Friday Night Lights



9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5

Friday might not be the ideal night for a series to stage a turnaround. Fans of "Friday Night Lights," one of the best dramas on TV, couldn't care less. Considering its puny ratings last season, just the fact that NBC returned it to the schedule is a gift.

Friday is high school football night across America. Will this engaging drama about a small-town Texas high school football team lose its most likely viewers by switching to Friday nights? Probably not. Many, if not most of "FNL's" fans tune in because the show transcends football. They fall in love with the characters, they identify with their struggles, and they celebrate their triumphs.

The first season ended in a state championship for the Dillon Panthers, but it left more strings untied than a Nike factory worker. Exec producer Peter Berg and his staff waste no time following some stories and creating new ones.

In the season premiere, Coach Eric Tyler (Kyle Chandler) and his wife (Connie Britton) become new parents. The new Panther coach -- Coach Tyler accepted a job coaching in college at the end of last season -- is a strict disciplinarian. The romance between Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) and Julie Taylor (Aimee Teegarden) might be cooling off just as the one between Landry (Jesse Plemons) and Tyra (Adrianne Palicki) is heating up. And that's just for starters.

There isn't a first-season summary, but it's easy to jump right in. Here's hoping many viewers do just that.