‘Texas Forever!’ If you don’t know that saying, you’re missing out on one of the most beloved TV shows: Friday Night Lights. Fans (myself included) loved watching Coach Taylor, Tami, Saracen, Landry, Street, and bad boy Tim Riggins go through their daily struggles both on and off the field.
Even though FNL ended in 2011, fans can continue reliving the show by listening to The FNL Show. They recap each episode and light-heartedly discuss their favorite and not-so-favorite characters, story arcs, and themes. Recently, I had a chance to speak with The FNL show’s co-hosts Simran and Imogen about their fun podcast. Podcast episodes are available on iTunes, and you can follow them on Twitter .
What made you get into podcasting?
Simran: I feel like the main reason was because we were already fans of the medium, and it was more or less just finding what we wanted our podcast to be about. We both have a pretty heavy interest in TV and film, and it’s something we talk about a lot so I guess it was only fitting that that’s where the source for our podcast was drawn from. We also realised the more we thought about doing one the more technically accessible it was, you really just have a decent microphone and access to Garageband and you can pretty much get something tangible from that.
Imogen: I mean we honestly had no idea if the idea was insane or not, but it was something we both really wanted to try. We’d always talked about starting a podcast but felt like we didn’t have the credentials to do so. Then suddenly we were like, well who cares, let’s just give this a try – it will be fun, and who knows, maybe someone will actually listen.
Why Friday Night Lights?
Simran: Well, Imogen was already a huge fan of the series and had watched it multiple times, I on the other hand was first introduced to the namesake through the Peter Berg film, which I watched quite young and really just didn’t quite grasp the themes or gravity of the film. So when she said we should watch it I was pretty against the idea, but eventually gave in, and began to really like it. By the 6th episode, I think it was, she was pretty much like we should do a podcast and in that moment it didn’t seem like a ridiculous idea and there it began really.
Imogen: I cannot tell you how many times I begged Simran to watch FNL. Anyone who has tried to recommend a show to someone who refuses to watch it will understand my frustration, and will appreciate how hard it was to hold back an “I told you so,” when he finally came around to loving it (BUT I DID TELL YOU SO!). Like Simran said, a few episodes in we realised how much we had to say about each episode and the idea just fell into place. A few weeks later we were recording!
How frequently do you record your show or is it live?
Imogen: Because we’re quite a new podcast, we’ve been trying to record at least twice a week to get as many episodes out as quickly as we can. This way, listeners are able get a better idea of what the show is all about. From this week though we’ll be recording once a week.
What’s your favorite episode of FNL?
Simran: This is actually a really hard one…Ok, there are quite a few that rank up there for me but at this time there’s one that is popping into my head and this is somewhat of a spoiler, so you’ve been warned. I love the episode titled, “Underdogs” from Season 3, where the Dillon Panthers get to state for the second time in three years and lose…I don’t know why but the scene where Tim steps onto the field and leaves his cleats just stays with me so I’d say right now if I had to single a favourite out that would be it, although my opinion is always subject to change haha.
Imogen: This is so, so hard! I think the Pilot has got to be one of my favourites, which is such a feat because pilot’s are so rarely that successful. It just sets up the mood of the show so well, and gives you these characters who are so real, and in many ways already fleshed out, you just immediately understand and connect with them. Episodes “It’s different for girls” (season 1) and “I can’t” (season 4) both tackle female-centric story lines we see in teen-dramas all the time, but FNL always manages to do it a little differently, and in such raw ways that feels true to the show. I also think “The Son” in season 4, where Matt’s dad dies, is such a terrific episode and showcase for Zach Gilford.
Do you watch the episodes together before you record or separately?
Imogen: Originally when I showed Simran the series, we watched the entire thing through together, which was fun because it’s always entertaining to watch someone experiencing a show you love. Now we watch them separately, so when we come together for the podcast it’s the first time we’re hearing each other’s thoughts on the episode.
When do new episodes drop?
Simran: Like Imogen said earlier, the first few weeks of putting out episodes we just wanted to get as many as we could out. This was mainly because we wanted to get over the jitters of recording and we thought diving in would be a good way of doing that. We are now starting to feel a bit more relaxed when we record so we are aiming to have episodes out our Monday nights, which would be Americas Monday mornings.
Who are your favorite characters on FNL?
