It always feels a little odd to write about a show posthumously. Well, let me clarify that: it feels a little odd to start writing about a show posthumously. But for one piece from August 2010 in which I encouraged other TV fans to tell me (and my readers) why Friday Night Lights was a show worthy of my TV time, I remained silent as the series started-- and as it came to an end. I remained silent in part because I was not yet all caught up and didn't want to offer judgment on things not yet seen or commentary on seasons too far behind. But now I am in an even weirder position: I plan to write about the show when it's fifth and final season begins airing on NBC on April 15th 2011. That will be about two months after the series finale aired on DirecTV and another ten days after the complete series will have been released on DVD. Will there be any Dillon fans left who haven't already seen how it ends?
I admit I was originally planning to try to remain spoiler-free until then. I wanted to watch all of the events unfold "live" with NBC. I wanted to be surprised, and yes saddened at times, as I always have been in the past. I wanted to go in with "clear eyes and a full heart," as it were. But I started my rewatch "catch up" a bit early to be able to stick to that plan because I'll be done with season four by start of March, and then what? I'm not going to want to wait until the fifth for the DVDs, let alone an extra few days just to go one episode at a time!
As it is, all of my "I love Landry. I love Tim Riggins. I love Jason Street." commentary is a bit belated, even if somewhat universal and definitely "evergreen."
So it will be with a heavy heart that I first begin to really write about the show after the fact. After it has already come to an end. After its cast and crew have gone on to other work and put this great one behind them. After the last frame was not only shot but edited, aired, and wrapped up in a nice, tight little “home entertainment” package. As it was, when I interviewed Zach Gilford for his new project, I felt slightly odd about asking him about the one that he had closed the chapter on so much earlier before. He had his closure, and I had to respect that, even if I hadn't yet had mine.
So I admit I'm not quite sure what to do about this fifth season airing on NBC. If the peacock network lines up interview opportunities with the stars, I will jump at the chance to take them, but if not...well, I'm not sure I'm going to go after many. Especially because so many of them are already promoting other, new projects, and their focus (as well as the media's) should really be on the new.
You could say that Friday Night Lights is such a great piece of work-- such a great piece of art-- that the actors will most likely be proud, willing, and eager to talk about their experience on the show for years and years to come. And surely they will be asked about it for years and years to come. But not necessarily by me. I'm not the kind of journalist who likes to harp too much on the past, even if I am the kind of fan who does exactly that through countless re-watches and marathons.
Time will go on for actors like Gilford-- and jobs will come and go-- but there will never be another Friday Night Lights, and for me, it may just be #TexasForever.