My love for Friday Night Lights has been amply documented on this blog, so I’ll save you a further recitation of why it’s the best show on broadcast TV right now, and Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton were robbed of Emmy nominations. Especially now that you can buy the DVD set of the first season, which hit stores Tuesday and my mailbox on Wednesday.
Sit down and watch, and see if you don’t agree with us deeply devoted FNL fans that there’s no better exploration of small-town life and community. It’s literally a no-lose proposition, thanks to a money-back guarantee (and the retail price is only about 30 bucks anyway).
The low price and guarantee are a great marketing hook to win some new fans for the show, whose ratings were pretty meager last season. And it appears to be working, as the DVD set has been in the top 10 on Amazon.com’s sales rankings this week.
Yet I can’t help feeling that, for those ardent Dillon Panthers boosters out there, the DVD set is not all it could be. That may be a conscious choice, not wanting to overwhelm potential new viewers with hours and hours of bonus material. And what is there — a fairly insightful making-of documentary and a host of deleted scenes — is quite good. (It’s a testament to how on their game everyone was last season that even the deleted scenes are for the most part really good; even when they don’t pertain directly to the episode, they’re fun to watch.)
But it would have been nice to have a couple of commentary tracks to hear the cast talk about the unique way the show films (little to no rehearsal time, handheld cameras, freedom to move around during scenes). A featurette on filming the football action might have been cool to see as well.
And, this is a personal thing, but there’s a gem of a deleted scene that didn’t make it onto the DVD. In the version of the season finale sent to critics, Landry (Jesse Plemons), Tyra (Adrianne Palicki) and Tyra’s mom (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson) have a sweetly comedic scene at the state championship game at Texas Stadium that ends with Tyra giving Landry a peck on the cheek. It’s not among the deleted scenes from that episode, though, and I miss it.
I realize there’s a tradeoff inherent in the making and marketing of this DVD set, and NBC and Universal opted to go for winning new fans. I’m all for that — the more people watching come fall, the better. But it would have been nice to have a little more material for us diehards too.