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Universal / 2010-2011 / 580 Minutes / Unrated / Street Date: April 5, 2011
It's an interesting experiment - Friday Night Lights' fifth (and final) season did its initial run exclusively on DirecTV, then was released on DVD, and then was officially allowed to air on NBC. I suppose it's a bit of overkill, but this is what television is like these days: Dramatic television - which is expensive - is on its way out, so in order for fan-beloved shows like Friday Night Lights to stay alive (even for a moment), extra revenue has to be found.
Divorced from all that business-model mumbo-jumbo, though, Friday Night Lights: The Fifth Season is a helluva go-round for the series. Allowing the show to not only go out with a bang, but wear its emotional heart on its sleeve, this fifth TV-on-DVD box set of the show may not house its all-time greatest moments, but as a whole, it's right up there.
What this final season offers to those who have rooted for Dillon, TX for so many years is closure. Not all of it is pretty, of course, but football never is. We get the continued saga of coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and his wife (Connie Britton) and all the drama and upheaval that affects both our beloved team and the town at large. Oh, and there's the matter of the state championship, as well.
It boils down to this: Friday Night Lights is a damned good show. It's not a gamechanger in terms of form or content, but what this underdog series provides is solid, old-fashioned entertainment. It doesn't reinvent the wheel, but sometimes that's what TV is all about: Giving an audience a slight variation on a well-worn story that plays like gangbusters. That's Friday Night Lights.