Friday Night Lights is adapted from a book and film of the same name. The book by H.G. Bissinger chronicled the lives and times of a high school football team in West Texas as it pursued the state title - the TV show does largely the same and brilliantly at that.
The blend of complex characters in real-life small-town America with some great gridiron action made the first season of Friday Night Lights, in the opinion of this site, one of the greatest of any show in modern times.
Unfortunately, no one noticed. The show was (barely) renewed for a second campaign by NBC, but the writers' strike and an ill-conceived, soap opera-esque story line that came off like a ratings stunt hurt continuity and diminished the show's luster somewhat.
That said, Friday Night Lights' sophomore effort was still better than most shows ever get.
In order to save it from going off the air, NBC and DirecTV agreed on a unique arrangement for Season Three (Fall 2008). DirecTV will air all 13 episodes exclusively this fall. Then in January 2009, NBC will begin re-airing them. Sucks if you don't have DirecTV, but any Friday Night Lights is better than nothing.
The highly acclaimed but little-known cast includes Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Scott Porter, Minka Kelly, Taylor Kitsch, Adrianne Palicki and many others. The series is filmed on location in Austin, Texas.