The naturalistic cast of Friday Night Lights is spearheaded by the incomparable Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton as the most realistic, dynamic and loving married couple I have ever had the pleasure to view. They aren’t perfect, they argue but ultimately they support one another and act as each other’s anchors. Coach and Mrs Taylor will make you care about the adults on a show. They are three dimensional beings in which all of the other characters orbit – they are the sun of this show. Whether Coach Eric Taylor’s mussing his hair, tensing his jaw or even swallowing...you will care. He’s a tough guy surrounded by a household of strong, independent and delightfully feisty females. Tami, his wife, is who I want to be when I grow up. She’s sexy, she’s brave and she’s the butter on his bread. They aren’t perfect but they are perfect together.
Their daughter Julie is played by Aimee Teegarden. Julie HATES football, football players and the time with her father robbed away by football. She’s smart, emotional, bitchy, vulnerable and supremely annoying at times – she’s the most realistic teenager I have seen on television since Angela Chase in My So Called Life. Aimee/Julie also has the most beautiful waterfall of blonde hair that I have ever seen.
Lyla Garrity – cheerleader....I hear the groans already, just wait until you hear her voice. Lyla is also the daughter of the local car dealer and booster president as well as the girlfriend of the quarterback. She’s set up as a cliché from the beginning so we can see that all start slipping away in the final minutes of the pilot.
Landry Clarke – supporting player for the initial episodes, Jesse Plemmons' portrayal was so fundamentally awesome that it made enormous sense to give him more screen time. He’s a great student and even better friend to second string quarterback, Matt Saracen. He is an unstoppable source of knowledge on everything, except his life experience amounts to nil so he’s not all that helpful. He’s kooky, he’s geeky and he rocks out in a heavy metal Christian rock band named Crucifictorius – yes, he’s freaking awesome.
Tyra Collette – an Amazon with anger issues, this girl is a force to be reckoned with. She’s been tagged with the mantle white trash her whole life and does her best to live up to the label. She has an on/off relationship with Tim Riggins that could be called open. Her mother is in a bad relationship, her sister’s a stripper and she’s looking at a depressing future.
Jason Street – the best quarterback in the country, he’s almost guaranteeing the Dillon Panthers a State Championship. He’s close with Coach Taylor, has a loving relationship with his girlfriend Lyla and has a mismatched best friend in town slut and drunkard, Tim Riggins. Street is a total gentleman – a lovely guy with strong ties to the community. He’s naturally gifted but he also works his butt off to be as talented as he is. He’s a natural captain, a leader and the heart of the team and the town. An event that occurs to this character in the pilot acts as a catalyst for all the characters for the series.
Tim Riggins – this greasy haired, six-pack toting, delicious specimen of a male is some people’s number one reason for watching the show....he’s searing hot. He’s also a complete train wreck of a guy who sleeps his way through the female population of Dillon, drinks his liver into mush nightly and possesses no expectations for his future. He’s complex, wounded and utterly loveable.
Matt Saracen – this second string quarterback has been riding the bench for his entire high school football career and it doesn’t bother him all that much. He’s a fantastic student, artist and carer for his grandmother who has dementia (a stunningly realised relationship). His mother abandoned him, his father’s serving overseas and his responsibilities are immense. He’s got the world on his shoulders and it’s about the get a lot worse – his grandma is deteriorating, he has a crush on the Coach’s daughter, his best friend gives him awful advice and he will never be Jason Street.
Smash Williams – cocky in his abilities on the football ground, this kid is a motor mouthing explosion of confidence, arrogance and determination. He might seem like a caricature but there’s more to him than there seems.
Have we enticed you yet? Jump on iTunes, hit up your local library or borrow a friend's set asap and get on board. Season 4 begins on DirecTV on October 28th and on NBC as from January 2010 so you have time to catch up. Tomorrow Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries, Queen of Babble) explains why this show is available on two channels.