'Friday Night Lights' Showrunner Jason Katims Reflects on that Perfect Series Finale
It's been nearly three years, but fans of Friday Night Lights are still talking about the show's pitch-perfect series finale. Everything about that episode, from Matt's proposal to Tim and Tyra's dance to that final shot of the Taylors walking out of the stadium, was incredible, and brought the beloved show to a hugely satisfying, if heartbreaking, end. Now, series showrunner Jason Katims has revealed what it took to bring FNL to such a flawless conclusion, and for those of you who love "see how it's made" type of things, it's a fascinating read. The three biggest takeaways:
Coach and Tami were always going to leave Dillon
Katims revealed that he had always planned for the couple to move away, and he had imagined a last shot of them driving out of Texas long before the the finale was written. The showrunner reasoned that football coaches often switch jobs, and so it would make sense for Eric to go to a different school (the parallel of him leaving Dillon, when the series premiere showed him getting settled, didn't hurt, either). Having Tami get offered a major, life-changing career opportunity was "something that we never quite played before," said Katims, and provided a plotline that viewers "wouldn't automatically know where they [the characters] were going to end up."
The ending wasn't meant to be ambiguous
Although the now-defunct possibility of an FNL movie had fans hugely excited for awhile, it's probably for the best that it's not going to happen. After all, the show's finale was as satisfying as they get, tying up every storyline and leaving no character's fate unknown. According to Katims, this was intentional, and the idea of expanding the story with a movie didn't even come up until after the episode was shot.
"That ending was definitely meant as the end of the series," he said, adding that "there was no thought in the finale of keeping a window open for the future."
Oh, who are we kidding? The finale could've shown every moment of Coach and Tami's future together for the next twenty years and we still would've demanded a movie.
Football was never the point of the show
You'd think this one was obvious, but I've had far too many experiences of friends telling me they wouldn't like FNL because they can't stand football. "But it's not about sports!" I tell them. "It's about family, and friendship, and community!" Still, they don't listen; maybe if Katims is the one to tell them that, though, it'll change their minds.
"Tthe show is not actually about football," Katims said, adding that early on in the show, the writers felt like the football element was a barrier in getting viewers. "It’s about community, it’s about family, and it’s about all these people’s lives, and it’s about so much more than that."
Well said. Still, Katims added that he remembered "saying that to people and getting blank stares when we said this early on." Oh, the memories of trying and failing to convince people to watch Friday Night Lights. How we can all relate.
The whole interview is worth reading, even if you're convinced that you've successfully moved on from your constant FNL nostalgia. To that, we say: stop lying to yourself, read the interview, and load up Netflix, because come on, from the moment you opened this article, you knew re-watching that perfect finale was only a matter of time.