On THE best show on television today, Kyle Chandler plays Coach Eric Taylor on Friday Night Lights. The man deserves an Emmy nod for his honest, every man portrayal of a coach which fate puts in the position of having to build a football team from scratch. His survival and the survival of his family depend upon it. His wife, Tami (superbly played by Connie Britton), describes her husband as more than a coach. He is a "teacher and a molder of men." On screen, Chandler and Britton have been described as the most authentic married couple on television. These two are magic onscreen, together or apart, and their screen marriage serves as the anchor to the show. Chandler also plays a father to his teenage daughter, Julie, and their "surprise" baby, Grace.
Set in a mid-Texas town where football is the get all, where football gives a town its pride and its identity, where the entire town closes on Friday nights to watch the game ... it is ironic how little the show actually has to do with football. Football is the backdrop used to tell stories of the Taylor Family, their respective schools, their town, their students, the townsfolk. It's about relationships involving students, races, genders, authority, power structures, religion, the haves and the have nots. It's about doing the right thing vs. what's right for the team or a family, a friend, a town.
The end of Season 3 blew up the status quo in Dillon by replacing Coach Taylor as State Champion Head Coach of the town's beloved Dillon Panthers and instead, offering him a job as the Head Coach of the Lions at dilapidated East Dillon High School, a school that has no football team. East Dillon is located on the wrong side of the tracks and deals much more with gangs, drugs, poverty ... and little hope. Because Coach Taylor gave up his dream job at TMU in Season 2 to return as coach of the Dillon Panthers, he remains out on a standard non-compete agreement and is prohibited from coaching College Ball for 2 years. Therefore, he is literally "stuck" at East Dillon along with the rest of the Lions.
Season 4 begins with Coach Taylor at East Dillon, a school with no playable field, no players, staff, budget, Boosters or support from the school or the town. His wife remains Principal at his old Dillon High where she crosses paths regularly with the privileged and entitled Panther's organization and Boosters. The needs of both schools will pit Coach and Tami at cross purposes for their respective schools.
Their daughter, Julie, is a senior in high school dealing with college choices, her relationship with former Panther Quarterback Matt Saracen who graduated last season, and her decision to change schools and attend the under privileged East Dillon High.
Dillon football hunk and graduate Tim Riggins is still in town along with Landry Clark. And new students have been introduced this season to take the place of story lines of the past three years from students who have graduated.
Yet it is Chandler's Coach Taylor who remains constant as the heart of the show. What could easily be a sappy, teen angst series or another "Bad News Bears" is not ... and largely because of the believability imparted by Chandler. He anchors the busy montage of storytelling together ... beautifully and honestly ... making Friday Nights Light a believable and inspirational show to watch. It's not always a happy ending; again, a lot like life. Add that with first rate writing, casting, acting, documentary style cinematography, story telling, and music/scoring ... and you have simply THE best show on television, today. And THE most Emmy worth performance on television today as well in Kyle Chandler.