Despite a critically acclaimed five-season run, Friday Nights Lights’ season 2 went a little off-pitch with it's out of place murder plotline. It’s been the best part of a decade since the final episode of Friday Night Lights aired but with the news that Halloween reboot director David Gordon Green has plans to helm a movie reboot, there’s been renewed interest in the critically lauded NBC sports drama.
The show started life as a nonfiction book by journalist Buzz Bissinger about small-town sports culture titled Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, And A Dream. Bissinger’s book was, in turn, adapted for the big screen into a film directed by Peter Berg (Mile 22) and starring Billy Bob Thornton. The film’s success inspired Berg to adapt the story for the small screen too, and so Friday Night Lights the TV show was born.
Set in the fictional town of Dillon, Texas, the series follows the ups and downs of the high school football-obsessed town and its residents. While it was never a big hit ratings-wise, the show found a loyal fan base during its first season and was praised for its true-to-life characters and the realistic picture it painted of Middle America. However, in Friday Night Lights season 2, the show took a misstep with a far-fetched murder subplot that marked a major departure from its grounded tone.
The offending Friday Night Lights season 2 subplot saw lovable nerd Landry Clarke (Jesse Plemons) kill a man who was attempting to rape his crush, resident bad girl Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki). Rather than call the police and plead self-defense, the pair dumped the body in an attempted cover-up that eventually involved Landry’s dad, local cop Chad Clarke (Glenn Morshower). It was a sensationalist storyline that felt grossly out of line with the naturalism of Friday Night Lights’ first season, and many fans and critics suspected it was a not-so-subtle ploy to bump ratings by sexing-up the show.
It seemed the Friday Night Lights writing team realized their mistake as the murder storyline fizzled out pretty quickly and without much consequence for Landry, Tyra or Chad. Bar the 2007 writers’ strike that threatened the future of the show, Friday Night Lights was soon back on track with its third season which saw a return to the realistic tone fans and critics loved. The series continued for another two seasons after that with nary a murder subplot in sight, thankfully.