[UPDATE] Edited Collection – "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Friday Night Lights"

full name / name of organization: 
Jonathan Lupo / Colorado State University


Proposals are invited for an edited collection on the television series FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS with a deadline of June 15, 2009. The editor is interested in essays that discuss and analyze the program from multiple critical, cultural, theoretical, and industrial perspectives and fills particular gaps among already-submitted proposals.

One of the most critically-acclaimed series of recent years, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS has earned a passionate following despite its low ratings. Winner of the Peabody Award and based on a successful nonfiction book and hit movie, Friday Night Lights follows the citizens of a struggling Texas town as they pin their hopes on the high school football team. In addition to the pressures placed on the team and its coach, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS has tackled social issues such as drug abuse, physical disability, racism, infidelity, and mental illness. Shot on location in Austin, the show employs a verité visual style which features multiple-cameras and uses mostly available lighting; this verisimilitude is matched by the naturalistic dialogue and performances.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS also serves as an effective case study of the promotional and programming challenges of broadcast television in the post-network era. Notwithstanding its print and filmic forerunners and the near-universal critical acclaim of its first season, the show struggled to find a broad audience on NBC. Initially framed as a sports drama, the show pivoted toward a focus on relationships in a bid to appeal to a female audience, downplaying football. After a critically lukewarm and strike-shortened second season, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS was renewed in a unique deal with DirecTV in which the satellite provider received exclusive first-run episodes (to be shown months later on broadcast television). The first-year success of this unique arrangement has led to a two-year renewal under the same circumstances.

The volume has a set of proposals on disability, the sports genre, the Garrity and Taylor families, as well as formal and extra-textual issues and is seeking essays on the following issues in particular and others from multiple disciplinary approaches:

• Depiction of religion
• Small-town life
• Teenage sexuality
• Regionalism
• Marriage
• Homosociality
• Representations of race & ethnicity
• Use of music

These above topics may also be considered apart from but also in relation to such major characters as Matt Saracen, Smash Williams, and Tyra Collette. Furthermore, essays that consider FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS' second and third season are also encouraged.

Abstracts should be 350-500 words and include a short biography. Final essays will be 5,000-7,000 words. Please send proposal and bio by June 15 via Word attachment to Jonathan Lupo or through post.

Dr. Jonathan Lupo
213B Eddy Building
Department of Communication Studies
1783 Campus Delivery
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1783