Imogen: The best thing about FNL is that all the characters are pretty great, even if it takes some of them a little longer to be fleshed out and become loveable. From the get go Coach and Tami are incredible, and act as the moral centre of the show. Matt is also such a sweet, amazing character. Tim Riggins is obviously a great bad boy, because he’s hilarious and charming (and of course has that heart of gold)…we end up spending a lot of time every episode talking about Riggins because it’s impossible not to! I also love Vince from the later seasons! It’s a shame he doesn’t get as much love as the characters from seasons 1-3 because he’s great, and managed to get the viewer invested despite the fact he gets thrown into an already-established series half way through.
Simran: Imogen makes a really good point in that you could have a place in your heart for nearly all the main characters. But If I had to choose one I would have to go with Matt Saracen. He is just amazing, he is a high schooler who is just taking on so much at his age and he never really goes off the edge. The character is so grounded and you just cannot help but pull for him in pretty much every situation you see him in. Also, Just piggy backing on Ima’s point about Vince, he really is a great character, and I would probably say that’s a major testament to the show and it’s writers, as well as Michael B. Jordan. You genuinely end up caring for him, and he doesn’t have the advantage of say Matt who had already had 3 seasons worth of familiarity with the audience.
You know there’s going to be a FNL reunion at ATX this summer? Will you be going?
Imogen: The ATX reunion was another reason we were so keen to start the podcast – we realised it was the 10 year anniversary of the show, and that there was a reunion coming up, and thought that it was a fitting time to be revisiting the series. We WISH we could be attending the reunion but living in Australia means this is sadly out of the question.
Simran: It’s funny that you mention this, ATX actually played a party in our deliberation of whether or not doing a podcast on Friday Night Lights was just a prisoner of the moment idea or whether it was legitimate. Sounds lame, but when Imogen told me about the reunion, I took it as a sign and off we went haha.
What is one thing on the show, that you wish had happened, but didn’t?
Imogen:This is a tricky one – mostly because I think this show is almost perfect. I guess season 2 is the season most people cite as having issues, and I wonder if they had been able to finish out the season properly (it was cut down to 13 episodes because of the writers strike) whether it would have redeemed itself and wrapped up nicely.
Simran: I actually have two things: I would have liked more of a follow-up on Smash after he finally gets to college. I think in the final season you catch a glimpse of him playing for Texas A&M but you never really hear about how he transfers or anything. Also, I would have liked more insight into how Vince handled Coach leaving at the end of season 5, as their relationship was so important in the later seasons.
Do you plan on doing interviews with anyone from the show?
Imogen: If they’d have us! I’d love to speak to anyone who was involved with the show – not just the actors, who I think are always the first people you think of, but all the behind-the-scenes staff who made it such an incredible series. I’ve read up a lot on the show, and there was just such a clear vision for the look and feel of the show, I’d love to learn more about how they actually created that reality.
Simran: Completely agree with Ima on this one. I would love to get more of an insight into the writing of certain characters throughout the show, we mention it a bit here and there on the pod but we really do appreciate how the writing of the show didn’t resort to cheapening any of the characters. I think a great example of this is how they characterise Tyra to begin with and then they eventually define her in a way we both felt was quite refreshing for a network TV show in 2006.
Who is your dream person to have on your podcast?
Simran: Ima is gonna give me a hard time on this, but I would love to have Bill Simmons. I’ve been a long time fan of his podcast and I know he’s a pretty big fan of FNL so I wouldn’t mind talking it over with him haha. Also I am a huge NBA fan and talking some hoops wouldn’t be too bad either.
Imogen: Oh lord… only Simran would pick Bill Simmons over someone actually linked to Friday Night Lights. Hmm, if Taylor Kitsch could come in character I’d love to interview Tim Riggins! It would also be amazing to pick the brains of the creator of FNL, Peter Berg, or really any of the producers or directors. But honestly, Michael B Jordan would be my dream choice – he’s such a great actor, and not only could he give us the scoop on FNL but I’d love to ask him all about his work in film post-FNL.
What advice would you give to new podcasters?
Simran: We are still quite new to podcasting, so I’m not sure I’m qualified to give advice yet (haha) but I feel like just going and doing it and getting over the notion that it’s crazy is the best advice I could give at this stage. You can find recording equipment at a fairly decent price, and there are heaps of tutorials on YouTube on how to edit. If you fail it’s no big deal because for someone who is new to podcasting the stakes aren’t really that high, it’s easy to just start it off as a bit of fun.
Imogen: This is super obvious, but definitely pick a subject that you’re genuinely interested in talking about episode after episode. I’ve always looked at it like, ok well even if no one listens, I have an excuse to talk purely FNL with Simran for a couple of hours every week, and that’s awesome.