Here at InStyle, there's a rather large group of us who admittedly have some very strong feelings about the TV series Friday Night Lights. If you're not familiar, the show is based on the book and movie of the same name and aired for five glorious seasons from 2006 to 2011. Whether we watched it in real time on TV or fate brought it into our lives via Netflix, we all unanimously agree that–without sounding too dramatic–our worlds were forever changed.
To this day, we still refer to actor Taylor Kitsch as Tim Riggins, we live for FNL cast reunions, and "Texas forever" is one of our favorite catchphrases (whether or not we've actually been to Texas). If you're a fan of the show, we're sure you know exactly where we're coming from. The reasons why we love this show are endless, and it will without a doubt remain in heavy viewing rotation for many, many years to come.
Tomorrow, Feb. 9, marks the anniversary of the end of this beloved series, and we're feeling pretty emotional about it. Scroll through the pics below to take a look back on everything we love about FNL, and join us in starting (another) binge session of the series–we promise you won’t regret it.
1. THE TAYLORS
The first blaring reason for our undying love of FNL is of course Coach Eric (Kyle Chandler) & Tami Taylor (Connie Britton). These two are the epitome of true love and friendship, and what we refer to nowadays as #relationshipgoals. Their relationship holds steadfast through all the ups and downs, and they look at each other as equals, making personal sacrifices so they can both carry out their lifelong dreams. We could actually cry right now just thinking about them.
2. Tim Riggins (because duh)
It's hard to pinpoint exactly what it is about him, besides his obvious good looks (understatement of the century), that makes Tim Riggins so charming. Maybe it's that deep down inside he's a really good guy, even though he doesn't always let it show. He's a bad boy with a heart of gold, and although he doesn't always make the right decisions, he wants to, so that has to count for something. He's damaged and emotionally unavailable, which we guess is just part of his allure. To put it simply, Tim Riggins is complicated–he has layers–and throughout those five seasons, he becomes more vulnerable, and you see a boy turn into a man. Swoon.
3. Young Love
No matter what age we were when we first discovered the show, we were instantly brought back to the high school glory days. But besides the football games, the moments of our teenage years that we look back on with warm and fuzzy feelings are those of our first young love. Remember the days when a flirtation turned into a crush which turned into a relationship, complete with passed notes in class and cheesy prom invitations? Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) and Julie Taylor (Aimee Teegarden) were the perfect example of awkward yet sweet teenage romances. Sometimes it's nice to be reminded of that kind of innocent love, and FNL had it down to a T. It's all about the nostalgia, people.
4. THE UNDERDOG
The show is also known for its classic underdog themes, which, let's be honest, get us every time. Whether it's the unlikely relationship between Landry Clarke (Jesse Plemons) and Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki), the East Dillon Lions' struggle to be taken seriously as a football team, or Jason Street's (Scott Porter) uphill battle after his accident lands him in a wheelchair, there's something to be said for FNL's underdog storylines. You can't help but root for them all, and there's nothing more inspiring than seeing teenagers who don't believe in themselves set goals and achieve them.
5. IT'S AN EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER
Friday Night Lights will make you feel all the feelings. Throughout the series, we laughed, we cried (a lot), and we felt an almost real-life connection to the characters. The show is lauded for its character development, so its no surprise how emotionally connected we felt with them. We rooted for Landry when he saved Tyra from being attacked, we sobbed when Matt Saracen broke down to Coach Taylor about his parents leaving, our hearts broke when we learned about Vince's (Michael B. Jordan) past, and we were pretty much inconsolable when Saracen's dad died. This show basically rips your heart out yet you still come back for more. Watch with a box of tissues handy.
6. Actual Friday Night Lights
This is kind of a given, but yes, football is a major part of the series. But it's not just any type of football, it's high school football, when not a whole lot else matters more to the players, the coaches, the classmates, and the community. It's a time in these kids' lives when they have a fighting chance at making their dreams come true. Each football game brings you back to the days of Friday nights spent in the bleachers rooting for your team, and you remember how much winning a simple football game can mean to so many people. We may or may not have rooted for the Dillon Panthers and East Dillon Lions more than we have for most football teams in real life.
7. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose
The series gave us this inspirational, and dare we say, iconic, phrase. Even if you've never seen the show, you've definitely seen or heard this line quoted somewhere. Coach Taylor's locker room speeches left us feeling levels of inspiration that make you think you can do anything if you set your mind–and heart–to it. He's the perfect mix of terrifying and motivating that makes us want to be the best we can be. How is it that a fictional character can make us feel that inspired? We're telling you guys, this show is magic.
8. Texas Forever
Not only did we get "clear eyes" and "full hearts" out of this series, we were also blessed with "Texas forever." Hailing from none other than Tim Riggins and his best friends, which they used as a kind of pact, the phrase has meaning even to those who have never set foot in the Lonestar State. It's about friends who stay close no matter where life takes you, and the hometown that you'll always come back to–no matter how hard you try to leave them behind. We're getting emotional just thinking about the series' final scenes when it all comes full circle.