One of two football-themed series of the 2006-2007 TV season (the other was The Game), the NBC dramedy Friday Night Lights was based on the H.G. Bissinger book and the 2004 theatrical film of the same name. Like its predecessors, the series took place in a small Texas town (Odessa in the film and book, Dillon on the show), where high school football was not merely a game but a "religion" -- or more succinctly, a matter of life and death, with literally every person in the community having a personal stake or a heated opinion of the weekly game. Kyle Chandler headed the large cast as Eric Taylor, the newly hired coach of the Dillon Panthers (the role played by Billy Bob Thornton in the film). Also seen were Connie Britton, recreating her film role as Eric's wife, Tami; Scott Porter as star Panther quarterback Jason Street; Minka Kelly as Jason's cheerleader girlfriend, Lyla Garrity; Gaius Charles as running back Brian "Smash" Williams; Zach Gilford as perennial benchwarmer Matt Saracen, forced by fate to take over as quarterback during the playoffs; and Adrianne Palicki as high school vamp Tyra Collette. Unfolding in a semi-serialized fashion, Friday Night Lights kicked off on October 3, 2006.
by Hal Erickson synopsis