Yesterday, I finished watching one of the best TV shows all time, Friday Night Lights. This doesn’t seem like myself, because I am probably the most couch potato person you’ll ever meet, and the idea of doing sports pretty much gives me a heart attack. Hence, watching a TV show about a bunch of sweaty jocks should’ve made me cringe. But, I have heard nothing but positive reviews about the show and when I have the inspiration to write Chasing Atalanta, about a legendary quarterback in a small town called Rosefield who had to go back to his hometown to teach Drama class, I know I have to force myself to watch the show.
Which turns out not to be bad at all. It is amazing, instead. It makes me laugh, and it makes me cry, an indication that this is a good show. Friday Night Lights, based on H.G. Bissinger‘s nonfiction book of the same title, is first adapted into a movie screen in 2004 directed by his cousin, Peter Berg. Berg, who’s really unsatisfied with the movie because he felt like he can explore the depth of the characters more, decided to turn it into a TV series which premiered in 2006 on NBC. It received acclaim, but not a good rating. Thankfully the show had a good five seasons run.
Part of the reason why Friday Night Lights (the TV show, not the movie because I haven’t watched the movie) is great, apart from its top notch script and performances by Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, is its music. The show perfectly harmonizes the song to the scene, perfectly capturing the spirit of a football in a small town, and strengthening the emotion that those scenes have built. For example, when Tony Lucca’s “Devil Town” is heard when the audiences see that folks of Dillon, the setting of the show, were a sinner. That small town wasn’t as perfect as it appears to be. Its folks went to church regularly, but they had sinned, committing adultery, killing people, using drugs, being covetous, cheating, and anything. This juxtaposition is bound perfectly by Lucca’s “Devil Town”. Other songs perfectly match the scenes as well. The music of Friday Night Lights is so good that they make the unofficial musical performance of Friday Night Lights.
That’s when the opening theme of Friday Night Lights comes in. Explosions in the Sky fills the soundtrack of the movie, and when the TV producers ask them to lend one of their songs to the TV show, Explosions in the Sky turn them down. But, this band’s touch on Friday Night Lights is really essential, and it’s not Friday Night Lights without Explosions in the Sky’s music. Feeling desperate, the producers turn to Emmy-winning composer, W.G. Snuffy Walden, to “rip” “Your Hand In Mine” off. He does a good job, captivating the quintessence of Explosions in the Sky’s “Your Hand In Mine”. Walden starts the theme with soft guitar string, and as the song crescendos, the emotion of the song bursts out. In just less than a minute, “Friday Night Lights” fills me with abundant of emotion, the town spirit, and Friday night anticipation in a small town in Texas. The opening credit is basically cuts of main casts, taken from the episode, with their names are written in glinty fonts. “Friday Night Lights” theme is compact with melancholic emotion at the climax, before it decrescendos at the end of the song. The theme is like the concise version “Your Hand In Mine”, while still maintaining the key point of the song. That’s why Explosions in the Sky’s “Your Hand In Mine” and Walden’s “Friday Night Lights Theme” are so inseparable. These songs are where true spirit of Friday Night Lights is hidden.