If youre one of the folks who have been watching the Texas high school football drama Friday Night Lights since September on DirecTV, you might think this is not the story for you.
You might be wrong.
Even though the satellite TV provider had the right to air the episodes first, when Friday Night Lights returns to NBC on Friday, it arrives looking a little more refined and with extra material made available.
Even though there might be people who saw the show on DirecTV, executive producer Jason Katims says, Im not sure they wont come back. Theres going to be additional material now that were going to be able to put up on NBC.com. Well be able to put up deleted scenes and additional material, new things for them.
We have a tremendous amount of scenes that, over the course of the season, that weve had to take out, really good material. Thats always been the case with the show.
Thats something that has not been made available before. That will be made available as we start airing on NBC.
As for the episodes themselves, Katims says, Theyll be slightly different. One of the things thats been enjoyable about the process, usually you do the episode, and its done, and you never get to go back and reconsider it. Weve gotten to do that.
Weve done a little bit of what I would say is refining. I was able to go back and look at the first few episodes, having seen the last episode. Seeing as its a show with characters that are constantly evolving and changing, it informs a little bit how you go back and look at those early ones.
The episodes are as strong, if not stronger, than they ever have been.
According to Katims, NBC will also be able to air the 13 episodes produced in partnership with DirecTV straight through, without pre-emptions.
For those who havent yet seen the show, Katims gives a little preview of whats to come for the Panthers of Dillon High, saying, Were dealing with this being a year of transition and coming of age for a lot of our characters. Four of our characters are seniors and are graduating this year; others have already graduated and theyre growing up.
Among the characters in transition are graduating player Brian Smash Williams (Gaius Charles) and paraplegic ex-quarterback Jason Street (Scott Porter).
Were dealing with two of the most emotional things weve done this season, which are Smash and Jason Street, Katims says, who both came back to do arcs but werent there for the whole season.
It resulted in two very, very powerful story lines. Theyre very, very different in their natures, but theyre both about the two of them becoming men and moving on with their lives.
Another character coping with change is coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler), who takes on a new freshman quarterback phenom, J.D. McCoy (Jeremy Sumpter, Clubhouse), who unfortunately comes with a rich, overbearing father (D.W. Moffet) and an eccentric mother (Janine Turner).
Coach is dealing with having a very powerful dad of a player, who wants to control what he does, Katims says. What you find out over the course of some episodes is that he has some control. So thats a big challenge for the coach.