A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Communication and teamwork are major themes. There's a strong focus on playing from the heart as well as playing to win. Respect for teammates, family, and community are stressed. Racial tension is also a theme here. Prayers are both seen and heard throughout show.
Positive Role Models
Coach Taylor is deeply committed to the game and his players, often acting as a mentor to members of the team who need guidance. Some players act inappropriately due to their local "celebrity" status, while others struggle with serious family, health, and/or personal issues. However, Taylor doesn't allow the team's needs to overshadow his family relationships, and works hard to balance home with football.
Violence & Scariness
The games are rough, and some of the injuries are very serious. Some arguing, pushing, and shoving between feuding teammates. One storyline deals with sexual assault, another with murder. Some abusive relationships.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some hugging, kissing, and making out, as well as strong innuendo. Teens are seen in bed together. One high school kid sleeps with his 30-something neighbor and also his best friend's girlfriend. A girl cheats on her boyfriend. Some lingerie/underwear shots. Dating, relationships, and sex (including virginity) are discussed.
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Relatively mild: "Damn," "hell," etc. Occasional racial epithets, like "cracker."
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Products & Purchases
Restaurant logos, such as Applebee's, are distantly visible. Sports drink bottles are visible, but no logos.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Underage drinking (often with the intention of getting drunk); one player is hung over on several occasions.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Friday Night Lights is a sports drama that -- like the movie it's based on -- centers on the coach and players of an elite high school football team in small-town Texas. There's constant tension between the community's desire to win games and the coach's goal of helping his players understand the inner strength they need to truly be winners. Racial tensions, underage drinking, and sexual tension are prevalent, and some of the football scenes can get pretty intense. Other mature issues include infidelity, abusive relationships, divorce, going to war, and more.
Is It Any Good?
Even if you aren't a football fan, it isn't hard to get caught up in some of the show's dramatic storylines, which include teen romance, strong friendship, personal rivalry, and family unity. For sports fans though, Friday Night Lights is full of football lingo and pre- and post-game rituals that have become part of high school football culture.
The show also deals with some weightier, more controversial issues, including underage drinking, racial tensions, murder, abusive relationships, and the serious risks involved in playing contact sports -- all of which are relevant to (and will probably interest) a lot of older middle schoolers and high schoolers. As long as these heavier topics are taken in context -- ideally, with some parental explanation -- the show is a well-executed drama for teens and up. Because, in the end, Friday Night Lights is about a whole lot more than just winning football games.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.