The following post contains what could be considered spoilers for the coming season of Friday Night Lights, but considering that they come from the show’s executive producer and he freely shared them with a roomful of journalists, they’re probably not that secret.
Nonetheless, if you don’t want to know, the usual warnings apply. So here goes:
Season two will begin about eight months after the Dillon Panthers’ state title, just as another season and school year are about to begin, showrunner Jason Katims says. Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) is ramping up for his first season at TMU, and the Dillon squad is adjusting to a new head coach (who has yet to be cast) and trying to handle success.
The eight-month leap ahead also means means Tami (Connie Britton) is on the verge of having her baby — and will in fact give birth in the first episode (though she won’t say whether the child is a boy or a girl).
"We love the idea of all the stuff that’s gone on in those intervening eight months and picking up people in the middle of things. We’re starting out of the gate with Tami going to have this baby in the first episode," Katims says. "And suddenly she’s … dealing with this infant and with a 16-year-old daughter [Aimee Teegarden] who is acting out more than she ever has before. And Coach Taylor is coaching at TMU in Austin, and this idea of this long-distance relationship that seemed like a great idea at the time suddenly doesn’t seem like such a great idea. And they’re wondering whether they made the biggest mistake of their lives."
Katims also says that the couple’s separation likely won’t last for the whole year. "It’s going to be an arc," he says. "It’s not going to be the entire season."
Back at school, Street (Scott Porter) has earned his GED and is therefore able to take a job as an assistant coach at Dillon High School, where he finds himself caught between his former teammates — the principals are all still in high school — and the new head coach.
"The new coach is definitely going to make some waves between Jason and his friends," Porter says. "Whereas before it was more like buddies on the field, he wasn’t really, you know, having to be authoritative — this year, he definitely is going to have to choose: Is he a coach or is he still a kid and still these kids’ friend?"
One thing that won’t change is the show’s intimate look at its characters’ lives; Katims says new NBC co-chairman Ben Silverman "has been great" and that support for the show at NBC and sister studio Universal Media, which produces Friday Night Lights, has been complete from day one.
That style has also won the show a deeply passionate (if not especially large) fan base, as Zach Gilford (Dillon QB Matt Saracen) learned this summer.
"I think we all feel that there’s two kinds of people. There’s the people that come up to you and are obsessed with the show and love every second and know every line you’ve said, to the people who are just like, ‘I haven’t seen an episode, but I’ve heard it’s good,’" says Gilford, who was sporting a beard at press tour but will likely be clean-shaven when filming starts next week.
"The coolest was I was in Seattle a few weeks ago, and some guy from Zimbabwe went nuts. He was like, ‘Do you work around here?’ I was like, ‘No. I work in Texas.’ He’s like, ‘You’re on Friday Night Lights!’ and gave me a huge hug and, like, was going off. He was like, ‘I know I’m just from Zimbabwe’ — he had this thick accent — ‘but I know good TV, and you guys are awesome.’ … So from people from Zimbabwe to high school kids to anyone, once they watch it, it seems they really, really like it."