You may have noticed by now that Rise borrows quite a bit from another show ushered onto the small screen by creator Jason Katims: Friday Night Lights. The two dramas are both set in struggling small towns and follow inspirational leading men in a learning institution. On Rise that man is teacher-turned-theater-director Lou Mazzuchelli (Josh Radnor). On Friday Night Lights it's Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler).
In the interest of seeing just how much the two shows overlap over the course of Rise's first season, we've kept a running list of similarities below. Check back often as we'll be updating the story as the season goes.
Disclaimer: Certain storylines that are more common and likely to pop up on just about any show, like the parents of two students having an affair, are not included in this list for obvious reasons.
Episode 1: "Pilot"
1. Look, maybe the term QB1 is actually used by football teams across America, but Friday Night Lights is the reason anyone outside of a locker room knows what this means. Friday Night Lights made it a part of popular culture.
2. A great deal of Friday Night Lights was about the preferential treatment of the high school's football team in comparison to the rest of the school and how the school might have suffered as a result. This is a problem at Stanton High as well. In the pilot, it is mentioned how much the school paid to replace the turf on the football field, while the drama program has very little money.
3. Sure, pep rallies happen on TV shows, but not as often as you might think. Plus, there's a fun performance during the one in the pilot, which is something that also happened on Friday Night Lights as well.
4. In Friday Night Lights, Coach Taylor brought the tortured Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) into his home in one of the greatest storylines in TV history. In Rise, Lou brings home another wayward high school student, Maashous (Rarmian Newton), who was in the foster system but was living in the lighting booth at the school when Lou found him.
Episode 2: "Most of All to Dream"
5. During the third season of FNL, Tami Taylor (Connie Britton) — newly appointed principal of Dillon High — squared off against the fearsome boosters who'd raised money for a state-of-the-art Jumbotron. The school being underfunded, with teachers scrambling for materials, Tami naturally wanted to use the money for the rest of the school. In Rise's second episode, there's another argument about purchasing a Jumbotron from money raised by the football team. Honestly, how many high schools actually have these things? Does anyone know?
Episode 3: "What Flowers May Bloom"
6. Everyone thought it was very sweet when Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) referred to Coach Taylor's wife as Mrs. Coach, but when Gwen's mom introduced herself to Ted Mosby as Mrs. Coach, it lost a bit of its shine. Also, there is only one Mrs. Coach, Gwen's mom. So back off.
Episode 4: "Victory Party"
7. Since Robbie is also a star quarterback, Rise's fourth episode features the highs and lows of a football game. We understand why this is important — Robbie is trying his best to balance his role on the football team and his role as Melchior in Spring Awakening — but this was the most obvious example of Rise relying on FNL. The scenes are all shot the same, with shots of the crowd interspersed with the action on the field. The familiar play-by-play announcing was even present!
8. Not to be confused with cheerleaders, rally girls played a significant role in Friday Night Lights early on — remember when they were doing Riggins' homework? — and in Rise they are once again a big part of the sports scene at Stanton High. In this episode, Robbie's rally girl offers him baked goods and a kiss before the big game. He gladly accepts both, but acknowledges there's nothing going on between them.
If we've missed anything major, please let us know!
Rise airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.