Saturday, May 8, 2010

'Friday Night Lights' Season 4 Preview

Football season may still be a long way off, but 'Friday Night Lights' is just getting ready for kick-off. And in order to prepare you for the NBC premiere of the critically-acclaimed series' fourth season (which already aired on DirecTV in the fall), here's a little recap of where the show left off, and what to expect when the Texas drama bows May 7.

Season 3, as you may recall, ended with a game-changer. Despite leading the Dillon Panthers to the Texas high school state championship game, Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) was left to fight for his job when Joe McCoy (controlling father to Dillon's star quarterback J.D.) made a brazen power move to get his puppet coach Wade Aikman into the head slot.

As impassioned as Coach Taylor's plea was, the school board voted for Wade, then offered Taylor the head football coach position at the newly-reinstated East Dillon High School.

Meanwhile, Tyra (Adrianne Palitic) got accepted into college in Austin, and Lyla (Minka Kelly) was off to Vanderbilt. Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) gave up art school in Chicago to stay with his grandmother in Dillon. Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) also wanted to stick around Dillon, but was talked into going to college by his just-married brother, Billy. This new season presents a whole new ball game, as the town is now divided. Coach Taylor has traded in his Panther blue for East Dillon red, and he has to build a whole new team from scratch.

The journey he faces is not only steep and rocky, but one that he'll have to tackle largely on his own -- his wife, Tami (Connie Britton), remains principal of Dillon, and eldest daughter Julie (Aimee Teegarden) still attends school there. He soon discovers that the doors won't open as easily for him in this less-privileged part of town.

With Tyra, Lyla and Tim Riggins graduated, there's a new crop of fresh faces to fill the student-athlete void. Joining Jordan on the roster this season are Matt Lauria ('Lipstick Jungle') as a football star with some boundary issues and Jurnee Smollett ('The Great Debaters') as a student who befriends a re-zoned Landry (Jesse Plemons) at East Dillon.

Matt Saracen has to adjust to life after high school in his small hometown, while Tim Riggins discovers that higher education may not be his calling, after all.

After Coach Taylor has gotten the locker room into sporting shape, he has to do the same with his motley crew of players, which more resemble the 'Bad News Bears' than a pride of Lions. Coach quickly cottons on to the fact that gems like would-be quarterback Vince (Michael B. Jordan from 'The Wire') can be found in even the unlikeliest of places.