Many years ago, I included the first season of Friday Night Lights among the best 20 seasons of television in the last 20 years. That would still be the case today. The series would be among my top three desert-island shows. I ranked the “We All Fall” speech from the pilot as the second greatest TV speech of the 21st century. And if you ask me, the pilot episode, which I remember watching three times before the second episode aired, is one of the three best TV pilots of all time (along with Six Feet Under and Breaking Bad). I can’t think of a better network television drama, ever. And I swear to God, Coach Taylor and Tami are to marriage what The Wire was to cop shows. There’s nothing better. They are out of everyone else’s league.
I could go on with Friday Night Lights superlatives for a very long time, but I’ll stop here, and just share with you 15 facts that you probably don’t know about the series:
1. The role of Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki) was actually originally offered to Lindsay Lohan. She declined, thank God. Can you imagine the chemistry (or lack thereof) between Lohan and Taylor Kitsch? It would’ve been a disaster, and too much of the show’s focus would’ve been on Lohan, to the drama’s detriment.
2. Meanwhile, in what would’ve been even better casting, Emmy Rossum was actually originally offered the role of Lyla Garrity (Minka Kelly), but declined for fear of being typecast as a “good girl.”
3. Only two actors reprised their movie roles on the TV series: Connie Britton and Brad Leland, who played similar characters in both: The coach’s wife and a football booster, respectively. Peter Berg, of course, also directed the movie and the pilot episode.
4. The Jason Street character (Scott Porter) was inspired by David Edwards, a 15-year-old defensive back who was paralyzed by a tackle in a game that Berg was watching while researching the movie. Edwards would go on himself to become a motivational speaker, though sadly he passed away three days before his 21st birthday due to complications from pneumonia.
5. Kyle Chandler, who played Coach Taylor in the the series, is — along with this wife Kathryn Chandler — the godparent of Lorenzo Lamas’ kid.
6. Connie Britton, who played Tami Taylor, used to be roommates with Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls).