Too often teen-soap operas suffer from extremes: they are either loved to bits and heralded undeservingly, or they are ignored and largely fall by the wayside. Over the years, the most popular teen-based shows (with One Tree Hill being the exception) have been those based around wealth (The OC/Gossip Girl) because they offer an opportunity to vicariously experience the lives and troubles of the rich few.
One Tree Hill to an extent avoided falling into this circle by basing the show around sports, namely basketball. For maybe two seasons, it survived because of it. After that, coupled with one of the lead’s atrocious acting (Chad Michael Murray – GROW AN EXPRESSION) it pretty much went down the shitter as a whole.
Anyway, nearly all teen shows ultimately end up being detached from all forms of reality. The longer the show, chances are the more you’ll see it turn to absolute shit. Plot lines because convoluted and the writers end up chucking in twist after twist as a cheap means of entertainment. Every crap twist brought about the ability to rape that story arc for another half dozen episodes. So, though you might start out watching a seemingly entertaining teen drama, after two seasons you’re pretty likely to stick a finger down your throat so that you start vomiting – because frankly using “this show is vomit-inducing” as an adjective is not enough.
Anyway, one teen show completely bucks this trend. Friday Night Lights.
I simply can’t recommend this show enough. In fact, if I know you, consider this a fair warning for all the infuriation I will cause you as I attempt to get you hooked to it.
3 seasons of the show have already taken place – the fourth season has just started. Aside from a rather mediocre second season (mediocre by the show’s standards – save for a weird and frankly rather shit secondary story arc, the show itself is still miles ahead of its contemporaries), FNL has consistently lived up to the hype it’s gotten from people who aren’t fifteen year old girls and/or remarkably shallow/stupid/callow (delete as appropriate).
There is very little wrong with this show. Actually, that’s me playing it a bit safe. There’s nothing wrong with this show. Nothing.
Based around American Football, and a crazy town, you’d except it to be overflowing with teen romances and alpha male based story arcs. Granted, a considerable amount of time is allotted to these arcs, they don’t consist the bulk of the shows themes. This is an opera, a show that is unlike any other. The actors aren’t untouchables; they come and go, both mentally and physically. Their lives are real, their problems actual problems. This show is ultimately challenging – it takes apart the insanity of Texas without touching politics. It takes apart the American psyche of high school sports, and of high school as non-Americans have never seen it before.
Aside from all that, the direction and the use of music is exceptional. You will see scenes in this show that will stay with you for a long, long time. After every episode you’ll stick around for an additional 10-12 minutes, re-watching those scenes and taking in their glory. It edifies and destroys side by side.
The acting is as perfect as you’re likely to ever get in a show of its nature. Everyone is perfect. The cunts are cunts; believable cunts. The heroes and anti-heroes are legit; they’re understandable, loveable and abhorrent when they need to be. Primarily, I suppose kudos must be handed out to the show’s creators, because they employ a very unique aesthetic to the show. The dialogues are not laid out for word, instead the actors are told to improvise within the limits of their character. With handheld cameras, the show never feels glossy, as you’ll see cameras hover and sometimes even find your view partially blocked by an arm or a wall. This is not the handheld at the start of Quantum of Solace. In fact, you’re probably going to forget that it’s a handheld five minutes into the pilot.
I honestly cannot stop emphasizing how good this show is. It is as entertaining as it is intelligent.
Oh, and it has some of the hottest women on television, just in case. 😀