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Is the Television Series, Friday Night Lights Literary? Explicatory Essay

The high school football drama, Friday Night Lights, is a great piece of literary work. This is a great television drama, which reflects different literary characteristics, just like other literary works, such as poems, novels, short stories, paintings, plays, and others (Heffernan 1).

While there are non-literary works, they tend to be formal with clear structures and form, precise function, and style. This essay focuses on the use of characters, plot or episodes, and storyline to show that Friday Night Lights is literary.

Friday Night Lights has characters that meet qualities of other characters in works of literature. Characters are people in the narrative or the television series. The television series has round characters, who appear to be complex and experience several development and surprise audience. Characters vary from one episode to the next one.

However, the focus remains on the main character, the Panthers’ football coach Eric Taylor (Berg 1). The director creates a coach who must struggle to balance his roles as a father, his status as a coach for a demand fans, and his own ambitions. Another character is Tami Taylor, the coach’s wife. She becomes a principal at Dillon High School from a counselor.

In addition, Julie Taylor, the teenage daughter of the coach is also a central character in the series. However, it is only Tami and the coach who appear in all episodes of show. Tension sets in the family as Tami gets pregnant and gives birth to another baby. Julie rebels against her parents.

Players are also important characters in the television drama. Football players also change as the plot develops. For instance, Jason Street is the star quarterback who sustains a serious injury that would eventually get him out of the game and make him handicapped. Jason must struggle in order to adjust to his new life. Lyla Garrity also changes from a cheerleader to a youth leader at the church.

The television series depicts characters who struggle and develop to pick up new roles or responsibilities in their lives. Generally, the show depicts various characters of a small town, Dillon who must deal with several challenges in the contemporary American society associated with football. These characters must develop to handle family issues, life lessons, child issues, abortion, alcoholism, football and school funding, and poor economic progress and opportunities.

Friday Night Lights has five seasons, which present the plot of the drama. The plot of the drama is engaging to viewers. A plot presents incidents of the drama to viewers. It is the structure of the drama. Every episode in the drama has a ‘whole’ element of a plot i.e., beginning, middle, and end.

The beginning sets the pace for the rest of the drama. For instance, season one focuses on two crucial events, which are the rise of Coach Taylor to the position of the head coach and the injury of Street. These are events, which affect and lead the first season to its end. They show cause-and-effect chain in the drama.

This television series has complete plots to reflect unity of actions. In other words, all episodes structurally self-supporting in which all incidents are bound together through internal action and necessity, which lead to next incidents. However, this television series presents an episodic plot in which episodes succeed one another.

It is the events of the play, which tight the play together because they happen to the same characters, who appear in all episodes of the drama. For instance, in episode one, we have Coach Taylor who will take the team throughout the last episode four. One must recognize that events change in every episode. Nevertheless, they happen to the same coach and other characters who appear in all episodes. This brings element of unity in Friday Night Lights.

Finally, the plot of the television drama reflects elements of a certain magnitude in terms of length, intensity, complexity, and universal significance. Episodes or seasons in this television are not too brief. The director strived to include several themes in organic unity to enhance the richness and artistic value.

For example, in season four, the Coach struggles with undesirable players and dilapidated ground. Vince Howard reflects youth challenges in society and justice while a character like Matt Saracen struggles to find a balance in his life. The episode also reflects grief and loss as Matt struggles to come to terms with the death of his father in Iraq.

This episode also shows how Tim Riggins has developed to a reliable and focused character from a hopeless alcoholic. At the same time, the play has universal significant and meaning to many viewers. Hence, the drama is able to capture and hold emotions of viewers.

The storyline of Friday Night Lights reflects that the work is literary. The director uses a story arc to present the storyline. A story arc applies in a running storyline with episodic plots. It was common in television series, films, or other comic books. The story director explores story details in several episodes and seasons. It is a common method, which drives drama in a story.

The storyline is able to attract several viewers and develop fans who follow and discuss different episodes. The development of the storyline raises questions among viewers. For instance, in season two, viewers may wonder whether Coach Taylor would ever return to Dillon after taking a new role as an assistant coach TMU. At the end of the episode, viewers will find a solution to their question as the coach goes back to Dillon.

As the storyline develops, viewers also raise questions whether several economic, social, racial, and political challenges that afflict Dillon would end. Viewers also appreciate the importance of football Dillon because it is able to hold the community together. Still, curious viewers would understand how football or sports could highlight social and economic challenges in American societies where football is core.

The essay has used characters, plot, and storyline to illustrate that Friday Night Lights is a television series that meets all qualities of a literary work. The process of writing a literary drama is intense, intricate, intuitive, and intimate and sometimes emotional, yet it requires a balance between all these agents of literary styles. The story uses round characters who develop and change as events in the drama unfold.

Viewers identify with these characters as they confront and struggle to overcome their daily challenges, desires, and anxieties to change and win. The plot, through episodes and seasons, artistically puts events of the story together for viewers while the storyline maintain coherence of all episodes that make Friday Night Lights.

Works Cited

Berg, Peter, dir. Friday Night Lights. 2006. Film.

Heffernan, Virginia. Friday Night Lights: On the Field and Off, Losing Isn’t an Option. 3 Dec. 2006. Web.

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Nolan, Cayson. "Is the Television Series, Friday Night Lights Literary?" IvyPanda, 15 July 2019, Accessed 6 Dec. 2019.

1. Cayson Nolan. "Is the Television Series, Friday Night Lights Literary?" IvyPanda (blog), July 15, 2019.


Nolan, Cayson. "Is the Television Series, Friday Night Lights Literary?" IvyPanda (blog), July 15, 2019.


Nolan, Cayson. 2019. "Is the Television Series, Friday Night Lights Literary?" IvyPanda (blog), July 15, 2019.


Nolan, C. (2019) 'Is the Television Series, Friday Night Lights Literary?'. IvyPanda, 15 July. (Accessed: 6 December 2019).

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