Sometimes you just need to hang with your friends in Dillon, TX. Friday Night Lights was one of my favorite television shows, and it still is. Thanks to Netflix, I can re-watch the entire series any time I like (which usually happens at least once a year).
If you're like me, and you've already watched the show many times over, I have a new prescription for your FNL fever. It's called QB1: Beyond Lights. It's a reality show about three high school quarterbacks, produced by Peter Berg, the creator of Friday Night Lights.
Each episode is 30 - 35 minutes, and there are 10 episodes in season one. The show follows Jake Fromm in rural Georgia, Tayvon Bowers in Harrisburg, PA and Tate Marshall in Las Vegas, NV. Each guy is just beginning his senior year of high school, and his final football season before college.
The very first thing that struck me about this show is how accurate Friday Night Lights was as a work of fiction. In QB1: Beyond the Lights, you notice so many things that were prominent in the scripted show. For example, the way everyone in town listens to the local sports radio analysis (of high school football!), the way local businesses treat these young men like gods, the way each member of the team both simultaneously idolizes and fears the coach, and the way the whole world stops on Friday night. It made me respect the writers on Friday Night Lights even more.
Of the three players featured, Jake Fromm was my favorite. He has loving parents, a younger brother who is being groomed to take his place, and a good head on his shoulders. He's kind, polite and super grateful to already be committed to play at Georgia.
In Pennsylvania, Tayvon Bowers is the star of every family gathering. His father, who also played football, passed away, and the family sees his memory living on in Tayvon. Tayvon is committed to play at Wake Forest, but suffers a devastating injury during the season.
Then there's Tate Marshall. I love to hate Tate. His entire family relocated from California to Las Vegas so he could play at one of the most competitive high schools. On the first day of his senior year, his mom asks if she can quickly take his picture and he completely blows her off. I wanted to leap through the TV and hug her! A few episodes later, Tate gets in trouble for shit talking on Twitter during halftime, and when the coach confronts him about it after the game, he runs outside to ask his aunt if he can blame it on her, saying she was holding his phone during the game. Despite his incredible ego, he's invited to play at Ohio State, one of the best football programs in the country.
You do not have to like or care about football to enjoy this show. It's about young men chasing their dreams, and the friends and family who support them every step of the way. In the second to last episode, I was basically crying the entire half hour. My boy Jake signs his commitment letter, and Tavyon and Tate take the field for the last time with their high school teammates.
If you miss hanging out with Eric, Tami, Street, Riggins and Sacaren, this show is for you.