The lights will shine on the East Dillon Lions one last time when DirecTV airs the series finale of “Friday Night Lights” tonight.
“Friday Night Lights” first premiered on NBC October 3, 2006 to modest ratings. The first season generated massive critical success and the series eventually earned five Television Critics Association Awards, including mentions for its stars Kyle Chandler (Coach Eric Taylor) and Connie Britton (Tami Taylor).
The writer’s strike during the show’s second season interrupted its run, and the time change to Friday lessened the show’s visibility. On the fence for renewal, DirecTV stepped in and made a deal with NBC. The two agreed to finance the show together for one 13 episode season, which ran first on DirecTV in the fall, and then in the spring on NBC.
After a creative rebound during the third season and a successful run on DirecTV, the pay cabler struck another deal with NBC for one final batch of 26 episodes split over two seasons.
The show made stars of its young supporting cast. When “Friday Night Lights” first premiered, Chandler and Britton were the only familiar faces. Both had starred on the long-running shows “Early Edition” and “Spin City,” respectively.
Taylor Kitsch (Tim Riggins) won the high-profile role of Gambit in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Kitsch is also set to star as John Carter in Disney’s “John Carter of Mars” next year. Minka Kelly (Lyla Garrity) can be seen in theaters now opposite “Gossip Girl” star Leighton Meester in “The Roommate.”
Adrianne Palicki (Tyra Collette), Jesse Plemons (Landry Clarke), Zach Gilford (Matt Saracen), Aimee Teegarden (Julie Taylor), and Scott Porter (Jason Street) have also increased in visibility since the show started.
Palicki, who left the show as a regular after season three, and Kitsch, Plemons and Gilford, who left the show as regulars after season four, return for the series finale to help say goodbye.
After five seasons and 76 episodes, the series finale of “Friday Night Lights” airs tonight at nine on DirecTV.
Photo credit: Universal Studios