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A most unexpected silver lining has developed from the interminable WGA Writer’s Strike. that Friday Night Lights (my current fav show), is seeing a much-needed boost in the ratings and is close to a third season renewal. With nothing else on TV besides a bunch of musclemen in spandex running around whomping on civilians and waiting for Hulk Hogan to start making good with the No Holds Barred set stories, and the curious sensation that the brand new Law & Order episodes on NBC are merely the same ones you’ve watched over and over again on TNT, USA, TBS and A&E except now Jesse Martin looks a little more Orbach-ianly craggly and Elton from Clueless gets to suck and blow crazy criminals instead of crazy Brittany Murphy, America has finally come to their senses and realized that FNL is the greatest collection of televisional awesomeness since POTUS got into a bike crash and Rob Lowe meta-boned a pro on the pilot for The West Wing.
So for maybe the first time in forever, a poorly-rated critical darling is actually being given a chance by discerning viewers (Somewhere in the world, the Bluth family is collectively shedding a self-absorbed tear – and probably doing the chicken dance at Michael). Thanks to a move away from its first season timeslot amidst the heavy commercial hitters of Wednesday nights and into the barren wasteland of Moonlight and Women’s Murder Club suckage, FNL is now the No. 1 show in its 9pm time period with viewers 18-34 (the most coveted of demos). Surging DVR viewing of FNL by people that actually have lives on Friday nights and wait till Sunday to ignore Brothers & Sisters and lock their doors to “enjoy” seeing Minka Kelly, Taylor Kitsch
, Connie Britton, Kyle Chandler and Aimee Teagarden make up the prettiest cast of pretty people in the history of hotness, boosts the ratings of the show another 18%. Other boons to the show are that it has the most affluent viewers of any primetime drama, the show costs half a million less per episode to make than most network hour-long's, and also, the small bit about . And thankfully, because the production of the show is as ninja as the final product, there are still 4 more episodes left to air. Plenty of opportunities to hook new viewers and keep them coming back (and maybe go back and buy the revelatory 1st season on DVD). All this leads to the most improbable result of primetime TV shutting down and ruining entertainment: Friday Night Lights will get a third season renewal. FNL fanatics were amazed the show even made it to season two! And with this season stepping away from the complex emotional plots of season one and that are required of a hipster indie network drama desperate for a mainstream audience (Threesomes in Mexico! Tyra and Landry kill a guy and dump his body! Julie Taylor unleashes her life-altering cleav!), none of us would have been surprised if new viewers just didn’t get why we were so enamored with the plight of the scrappy Dillon Panthers. But in the face of unrelenting network pressure, disinterested viewers, Taylor Kitsch’s spot on Jordan Catalano impression, signs of shark jumping (Riggins is stealing drug money now? Really?), and the indefensible fact that the show is about Texas high
school football, a subject nobody cares about outside of Texas, this beautifully shot and expertly acted drama about life and love in a sports-obsessed small town is getting a third chance. And I couldn’t be happier. It raised an interesting question for me: what would I give up to save my favorite TV show? If my favorite show on television was on the brink of cancellation, what I would sacrifice to get 13 or 22 episodes more? For Friday Night Lights the answer is easy: I would give up this. Exactly this. The sting of losing the back 10 on my other 16 shows is dampened knowing that I’m getting an extra 10 (at minimum) from my favorite one. I’ve already seen 60+ eps of Grey’s Anatomy. I’ve laughed a little less each time at the 100+ eps of Scrubs. The Office is a weekly retread of Steven Carrell twitches. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t going to get anything new on House this year (OMG, he makes another last minute revelation! It’s actually a rare form of Fatal Hangnail Disease! Brilliant! Let’s forgive him for being a d-bag because he saved this one annoying guy from a fate worse than band-aids!). Heroes is on the decline, Lost wasn’t even going to do a full season anyway, How I Met Your Mother is plateau-ing, and though I love Gossip Girl with the intensity of a thousand burning 90210 reruns, I’m always going to have a teen soap opera to lust after. This one is particularly great, but not so mind-bottling that I would choose Blair Waldorf over Lyla Garrity. So in thinking about it, I really don’t mind having nothing but Idol to watch this spring. Take it all away, that’s fine, because come September, after all this strike bullshit is resolved, I’m gonna get to see Coach Taylor try to win another State Championship, and all will be right with my entertainment world. Just for funsies, here’s what I would give up to save some of the other shows on TV: - To save Private Practice, I would give up… eating Buncha Crunch at the movies (I haven’t wanted to pay four bucks for a three handfuls of brown sugar in awhile, anyway. ) - To save Scrubs, I would give up… hating J. D. for always whining about having to hook up with insanely hot girls (poor baby, Heather Graham, Amy Smart, Keri Russell, Elizabeth Banks and Sarah Lancaster wanna bang you! It truly is a hard knock life. ) Also, in honor of Turk, I will abstain from eating sweets during it's Thursday night timeslot every week. Even if it's jelly beans. - To save My Name Is Earl, I would give up… the chance to ever see the Alvin and the Chimpmunks movie. Sacrifice is hard, but I’m up to the challenge. - To save Pardon the Interruption, I would give up… Around the Horn. I prefer Tony Reali as Stat Boy and Jay Mariotti can go screw. - To save Two and a Half Men, I would give up… Two and a Half Men. (I prefer my Ma-Sheen stoned out of his mind, effing porn stars and mad dogging Denise Richards to PG-13-ing it up on CBS. Sue me. ) - To save Boston Legal, I would give up… doing my impression of Ace Ventura doing his impression of Shatner from that episode of The Twilight Zone. And that sucks, because I used to slay people with that one. Theeeeeere’s… SOMETHINGONTHEWING! SOME… thing! - To save Law & Order: SVU, I would give up… every memory I have of Matthew Modine. I was never that big a fan of Gross Anatomy and Memphis Belle is only good for Billy Zane (he’s a cool dude). - To save 30 Rock, I would give up… The Office. Jim and Pam are together, so what more awkward Michael Scott stuff am I gonna miss? And will it be better than Werewolf Bar Mitzvah? Or “ICU81MI”? Or an impromptu rendition of “Midnight Train to Georgia”, with Grizz and Dot Com as the Pips? Or the line: “It's after 6 o'clock Lemon. What am I, a farmer?” I think not. - To save Gossip Girl, I would give up… In N Out for a year. As much as I love a good Protein-style Double Double, if I don’t get my weekly fix of Leighton Meester [
] being evil, Kelly Rutherford being awesome, the gratuitous Blake Lively in tight jeans ass shot, the less subtle than Smallville Nate and Chuck HoYay, or the sweet, sweet narrational tones of the former Veronica Mars, well, I’ll go a little nuts. - To save Lost, I would give up… internet porn. … just kidding! Boobs always trump Matthew Fox, as much as the Vantage Point trailer kicks ass. That’s a true story. - To save American Idol, I would give up… my hatred for Reese Witherspoon. Yeah, I said it! I would get right with the Cruel Intentions devilface, let her transparent bitchiness go and try to remember how much I liked her in Pleasantville and Election. I’d even give Sweet Home Alabama another chance (though you can’t make me like Josh Lucas). I’ll do whatever I can for just a few more precious moments with Simon, Paula, Randy and Ryan. Oh Seacrest, how I’ve missed your flat ironed hair, unflappable demeanor in the face of Simon’s gay jokes and obnoxious emphasis on the wrong syllable style hosting. I wouldn’t give you up for anything. THIS! Is the end of the post! What would YOU give up to save your favorite show? Bangarang!