Gaius Charles

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"Let's Get It On"

You mean Landry? Jesse Plemons, Kyle Chandler by Bill Records/NBC

Guest blogger Casey Marsella (Heroes) here! Leah couldn't make it tonight, but I'll do my best to recap this amazing show!Landry! Landry! Landry!Jesse Plemons made Dillon (and FNL fans) stand up and cheer tonight. His performance is what I love about this show. I’ve always noticed that the people who seem "out of place" are usually the ones most comfortable in their own skin. Landry used to be the goofy, one-liner sidekick, but he was always sure of himself. Tonight he proved that. His halftime speech was the highlight of the episode: "We can win together or lose alone." It was the perfect lead-in to: Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose!So, who’s together and who’s alone?Let’s start with the Taylors. Tami is thrilled to have her husband back, but not enough to give him the "green light." Coach was gently shot down and forced to sleep on the couch so Tami could finally get a good night’s sleep. The next day, the bags under his eyes initiated an unwanted ... read more

Brawls On and Off the Field

Eric hopes he can get his old job back. Kyle Chandler by Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Episode Recap: "Are You Ready for Friday Night?"Is this show about football or hockey? There was so many smackdowns (verbal and physical) tonight, that I think I'm forming bruises in sympathy. What does it say about a show when the characters who are doing the best at the moment are the ones who recently committed murder?That's right, you Tyra and Landry fans — the deed has been done, is probably going to be done again. And it seems like they're genuinely in love. Dillon's former bad girl — who seems to have passed on her particular brand of anger to Julie, but more on which later — is in a relationship with a guy that respects her and won't take advantage, so it's just too bad that the entire foundation of their love is that they killed someone. Their watch-shopping scene was the sweetest and lightest of the night ("it really doesn't look anything like [the old watch] except that they are both watches and have hands and tell time"). Definitely a welcome respite fro... read more

A Plague of Consequences Strikes Dillon

Matt tries to figure out how to deal with the women in his life. Zach Gilford by Bill Records/NBC

Episode Recap: "Bad Things"Regular readers of this blog know that this show make me cry on a pretty regular basis. Tonight's episode was no exception, though I'm not sure what part was most affecting. You'd think it would be Jason still coming to terms with his paralysis after recovering some muscle function, but that's really just par for the course on this show. As usual, Connie Britton's flawless portrayal of a new mother with a crumbling psyche was wrenching to watch. Was there any scene in which she wasn't desperately trying to swallow her sobs? And the thing is, it all seemed so completely organic — there was no screaming or a melodramatic "Why me?" moment. It's hard not to love a show that allows its characters to fully comprehend the ridiculousness of their choices, and when Glenn (the guidance counselor in need of guidance) asked Tami why exactly she and Eric were living apart, her acknowledgement of, "I don't know, that was just my idea, it was just a stupid idea," wa... read more

A New Job, a New Coach and a New Baby

The Taylors adjust to their new situation. Connie Britton, Aimee Teegarden, Kyle Chandler by Bill Records/NBC

Episode Recap: "Last Days of Summer""Welcome back to another glorious year of Panther football." I'm not ready to classify the football as glorious just yet, what with this new Coach McGregor (the anti-Eric Taylor) and all, but the show itself is certainly back and in sublime form.Let us first welcome into the world Miss Grace Taylor, second daughter of Eric and Tami, sister to suddenly moody teen, Julie. Now Eric has another daughter to defend against football players and Swedes; too bad he's a plane ride away in Austin. His new coaching job at TMU is having a deleterious effect on his family and (I'm not even being dramatic when I say this) the entire football-loving community in Dillon, but more about that in a bit. Julie won't talk to him because she considers him to have been an absentee father for the last 8 months, and Tami — Connie Britton, proving yet again how wrong the Emmy voters got it with her incredible performance tonight — is absolutely destroyed that he c... read more

It's Friday. Keep the Lights On.

Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton in Friday Night Lights by Bill Records/NBC Photo

What more can its devoted critics say about NBC’s Friday Night Lights except to celebrate the fact that it’s back for a second season, which means it has already beaten the odds, at least for now. Not that the odds aren’t still incredibly steep for this eternal underdog in its new Friday time period: 9 pm/ET, when many of those who might savor this wonderful drama’s small-town football backdrop are out enjoying their own high school football matches this time of year. No matter how you watch it — in real time, in your own time via recording or online viewing — you really don’t want to miss it.Friday Night Lights is powerfully entertaining drama, and returning to Dillon, Texas, is like going home again. The characters are instantly familiar as they recapture your heart, especially the Taylors. That would be Coach Eric and wife Tami, unhappily maintaining a long-distance relationship as he adjusts to a new college job while Tami copes with a new baby... read more

April 11, 2007: Those Are the People I Want in Your Hearts

“You feel different?” “I do. I do.” I do, too. Has there been a more sheerly exuberant episode of television this season than this? In a way, it was the perfect capsule of this show: Even if someone had never watched this show before, they could fall instantly into its rhythms and story lines just in this one hour. In fact, in looking at the whole season, both the pilot and the finale could be viewed as perfect one-offs. When I said last week that I thought the writers would be bringing their best game, I wasn't expecting for it to be the blow out that it was.Is it possible for a show to be both more than the sum of its parts and have those parts be almost more important at the same time? As wonderful as the episode was as a whole, the individual scenes themselves were so fully developed, they could have counted as one-acts. The pre-game dinner, for instance, with Buddy’s “Eric, I just came by to tell you that I’m gonna miss you, and that you’... read more

April 4, 2007: Why Are You Gonna Jump Off That Cliff?

Can I take a moment here to reiterate that I hate promos for shows I care about? Promos are supposed to give you a teaser to keep you coming back; they are not supposed to give away key plot points. In any case, next week’s episode looks fantastic, and that’s as far as I’ll go.The more I thought about it, the more I considered last week’s episode to be a high point in an exceptionally strong freshman season. Compared to that, of course, this week was going to be a bit of a come down. Part of it has to do with the fact that we’re being set up for the final episode, so while we got many great little moments, something tells me they’re saving the bonafide A-material for next week.So let’s talk about those little moments. The meeting that Coach and Jason had with Saracen was hilarious. Jason had the best line in the scene when he explained, “I’ll take care of Julie. I’ll give her a nice call and tell her there’s a new girl in town a... read more

March 28, 2007: This is Ours, Baby

“Welcome to the most talked about football game in the State of Texas.” It should go without saying that most sports commentators — and most network promo people — are prone to hyperbole, but I don’t think that this particular commentator was exaggerating, nor do I think that last week’s preview of this episode, touting it as, “one of the most inspirational,” was off the mark.It seems that we so rarely get to see the Panthers actually compete, but those games really serve to anchor their respective episodes. In the past they’ve embodied our characters’ feelings of suspense and disappointment, but this week it was all about control.Lyla told Jason what no one else was willing to tell him, which was that despite this terrible thing that happened to him, he doesn’t get a free pass in and that perhaps it was time for him to start getting a handle on his life. And he did. He took control during the settlement talks, finally getti... read more

March 21, 2007: Are We Comparing Girl Problems Now?

I’m having a hard time choosing my favorite scene here. On the one hand, we have the four boys on the football field reveling in small-town glory. On the other, the father-daughter dance. It’s too tough, so I’m not even going to make an attempt because both scenes were so full of joy on a show that never hesitates to show us the awful consequences of just about any decision one might make. Tyra’s mom seems to have a knack of making incredibly private moments available to all of Dillon, while the boys can be in what is usually the most public place in all of Dillon — the football field — and be completely cut off from the world.And here we are, going into the final three episodes and I have no idea where it’s all headed. Lyla has lost her faith in men in the space of about 48 hours, so while it doesn’t seem right to outright condemn her destructive behavior, I can’t see that it’s going to benefit anyone — least of all her. The ... read more

More Touchdowns for Friday Night Lights

Reason to cheer: After several weeks off, we finally have NBC’s instant classic Friday Night Lights to kick around for several more weeks. The first of four new episodes that will close out the first (hopefully not the last) season begins tonight, and once again, it reminds us that Friday Night Lights is not just a show about football.It’s about family. It’s about community. It is, also, about football. It’s about a small town that lives for the game while also playing the game of life. It’s about the sacrifice, hard knocks, hard work, hard truths, triumphs and joys, setbacks and sorrows, that make life so memorable, if not always easy to bear — or watch.NBC sent me screeners of this and next week’s episodes so late I was forced to screen them in the office, and while watching them, it was all I could do not to bawl in public, like that little girl on American Idol this week. Friday Night Lights moves me like no other show. It reminds me of where ... read more

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