Friday Night Lights—Season 1

9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great joining of strong story, great acting, and perfect visuals

Football theme might scare off some non-sports viewers


You’ve got your plans for Friday nights

Friday night is the biggest night in Dillon and the town lives and dies by the football field.  New coast Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) has one of the hottest teams in the state with Jason Street (Scott Porter) as quarterback and fullback Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) and running back Brian “Smash” Williams (Gaius Charles) with his back-up.  When disasters strikes during the first game, back-up quarterback Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) finds himself facing great odds and criticism when he’s forced to take over the team…and Friday is coming fast!


Best Coach Ever?

Friday Nights Lights—Season 1 aired from October 3, 2006 to April 11, 2007 on NBC, and was based on the 1990 non-fiction book Friday Night Lights:  A Town, a Team and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger and the 2004 film.  The series was praised by critics but struggled to find an audience (something that plagued the show through its entire five season run).  The show won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series and a nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (“Pilot”).

Friday Night Lights also suffers an image issue.  The show could easy be seen on the outside as a sports show and turn off viewers who have no interest in football.  The show however is a rather rich drama with lots of layers that can be enjoyed by almost everyone.


Didn’t see this one coming…either did Tyra

The series has tons of heart and the stories of the different characters have a lot of depth.  The characters are making real world choices that don’t just fit in the story.  The series could easily have just been one season, but the decision to have a continuing series leads to interesting set-ups for season two.

The reason the show works so well is that it hired great actors.  Much of the cast were finds by the producers and have little acting experience.  This gives the characters a much more real world field that the story needs.  The core cast of Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Aimee Teegarden, Taylor Kitsch, Zach Gilford, Minka Kelly, Adrianne Palicki, Scott Porter, and Gaius Charles do hold the show together and have tons of good supporting actors.


No need to go to the game with this show?

The show also has top notch visuals.  Not only are the drama sequences of the film nice and real feeling, but the football looks like real football.  Shows often skimp on sports productions, but a show based around games needed real looking plays and games…and Friday Night Lights delivers.

Friday Night Lights was a very underappreciated show by viewers but rampant fans and critics kept it around.  With the rise of DVDs and shows watched in bulk, I hope that people go back and revisit it.  It is a quick watch and very addictive.  A lot of talent has spun out of this show, and once you get going, it will leave you eager for the next Friday Night.

Friday Night Lights—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:



1.1       Pilot Airdate:  10/03/06

The Dillon High Panthers are ranked #1 in the nation by major sports venues.  They have the number one ranked quarterback, a new, untested head coach, and multiple hot shot players.  The players live like gods in the Texas football country, and the pressure is on.  The first game comes on strong against Westerbee and things aren’t looking good.  When Jason Street (Scott Porter) goes down on a hard hit, the back-up quarterback Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) finds himself thrust into his first game.  Win or lose, things are going to change for the Panthers when they learn the fate of their star quarterback.


“Eyes Wide Open”

1.2       Eyes Wide Open Airdate:  10/10/06

As the Panthers wait to hear word on Street’s condition, Saracen finds he’s having difficulties learning the offence.  Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) and Lyla Garrity (Minka Kelly) try to cope with Street’s condition.  With Street gone, control of the team is up for grabs, and Smash Williams (Gaius Charles) thinks he’s up for the task.  Matt finds new popularity as quarterback and his friend Landry Clarke (Jesse Plemons) tries to get him to take advantage of it.  Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) learns Tami Taylor (Connie Britton) has taken a job as the new guidance counselor at the school without consenting him.  With word that Street is paralyzed, new pressure is on the Coach Taylor, Saracen, and the team…and Friday is coming quick!


“Wind Sprints”

1.3       Wind Sprints Airdate:  10/17/06

The Panthers are falling apart, and Coach Taylor finds his job and family could be at risk.  Lyla’s parents worry Lyla is putting too much behind Jason walking again, and Tim realizes he still can’t see Jason in his state.  Coach Taylor learns that there is a new possible quarterback in Ray “Voodoo” Tatum (Aldis Hodge) and bringing on Voodoo might not be his choice.  A vocal interview by Smash leads to punishment for the team as Taylor tries to get Saracen focused as the quarterback.  Bad news on Street’s future leads to an encounter between Lyla and Riggins that puts friends at odds.


