'Friday Night Lights': All roads lead to Dillon
And if not, the idea of having to abandon the city and return home elicits decidedly mixed emotions. But in today's economy, with many of America's urban centers facing high unemployment, high taxes and a high cost of living, the prospect of going home may seem a lot more attractive.
Many never left, and for some of those who did, nothing feels better than being back home. "That level of community and family really resonated with audiences," says star
"There's a pure sense of community that people respond to and maybe even aspire to."
As the season opens, the community of Dillon is still split between east and west. High-school football Coach Eric Taylor (
His wife, Tami Taylor (Britton), is struggling as guidance counselor to the tough East Dillon kids, and their daughter, Julie (
While the show is superficially about football, executive producer Jason Katims has always believed it's about a great deal more.
"In a way," he says, "the whole idea of football, and the obsession with high-school football, the beauty of that is that was a way for this town to come together. That's really what it was all about.
"It was something that they shared, and the strength of being part of a community is irreplaceable. That's another reason why it's maybe not the best thing to grow up and move away."
One thing that helped to make Dillon real for fans of the show was the way it was filmed in Austin.
"We shot the show on all practical locations," Katims says. "We never built a set."
Using real houses and businesses also helped the writers to get to know the characters better.
"That allowed us to do things that I didn't even anticipate from a storytelling point of view," Katims says. "It allowed us to do things that I never even thought of.
"For example, we were able to go into every character's home that we wanted to. It wasn't like you had to build the set for that home, and it cost you a lot of money. You weren't building anything anyway.
"So we were really able to go in and get to know, in a deep way, the families and the lives of these characters in a way that, in other shows, would be impossible to do for as many characters."
"Austin became a home to us," Britton says, "and more than that, it became a backdrop for this town we love. Those of us who are die-hards, we just go back to Austin and pretend that we're living in Dillon."
"It was really hard to say goodbye to the show," Katims says. "I know that, when we were editing the last episode of the show, I was sitting in the editing room, and there were movers literally carrying the furniture out of the editing room.
"It was definitely not an easy show to say goodbye to."
Somewhere, perhaps in another dimension, there will always be a Dillon.
"Life goes on in Dillon," Britton says. "That's the beauty of it. We felt so fortunate having five years of the show, we were so grateful for that, but at the same time, it really felt like something that could last forever, because that's the beauty of the place."