Friday Night Lights

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Friday Night Lights TV Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Poignant football drama scores; OK for teens.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 15 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


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.


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.


Relatively mild: "Damn," "hell," etc. Occasional racial epithets, like "cracker."


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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bychamonix April 9, 2008

Not as benign as it sounds

I watched part of an episode and was shocked to see "teenagers" getting undressed/dressed and into and out of bed. Some would say don't be such... Continue reading
Parent of a 7, 11, and 14-year-old Written bymorgancharles April 5, 2011
I am an east coast liberal, and my first take on this show was negative--- too southern, too football, too Christian-phony. But somehow it was also compelling.... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byapollo. January 3, 2014

amazing show, iffy for immature veiwers.

Overall friday night lights is a great TV show, with some positive messages. In a couple of the seasons sex is a really big problem though, there's never a... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old February 4, 2021

Why 13 and up from kids?

I watched the first episode of that show when at my own age since I’m 12 sure it went over mature issues since the show isn’t afraid to do that but since I’m a... Continue reading

What's the story?

Centered on the world of elite high school football, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS follows the trials and tribulations of coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and the Dillon Panthers, the number-one team in Texas. When star quarterback, Jason Street (Scott Porter), is sidelined in the first season, Taylor is left with inexperienced second-string QB Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford). The coach struggles with the community's desire to win the state championship and the need for his players to understand that football isn't just a game, but also a journey of self-discovery. And the players -- including running backs Brian "Smash" Williams (Gaius Charles) and Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) -- must learn how to behave as a team both on and off the field. The guys' romantic interests, including Jason's devoted cheerleader girlfriend Lyla (Minka Kelly) and the flirtatious Tyra (Adrianne Palicki), add to the drama. And Coach Taylor is both supported and pressured by his wife, Tami (Connie Britton).

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of sports in their community and how it compares to Friday Night Lights. Are high school games as big a deal in your town as they are on the show? What kind of pressures do the athletes (both the ones on TV and the ones in real life) face? What are some of the consequences of those pressures?

  • How do parents and other adult role models help kids learn what success means? What defines success in your community?

  • Are the teen characters on the show realistic? Why or why not?

  • How do the characters on Friday Night Lights demonstrate communication and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sports and drama

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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