household is also divided.  Tami is still principal at Dillon but Coach Eric was shipped to the other side of town and will have an entirely new team of Lions to whip into shape.  It doesn’t look like it’s going to be easy.  Landry Clarke has been shifted across the tracks to East Dillon too, so he’s the only player Coach Taylor has as he starts the season.  Worse, the sense of entitlement and superiority can be felt from the Panthers team and cocky J.D. McCoy, who has become head quarterback.  A rivalry between the two schools looks to be in the cards.
Lyla, Tyra and Smash have said most of their farewells, but Tim Riggins is still hanging around.  Tim didn’t last long in college, returning home to work with his brother Billy at Riggins Garage.  Matt Sarasen also graduated last year and chose to stay in town to take care of his grandma and be near Julie.  Can a life of delivering pizzas, rather than attending the Art Institute of Chicago be satisfying enough for him?

As some characters depart, new ones come to the fore and are introduced. Landry is trying to move on from Tyra and it appears that running over Jess Merriweather’s bicycle may help him in that regard.  That is, if Jess isn’t still interested in Vince Howard, a troublemaker Coach must try to keep on his football team and out of jail.

It looks like the focus of season four will be how everyone copes with the monumental changes and whether the town can survive.  As “Friday Night Lights” has shown us for the past three years, this is not an easily answered question.  If the first episode of the season is any indicator of what is to come, prepare for a roller coaster of heartache and triumphs.  It’s what this show does best.

“Never Out of the Fight.”

The show returns to NBC Friday, May 7th at 8:00 pm.

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