Whenever I encourage someone to watch Friday Night Lights—which happens often, as I'm quite evangelistic about my TV shows—the response is always the same: "But that's a football show."

For most shows, I would leave it at that and move on. But Friday Night Lights, currently airing its fifth season on DirecTV on Wednesdays at 9/8c, with a run on NBC this spring, is not most shows. And while football is central to the residents of Dillon, Texas, anyone who has watched one episode can attest that their lives are about much more than football. At its core, this is a show about marriage and family and the everyday moments that make up a life.

The show revolves around Eric and Tami Taylor, the coach and guidance counselor at East Dillon High School in rural west Texas. In the season five premiere, the Taylors are practically the only remaining original cast members, and their marriage anchors the show. They impact the kids of East Dillon not just as coach and counselor but by example, their lives and love modeling what many of the teens don't have at home.

Slatecalls the Taylors' marriage "the defining achievement of FNL, quite possibly the greatest marriage in television history." New York magazine called the Taylors "the only living grown-ups on television: complicated, emotionally alive, intimate, and totally in love."

And I'll just come out and say it: I want to be Tami Taylor. Not until I started watching FNL did I realize the dearth of strong female role models on television. Like many women, Taylor wears many hats: wife, coach's wife, mother, counselor, sister, friend. But what's striking about Tami is that she often finds herself in situations where she does not know what to do, yet forges ahead and honestly addresses ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.