Critics love it, so it is perhaps no wonder that “Friday Night Lights,” the TV-show that was spwaned from a movie that was spawned from a book, is faltering, flailing and probably dying in the ratings. The viewers just aren’t there.
I can’t say I’m all that surprised. The problem with a football show is that its natural audience, guys who watch football, would rather watch football than a show about football. That makes scheduling alone a hassle: College football takes up all of Saturday, NFL all of Sunday, Monday nights are occupied by, yes, Monday Night Football, then college football returns on Thursday night and on Friday night there’s high school football all across America, and even more college football on TV. That leaves Tuesday and Wednesday. That is not a large window of opportunity.
However, network shows aren’t made for men but for women, which means “Friday Night Lights” the TV-show is heavy on relationships and what we can call issues - and there goes the guys who like watching football. Of course, many women hate football since football is the married woman’s main competitor when it comes to making claims on a husband’s time. What you end up with is a show that can’t appeal to its superficially natural audience and won’t appeal to its actual potential audience.
And then there’s the basic trap of any show or movie: The Hero who is similar to so many writers, only more athletic. Contra Costa Times‘ TV critic Chuck Barney gives the game away in a piece where he’s begging his readers to watch the fundamentally flawed show:
Exalted quarterback Jason Street (Scott Porter), a young man with an arm forged by the gridiron gods, suffered a paralyzing injury in the season-opener. Now, longtime bench-warmer Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford), a shy, bookish young man, is struggling in his stead.
Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady… all shy, bookish men.