Friday Night Lights

Common Sense Media says

Poignant football drama scores; OK for teens.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

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.

Sex

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.

Language

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

Consumerism

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.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sports drama -- 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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

Friday Night Lights is full of football lingo and pre- and post-game rituals that have become part of high school football culture. 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.

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the importance of sports in their community. 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?

TV details

Cast:Connie Britton, Kyle Chandler, Zach Gilford
Networks:ABC Family, NBC
Genre:Drama
Topics:Sports and martial arts
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Friday Night Lights was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byIngrid922 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
Parent of a 7, 11, and 14 year old Written bymorgancharles April 5, 2011
AGE
14
QUALITY
 
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. So I watched another episode, then another. And the characters grew on me, and the show deepened (in my mind), and I fell in love with it, and I could not wait to see the next episode and the next episode. I watched all 20 of the first year episodes within a week. And I am going to try to have my wife and teenage daughter watch it too. Alas, because of the fact that some of these highschoolers are having sex, I do not want my 11 year old, let alone my 7 year old to watch it. But if there were not sex scenes, I would have them watch it-- there is other mature content, and some swearing, but nothing my 7 year old could not handle. But I am a bit prudish about the the sex. If you have teenagers (even 13 year olds), I would highly recommend that you watch this together, as a family, and all the way through. The role models are absolutely excellent.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byhotcat April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

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