It's the Case and Point list of the Top Five Sports TV Shows. So far we've gone over a special honorable mention plus the fifth, fourth, third, and second ranked TV show. To see who ranks number one on the list, click below to read more!
*My huge TV knowledge revolves around pretty much anything from 1990, which even then is limited until about 1995 for the full spectrum of shows. Oh, and for this case ignoring reality shows like Hard Knocks and HBO's 24/7.
1. Friday Night Lights (2006-2011)
From the outset of the story it was easy to get hooked. Even if you saw the plot twist from the start that changed the life of star football quarterback Jason Street (Scott Porter) and forced inexperienced back up Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) into action you found it hard to look away as head coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) found a way to mold the youth of Dillon into eventual champions.
Through six seasons you followed the whole family of Dillon Panthers/East Dillon Lions. What made Friday Night Lights more unique than just about any other high school show is that the cast actually revolved as the years went by. Year after year a new cast member would develop as one dropped away. We watched Saracen graduate, we saw Brian "Smash" Williams (Gaius Charles) move on to greater things in the world of football, and we witnessed Tim Riggins grow from a delinquent high school tailback into a man who grew up in front of us. It made you feel closer to the characters and delighted to hear brief mentions of the success or failures they found as they moved on.
Also unique about Friday Night Lights in comparison to other sports shows is that the action was inherently believable. The plays that were scripted and choreographed looked real. Nothing staged. The hits seemed legitimate, the passing plays seem real, even the blocking seems to be hard fought.
For anyone who played any sport as a youth in high school you identify with someone on Friday Night Lights and truthfully you want a coach like Coach Taylor. Heavy handed when need be but someone you can always turn to when you have a problem. Always looking out for your best interests even when it could mean his job is on the line.
The most important thing about Friday Night Lights, aside from it's fantastic writing and great acting, is that it's something like few of the others on this list are: it's viewer friendly. From 8 to 80 any age can watch this show and appreciate it. It's got a deep and big heart that draws in viewers of all ages and rewards them with an otherwise wholesome and realistic portrayal of family and sports culture. From the false bravado of the male high school athlete, the everyday tension of what one would seem to think is the perfect family, and the ups and downs of a sports season. It's all done with little coarse language and full believability.
A show that was unfortunately ended this season, in a way that's cliche yet perfectly done to prevent the cheese from going bad, it had a run of five seasons in which the show peaked early and remained near the top. Even after the focus shifted from sports heavy to family first, it remained a funny, sweet, and true portrayal of the joys and pains of a football season. It's a show that will be missed, but so glad it was around for us to enjoy.