Family drama Friday Night Lights Season 5 debuted last night, and not a moment too soon for its loyal fan base. So how many Kleenexes were needed as Coach Taylor, Tami, Julie, Matt, and Landry began their final journey? A roundup of what critics are saying:
New York Magazine: …if there were awards given out for consistency in presenting thematically intelligent, emotionally rich television, then FNL would need a bigger trophy case (by which we mean they would need a single trophy case). All of this is just to say that the show’s final-season premiere lives up to its high standards and it doesn’t even need a last-minute touchdown pass to a 16-year-old who has literally never heard the word “hike” to do it. Although that does happen.
Los Angeles Times: Only on the football field do executive producer Peter Berg and his team give way to sentimental formula; as in the season finale and so many episodes before it, the premiere features a game dominated by one- and two-play touchdown drives that is won in the final seconds. But considering that this is precisely how “Friday Night Lights” has lived most of its life — last-minute reprieves born of deep personal devotion — it is a flaw that is easily forgiven. The show, and its survival, offers proof that quality can triumph in an industry driven by quantity and that even though necessity is the more fertile of the two, poetry can also be a fine mother to invention.
USA Today: No matter how you look at it, there’s no doubt this still very good series, beginning its fifth and final season, is not what it was when it started on NBC. The budget compromises necessary to keep the show going as a cable/network collaboration have pared most of the original cast, which will shrink even further this season…Scripts that can still be as insightful as ever about life in a football-mad small town, and two invaluable, untoppable stars: Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton as Eric and Tami Taylor. That the series around them has been diminished by time and tide is sadly and inescapably true. But their performances shine as brightly as ever — and as long as they’re with the show, it’s still worth turning on the Lights.
Entertainment Weekly: The fifth and final season premiere was energetic with the changes we knew were coming…The episode was titled “Expectations,” and mine are high for the new season.
If you watched, tell us what you thought.