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YMMV / Friday Night Lights

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The TV series

  • Ass Pull: Several of the plot machinations at the end of season three come out of nowhere, the most glaring being that Dillon is suddenly revealed to have an entire neighborhood that is a crime-ridden hellhole slum that has never been mentioned or alluded to before.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: Football fans felt that the show didn't have enough football scenes. Non-football fans thought there was too much of it.
  • Award Snub: Finally averted with long-overdue Emmy nominations in 2010 for Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler.
    • Unfortunately, the same couldn't be said for Zach Gilford, whose performance in the fan-favorite episode "The Son" (where Matt has to deal with his father's death) was sadly overlooked. On the bright side, the episode itself was nominated for its writing.
    • Averted again in 2011 (the show's final season), where Connie Britton was nominated again, the show finally received a nomination for "Outstanding Drama Series", and Kyle Chandler actually *WON* the Emmy for Lead Actor in a Drama! We can be quite thankful that Breaking Bad didn't have a season that year. Jason Katims also won an Emmy for writing the Series Finale.
  • Awesome Music: Uses a lot of the truly epic and beautiful Explosions in the Sky songs that were present in the movie, as well as its own score by W. G. Snuffy Walden.
  • Badass Decay: Somehow between the beginning of Season 4 and the end of Season Five, Luke Cafferty goes from being a kid who can play Running Back, Wide Receiver, Quarterback, Linebacker AND Safety more or less equally well (any coach's wet dream) to a kid that absolutely no college of any size is even remotely interested in.
    • Screw college, with those kind of skills the NFL should have been trying to recruit that kid.
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    • To be fair, he injured himself in Season 4, missed games, and wasn't really playing up to his usual standards when he was in after his injury. Colleges can be hesitant about going after a player when that happens.
  • Fan-Preferred Cut Content: Hastings was supposed to have a storyline about being gay and coming to terms with it, but then the writers chickened out, leaving the fans mystified at why they bothered to introduce a new character in the final season who then did nothing but take up space that could have been used for the people we actually cared about.
  • Genius Bonus: Texas Longhorn football fans will find the idea of having to replace a star quarterback named J. Street with a big legacy to be quite familiar, as does the idea of a star quarterback named McCoy and an athletic, dual-threat star quarterback named Vince.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Landry's season 2 story created a gag among the fans that he was a serial killer and whenever a character inexplicably disappeared, he'd done them in. Then came Jesse Plemmons' role on Breaking Bad.
      • Followed by his role on season 2 of Fargo, in which one wonders if he'll have a TV role where he doesn't kill someone.
    • In Bloodline, Kyle Chandler hates a guy named Eric.
    • After Tami's troubles with a pro-life mob, Connie Britton herself plays the leader of a group of Moral Guardians in Professor Marston and the Wonder Women.
  • Idiot Plot: Tami being fired over a complete misunderstanding in Season 4. Yeah, it's entirely possible that knowing the real story wouldn't make a difference to such militant pro-lifers, but as far as we can tell she never even tries to correct the impression that she personally took Becky to an abortion clinic against her will.
  • Jerk Ass Woobie: Yeah J.D. is a real prick in season four, but it's obvious that his dad's parenting and role in meddling with the Panthers program really messed him up.
  • Memetic Mutation: Clear eyes. Full Hearts. CAN'T LOSE.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Epyck for many, for being a very stock "troubled teenage ethnic girl" character and taking up a lot of screentime in the final season only for her story to end abruptly. Julie also qualifies for many with her bratty behavior and dud romance plots in Seasons 2 and 5.
    • Carlotta, who has no personality beyond Spicy Latina and apparently only exists because Matt couldn't just be single after breaking up with Julie. This is topped off by her being hastily written out of the show for reasons she refused to explain beyond "My family needs me."
  • Sophomore Slump: The Tyra/Landry murder plot, Julie becomes a brat, Matt boinks his grandma's caregiver, etc. This has led to some Canon Discontinuity in the third season, as the show itself seems to be ignoring a lot of these things ever happening. Seriously, two of the main characters murdered someone and confessed to it, but after season two it's never mentioned again.
    • Probably the most obvious case of Canon Discontinuity is Smash. During Season 2, he's looking to get into college, finally succeeding at the end of the season. In Season 3 Smash's plot revolves around... getting into college.
    • It even got a Take That! from Bojack Horseman more than a decade later: "Sometimes life is like Season 2 of Friday Night Lights, you’ve just got to push through and hope there’s something better ahead."
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The Dillon Panthers' fight song sounds a lot like Notre Dame's fight song, justified in that the song is used by real life high schools too.
  • Tearjerker: The Son, aka 'Why didn't Zach Gilford get an Emmy nomination after this?'.
    • In "Jumping the Gun" when Coach Taylor calls Riggins honorable. The look on Tim's face...
    • "Leave No One Behind":
    Matt: You left me for a better job! Julie left me for a better guy, Carlota left me for Guatemala, my dad left me for a damn war! Everybody leaves me! What's wrong with me?"
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: The second season put Landry and Tyra into their own, completely isolated plotline for the first ten episodes that is studiously ignored by the writers at all other times, even while the plot was ongoing.
  • Uncertain Audience: The head of NBC's marketing department's reaction to the pilot was that while it was great, he wasn't sure how to sell the show.
  • The Woobie: Jason Street (kinda, see Wheelchair Woobie) and, to a lesser extent, J.D. McCoy in Season 3.