For those who haven't watched Friday Night Lights, this piece contains some spoilers. Ed.
The first three seasons of Friday Night Lights focused on the fortunes of the Dillon High School football team, the Panthers, led by Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler), and on the lives of the players and of their parents and significant others, citizens of a town where the Friday night games are the most important event of the week and where Monday-morning quarterbacking is not just a tradition but a civic duty. (Eric inevitably has to sweep up the For Sale signs that jokers, probably in their cups, scatter on his lawn during the night after the Panthers lose a game.) In these episodes the Taylors are a thoroughgoing Dillon H.S. family: Eric’s wife Tami (Connie Britton) begins as a guidance counselor and then (in season three) becomes principal, and their daughter Julie (Aimee Teagarden) dates retiring, deeply sensitive Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford), whom Eric molds into an accomplished quarterback when the gifted, charismatic Jason Street (Scott Porter) is paralyzed in a football accident in the show’s opening hour. Jason loses his girl friend Lyla Garrity (Minka Kelly) – the daughter of Eric’s best friend, car salesman and Panther booster Buddy Garrity (Brad Leland) – to his pal Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch), a talented player whose ascension to adulthood has been hampered by alcoholic indolence, an ease at getting his way through sexual charm, a dearth of good male role models at home, and a deep-seated conviction that he’s essentially worthless. The other major teenage character is Tim’s ex-girl friend Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki), a plain-spoken good ol’ girl whose tough act conceals a terror that she’s not good enough to make it into college and the wide world beyond Dillon. In season two she has a relationship with Matt’s nerdy, generous best friend Landry Clarke (Jesse Plemons) and forges an unlikely friendship with Julie; the fact that both are A students suggests Tyra’s secret longing to be taken seriously. In the plausibly incestuous social landscape of the community, Buddy and his receptionist, Tyra’s mother Angela (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson), have an affair that breaks up his marriage, while Tyra’s older sister Mindy (Stacey Oristano) winds up married to Tim’s brother Billy (Derek Phillips), who has been his unofficial and semi-competent guardian since their ne’er-do-well father deserted them.