5 reasons to start watching 'Friday Night Lights' right now

friday-night-lights-group-post.jpgLike a lot of good television, "Friday Night Lights" has scraped by on a modest, but passionate, audience since its 2006 debut. Considering how small viewership has been -- first on NBC and then on DirecTV -- it's actually something of a wonder that the series made it to its upcoming fifth and final season.

But it's a good thing it has, because its been one of TV's best offerings of the last decade. So while odds are you don't watch it, you've probably expressed an interest one time or another.

Well, you're in luck. "FNL" goes into syndication on ABC Family, airing weeknights at 6 p.m. ET, starting September 7. And if the convenience isn't enough to finally convince you to give it a try, here are few reasons why now's the perfect time to give in.

connie-briton-kyle-chandler.jpg 5. It's as good as everyone says
"FNL" portrays small-town triumphs and struggles in a way that makes it uniquely relatable to both people who grew up in towns like Dillon and those who consider rural Texas on par with another planet. Critics have long loved the show for its realism and stand-out performances, but it was just recently that "FNL" got major mainstream recognition. The Peabody-winning series finally nabbed major Emmy nominations for leads Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton -- who, as we'll further explain in a moment, were more or less robbed.

4. Yes, the football part too
Likely one of the bigger obstacles for potential fans, the sporting element of "FNL" is not as dominant as you might imagine. And whether you count yourself as a football fan or not, the series is so quick to make you invested in Coach Taylor and his players that the stakes of the games are instantly palpable. You'll be ordering your Dillon Panther spirit wear from CafePress before you know it.

minka-kelly-taylor-kitsch.jpg 3. Young hotties, fooling around
It may be the thinking man's high school melodrama, but it's still a high school melodrama. "FNL," especially the first two seasons, is loaded with really attractive actors ( Taylor Kitsch, Minka Kelly, Adrianne Palicki and Zach Gilford to name a few) indecisively hooking up with each other. And though it occasionally flirts with soap-like levels of romance, it's never cheesy.

2. A new set of parents
Mom and Dad, we love you, but pretty much every set of parents pales in comparison to the fictional wonder-duo of Eric (Chandler) and Tami (Britton) Taylor. Their support for frequently annoying daughter Julie ( Aimee Teegarden) combined with their healthy and adorable relationship make them the archetype for a married couple. It also helps that they're played by two of the best actors working on television today.

1. There's still time to catch up
"Friday Night Lights" isn't over yet. The final season starts its initial DirecTV run on October 27, but NBC won't air the final 13 episodes until sometime in 2011. So if you start watching the series now, you'll be able to finish out its run, in real-time, with everyone who's been watching since the start.

So what do you say -- clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose?

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Photo: NBC-Universal