“Who’s Your Daddy”

1.4       Who’s Your Daddy Airdate:  10/24/06

Voodoo moves into the Panther program and finds opposition from the players when he tries to take over.  Jason starts rehabilitation, and Riggins tries to deal with sleeping with Lyla.  Tami learns that she has to host a party for the team and that the party is getting bigger and bigger.  Saracen gets bad news from the doctor about his grandmother and finds he’ll have to deal with it when his father refuses to help.  With the Panthers’ Friday night rival vandalizing Panther property, a retaliation leads to problems for Saracen.  Coach Taylor discovers that Saracen has feelings for his daughter Julie (Aimee Teegarden) that could cause problems with him coaching.


“Git’er Done”

1.5       Git’er Done Airdate:  10/30/06

Coach Taylor finds pressure to play Voodoo in the game and finds himself at odds with offensive coordinator Mac McGill (Blue Deckert).  Street tries to get more motion in his arms and is introduced to wheelchair basketball.  Tim and Lyla continue to secretly sleep together, and Lyla questions her future without Street.  Tyra (Adrianne Palicki) meets an oil inspector named Connor (Patrick J. Adams) and starts dating him.  When Taylor and Voodoo clash during the game, it is up to Saracen to finish the game.


“El Accidente”

1.6       El Accidente Airdate:  11/07/06

Voodoo’s eligibility is questioned and the Panthers’ big win could be considered a loss.  Lyla tells Tim that she has to quit seeing him, and Street and Tim argue about Tim not seeing him. Bobby Reyes (Walter Perez) attacks Kastor (Brent McGregor) and faces assault charges…when Reyes lies about what happened, a race problem develops.



1.7       Homecoming Airdate:  11/14/06

It is Homecoming and the Panthers are celebrating.   Smash is introduced to a new recruiter and hangs out with a former Panther quarterback named Lucas Mize (Chad Brannon) who has problems of his own.  Street debates going to homecoming and tries to determine if Lyla is cheating with Tim.  Matt considers asking out Julie and worries what Coach Taylor will think.  Tim’s brother Billy (Derek Phillips) and Tyra work to plan a big homecoming bash.


“Crossing the Line”

1.8       Crossing the Line Airdate:  11/28/06

Tim celebrates his big win by hooking up with Tyra as Street tries to get the truth about Tim from Lyla.  Smash learns how much his steroids are going to cost him and starts working with Saracen at the ice cream store.  Billy decides to take an active role in Tim’s future, and Street decides to start his wheelchair football against his doctor’s orders.


“Full Hearts”

1.9       Full Hearts Airdate:  12/05/06

The Panthers prepare for an away game for Gatlin, and Tami is assigned to help get the team a better hotel.  Matt and Julie’s first date runs into problems when Saracen has more problems with his grandmother.   The team is caught up in rumors about Tim and Lyla, and some of the players decide to take it out on Tim. Smash has an attack from his steroids and is forced to tell his sister what he’s doing.   Smash’s return to Gatlin forces Smash to face his past.


“It’s Different for Girls”

1.10     It’s Different for Girls Airdate:  12/12/06

Lyla faces bullies for sleeping with Tim, and a webpage is put about her.  Street’s family moves forward with a lawsuit about his injury, and Street realizes the lawyers are going after Coach Taylor. Julie tries to force Matt to stand up to her father.  The cheerleaders prepare for a big tournament, and Taylor orders the Panthers there to support them.



1.11     Nevermind Airdate:  01/03/07

Street rekindles his relationship with Lyla but finds he can’t deal with his paralysis.  Saracen’s father (Brent Smiga) comes home on leave and Matt tries to adjust to his return.  Tami learns Riggins has been cheating on his papers, and Landry is assigned to help him so he can keep playing. Saracen learns that his run as quarterback may be coming to an end when his father makes plans for him and his grandmother.


“What to Do While You’re Waiting”

1.12     What to Do While You’re Waiting Airdate:  01/10/07

Matt  learns his father is willing to stay in the United States and goes to Buddy Garrity (Brad Leland) to get him a job.  Taylor learns that Street and his parents are suing him and the school.  Smash tries to get Waverly (Aasha Davis) to date him and tells her that he hangs out with Matt and Julie to impress her.  Tyra’s home situation turns violent, and Tyra debates leaving home.


“Little Girl I Wanna Marry You”

1.13     Little Girl I Wanna Marry You Airdate:  01/24/07

Smash’s doping is exposed as the Panthers prepare for the big game to head to playoffs.  Matt learns that his father has been called back and is going to miss the big game.  Smash is benched and Coach Taylor worries about what to with the steroids.  Tammy decide to work on a campaign for the mayor, and Coach Taylor worries that the mayor’s alternative lifestyle may cause a problem.


