What I Learned from Friday Night Lights (The TV Show)

Yo, college football starts this week, which means, it's time to watch every damn season of Friday Night Lights on Netflix and gorge myself on top 25 games every Saturday until I get hungover and burnt out (which also happens every year).  FNL might seem like a strange place to find inspiration for anything besides cocky running backs and bone-crunching tackles, but actually this series is an excellent case study in characterization, world building, and plot structure, among other things.  Somehow, this show gets you to care about the characters and to see them three-dimensionally, something that sports series rarely do (cf. Ballers).  In fact, the character development isn't just fantastic in this show, but the series itself raises a bunch of important questions about class, race, gender, poverty, institutional racism, religion, bigotry, violence and greed, while making football seem both magnificent and destructive.  Beyond that, FNL had a small but loyal group of followers that gave it a cult status.  Even more remarkable, most of these loyal fans aren't even football aficionados either.  When my books come out in the next couple of years (inshallah), I hope my readers will be exactly like the viewers of Friday Night Lights.  You can't ask for anything more as a producer or a (non)fiction writer in my opinion.