Wednesday Night

'Friday Night Lights' vs. 'Modern Family'



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--Image courtesy of NY Daily News

"Friday Night Lights"
Network: NBC

­The fourth season of “Friday Night Lights” was regarded by many critics – this one included – as the greatest since the much-lauded first season. Smoothly adding a number of new characters without losing its identity, as well as addressing racial tensions in fictional Dillon, Texas, the show raised the stakes and played its cards well.

It contained two of the best episodes of the entire show’s run. “I Can’t,” with a powerfully moving abortion, brought out the absolute best in Connie Britton and relative newcomer Madison Burge. “The Son,” about the death of Matt Saracen’s father, featured a powerhouse performance from Zach Gilford, one so powerful that a Facebook group was created to get Emmy voters to take notice of his work.

Though Gilford did not garner a nomination, Kyle Chandler and Britton finally nabbed two long-overdue nods for their performances as Coach and Tami Taylor, the heart and soul of “FNL.” 

Expect this season, the show’s fifth and final, to be even more emotionally charged than ever. The cast and crew’s method – the actors famously improvise in character as scenes are shot with multiple cameras simultaneously – has led to an intimate working relationship, and as former residents of Dillon return for their final farewells, including Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki), Jason Street (Scott Porter) and Lyla Garrity (Minka Kelly), there’s little doubt that those working relationships will be reflected on screen.

If you like intimate, emotionally affecting dramas, there’s no place more like home than Dillon, Texas.

"Modern Family"
Network: ABC

“Modern Family” came out of the gate swinging with a pilot episode that was damn near perfect – wonderfully casted, smartly scripted and flat-out hilarious from start to finish. 

The rest of the show’s inaugural season proved that executive producers Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd have plenty of stories to tell about the Pritchett family. It also proved that Levitan and Lloyd have a freakish ability to meld guest stars organically into episodes; a star-studded group of guests including Minnie Driver, Fred Willard and Kobe Bryant set a precedent that’s sure to continue in season two.

“Modern Family” also demonstrated that young actors and actresses can carry comedy plot lines with aplomb. Though their adult co-stars received the show’s Emmy nominations, Rico Rodriguez’s portrayal of Manny, an absurdly mature-for-his-age elementary school kid, was on the Emmy wish-lists of several critics.

Levitan and Lloyd have said they want to continue to do special holiday episodes, such as the first season’s stellar Christmas and Valentine’s Day episodes. They also promised to explain why gay couple Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) never kiss on-camera, a common complaint from some critics. Recently, Ferguson and Stonestreet all but confirmed during a Twitter exchange that that storyline – and an on-screen kiss – will happen.

Be sure to tune in to “Modern Family.” The Pritchett family will soon become your best friends.

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