TV must see: ‘Friday Night Lights’

Matt Busekroos

The third season of “Friday Night Lights” finally premiered on Jan. 16 after airing on DirecTV following NBC’s deal with the satellite provider last year. After two successful seasons, the ratings-challenged “Lights” is back better than ever. The show is giving fans a satisfying 13 episodes that could very well be the last of the series, pending a fourth season pick-up by NBC later this spring.

A new school year leaves the show at a crossroads as many of the show’s beloved characters are in their senior year. The season first wraps up dangling stories featuring Brian “Smash” Williams (Gaius Charles) and Jason Street (Scott Porter), who have been pivotal characters since the show’s inception.

Since the show last aired, guidance counselor Tami Taylor (Connie Britton) has been promoted as principal of Dillon High, which causes difficulties at home with her husband, Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler), who is football coach of the Dillon Panthers. Tami struggles with Buddy Garrity (Brad Leland), an influential booster, who wants money set aside for a jumbo tron for the school’s football games. Unfortunately, the school is in dire economic need and Tami wants funds allocated to keeping teachers on staff and for purchasing school supplies. The dynamic between Tami and Eric is sensational and the chemistry between Britton and Chandler makes them one of the best couples on television. Tami and Eric cope with real life issues such as questioning whether to buy a new home or how to raise their teenage daughter while juggling their newborn baby. The football team’s larger budget is one hot button issue that the two must deal with together in the new season.

One new character introduced this season is J.D. McCoy (Jeremy Sumpter). J.D. is an all-star freshman quarterback, who takes over for current quarterback Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) after a few disappointing performances early in the season. After taking care of his grandmother suffering from dementia, Matt seeks out his mother for help. Matt’s mother played by Kim Dickens is strong support to her son and encourages his dream to be an artist in Chicago once he graduates from high school.

“Friday Night Lights” is one of the best dramas on TV. The show is not just about a high school football team, but about the people living in fictional Dillon, Texas. Their stories depict realistic situations and resonate on a more personal level than any other series on the air. “Friday Night Lights” airs Fridays at 9 on NBC.