Facing my first Friday in months without Friday Night Lights is much easier knowing that we have a fourth and fifth season coming our way. The season finale set up many potentially compelling storylines for the next couple of years, and all week, I've been daydreaming about some of the developments I'd like to see. If you haven't seen the finale yet, beware of spoilers ahead when you read more.
- Coach Taylor's reassignment needs to stick. When the show sent Coach to TMU at the end of the first season, it seemed destined to be a temporary plotline. The show was about Dillon and the Panthers and Coach's family — none of whom followed him to his new college job. But even though the show's season finale once again took Coach away from the Panthers, I want him to stay away this time. Having Eric in charge of the ragtag East Dillon Giraffes — I mean, Lions — could stretch the talents of a man who's accustomed to state championship bids and star talent. Buddy Garrity's loyalties are yet to be decided: does he stay with the team that won him a state ring or the man he obviously respects above Joe McCoy? And will Joe be able to maintain his power (and JD his position as team leader) once Eric's building up his own team across town?
- Tami should get some of the best stories. Speaking of Coach's reassignment, one of the most intriguing questions for me is what that will do to Tami. Presumably, she'll be staying at Dillon High, presiding over pep rallies and rooting on the Panthers, while her husband is across town grooming a rival team. She's already one of the most real and complicated female characters on TV (and Connie Britton one of the best actresses — you listening, Emmys?), and having her loyalties so divided should lead to plenty of rich stories.
- Matt needs to go to college. I understand the decision Matt makes in the finale to take his grandma home, but it just felt like the wrong thing for him to do. Matt's spent his whole life being abandoned, sure, and he doesn't want to continue the cycle. But we got hints later in the season that Lorraine knew it would be wrong for her to hold Matt back, and I hope she sits him down and tells him so before long. I don't mind if Matt stays closer to home (UT must have a decent art program, right?), but it would break my heart a little if he were stuck in Dillon forever. Executive Producer Jason Katims has said Matt's decision to stay wasn't done to set up stories for season four, so I take that as a sign that something could still happen.
- Riggins needs to drop out of San Antonio State and come home. Yeah, OK, this is the opposite of what I just said about Matt — and it's contrary to the part of me that really wants Riggins to help the future generations of Rigginses know there's more to life than beer, girls, and football. But somehow, it seems honest for this character to come back home, maybe take some classes at Dillon Tech, and work for Riggins Rigs. When he put down his cleats at the end of "Underdogs," it felt a little like the end of his football career. Plus, who hasn't known that one high school star who's still hanging around town, having given up his last shot at glory?
- Lyla, Tyra, and any others who leave should get heartfelt goodbyes. One of the things season three did best was tie up the stories of Smash and Street in a way that felt satisfying, made sense, and didn't take away from the ongoing Panthers storylines. I hope the same can happen for Lyla, Tyra, and any of the others who end up leaving town. Keeping them all in Dillon would be wrong (and, especially in the case of Tyra, just too sad and hard to watch), but I'm too attached to them to let them go without a big, blockbuster farewell.
What are your hopes for the next season of FNL?
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