'Friday Night Lights'
7 p.m. Friday on WMAQ-Channel 5
I'm not a fan of any sport, much less football, which always seemed like a Darwinian joke to me. So I couldn't be more surprised by the way that "Friday Night Lights" has sucked me in.
It's impossible to take your eyes off this series, about a small town in Texas that plays big football. For three seasons, Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) has led his team with a "Clear eyes, full heart, can't lose" philosophy, while the young people of Dillon try to power through the obstacles in pursuit of a future. "Friday Night Lights" is too good, really, to be on network TV - which is probably why DirecTV subscribers got to see the fourth season first.
Now it debuts on NBC with Coach Taylor forced out of his old high school, scrambling to assemble something that at least looks like a team at East Dillon. If train tracks even bother to run through the town, this school is on the wrong side of them.
The phenomenal Jesse Plemmons gives the show its deadpan comic relief as Landry Clarke, one of the few football players to make the move with Coach Taylor. He butts heads with Vince Howard (Michael B. Jordan), who is playing because his only other alternative is juvenile hall. Jurnee Smollett, the grown-up star of 1997's "Eve's Bayou," is East Dillon's version of a head cheerleader: guarded, stubborn, keeping the heat at low simmer.
The fifth season of "Friday Night Lights" will be its last, so catch up with the series while you can. These are the glory days, my friends.