“Upping the Ante”

1.14     Upping the Ante Airdate:  01/31/07

Smash tries to get back on the team and finds Coach Taylor continues reject him.  Street announces to Buddy his plans to marry Lyla, but Lyla begins to have second thoughts about the proposal.  Tim learns he is going to lose his license and is forced to track down his father.  The team prepares for the first playoff game, and Taylor finds Smash is losing his edge.



1.15     Blinders Airdate:  02/07/07

Mac McGill makes racist comment to the press starts race arguments all over Dillon.  Julie and Tyra get caught skipping gym class and are forced to play powderpuff.  Smash finds himself pressured to do something about the race problems when McGill’s apology isn’t considered acceptable.  Street gets a big opportunity but learns that it could mean school is out of his plans.


“Black Eyes and Broken Hearts”

1.16     Black Eyes and Broken Hearts Airdate:  02/14/07

Smash’s walk-off causes the coaches to try to develop the JV for the playoff game.  Buddy and the backers order McGill’s firing but Taylor has other plans.  Julie’s friendship with Tyra continues to drive a wedge between her and her parents.  When Smash and the other members are forced to return to the team, a big explosion at the game could cost the Panthers the win.


“I Think We Should Have Sex”

1.17     I Think We Should Have Sex Airdate:  02/21/07

Julie tells Matt that she wants to have sex, and Matt turns to Smash and Landry for help.  Tim spends more time with his father and finds it is causing problems.  Street goes to audition for the U. S. rugby team and finds himself spending time with a girl named Suzy (Alexandra Holden).  Taylor worries Buddy’s extramarital affair with Tyra’s mother Angela (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson) could cause problems. When an expensive camera goes missing, Tim’s father is blamed putting Tim at odds with Coach Taylor.  Julie gets together with Matt for their big night, and Tami and Eric find out about it.


“Extended Family”

1.18     Extended Families Airdate:  02/28/07

Buddy’s family collapses after Tyra’s mother confronts him at church, and Buddy is forced to stay with the Taylors.  Lila’s visit with Street at camp leads to her discovery of Suzy.  Tim finds he has a new single mother neighbor Jackie Miller (Brooke Langton).  Smash spends more time with Waverly and is warned by her father to report to him if she is acting strange.  An accident with Tyra’s mother brings Tyra and Julie back together and leads to a confrontation between Tyra and Tami.  Taylor’s success on the field begins to result in offers, and Eric finds there might be an advantage to leaving Dillon.



1.19     Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes Airdate:  03/21/07

Julie learns her father might be moving to Austin for a job interfering with the father-daughter dance.  Street finds he isn’t making the paraolympics team in China but discovers new opportunity with Suzy.  Tami works on getting Tyra to apply herself at school but finds her mother is part of the problem.  Buddy tries to win back his wife and Lyla refuses to take sides in the situation.  Tim finds himself taking care of Jackie’s son Bo (Jae Head) when Jackie comes to him for help.  Smash learns that Waverly is bi-polar and debates if he can stay with her.


“Mud Bowl”

1.20     Mud Bowl Airdate:  03/28/07

A train derailment near the school causes havoc for the football team practice along with mysterious cash envelops in the players lockers.   Tim tries to hide his relationship with Jackie.  Landry uses Tyra’s algebra final to get in as her tutor.  Street’s lawsuit heats up as the case goes into settlement.  Lyla gets friendly with Waverly, and Smash worries that their relationship could be problematic with her disorder.  A planned study date for Tyra and Landry turns dangerous when Landry’s truck breaks down.  A field in the middle of the rainstorm becomes the battleground for the Semi-State battle.


“Best Laid Plans”

1.21     Best Laid Plans Airdate:  04/04/07

Eric unexpectedly takes the job at TMU and throws a wrench in the plans of the team.  Tyra deals with the attempted rape and accuses Landry of crossing the line by telling Tami.  Street moves into his job as assistant coach but the return of Suzy could ruin his relationship with Lyla.  Jackie breaks up with Tim, and Tim tries to deal with his friendship with Bo.  The team prepares for the annual roast as State approaches.



1.22     State Airdate:  04/11/07

It’s State week and Dillon is ready.  News is leaking about Coach Taylor’s decision to accept the job at TMU and causes conflict with the Panthers.  Landry’s plans to spend a drive to State with Tyra are interrupted by Tyra’s family and Saracen’s grandmother.  Tami discovers a surprise at the doctor’s office when she learns she is pregnant.  A breakdown on the highway by Lyla leads to a forced truce between Lyla and Tyra.  The group finds them faced with Voodoo’s team and Smash finds Voodoo has made him an offer.  The battle is on for State and only one team will stand tall.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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