50 best television shows set across the United States

44 of 52

Texas: Friday Night Lights

The premise: Friday Night Lights is about Dylan, Texas and their high school football team. Told from the point of view of the head coach, Eric Taylor, the show uses football as a way to get access to their lives and personality. Football is treated like a religion in this town, and can sometimes tip over into cult territory.

Eric treats the players like family and Tim Riggins, Jason Street, Matt Sarancen, and Smash Williams lean on him and his wife, Tami for support and guidance, which they don’t receive from their families and loved ones.

The setting: Dylan is meant to epitomize the attitudes Texas folks have about football, small towns, and the bonds created around the two. If you played a drinking game and took a drink anytime someone mentions the name of the town or the high school mascot, the Panthers, you’d get pretty drunk.

Their town is not just a geographic location, but an identity that informs everyone there. Either people are desperately trying to escape its cloistering effects, or they are proudly patriotic about living here.

The most Texas thing about it: Aside from the devotion to the University of Texas Longhorns, and constant references to barbecue and big trucks, the show has Texas in it’s DNA. Lead character and star fullback Tim Riggins constantly reminds us of this by repeating his mantra, “Texas forever.”