The Tragic TV Show's Second Life at the Movies

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Another television show that was cancelled after it couldn't find an audience despite a loyal cult following and massive critical acclaim is headed for the big screen. A movie for NBC series Friday Night Lights is being written, TV Line's Michael Ausiellio and Vlanda Gelman report. Executive Producer Peter Berg confirmed he is working on a script for a movie based on the life of Coach Eric Taylor and his wife, Tami, after they've moved on from Dillon, Texas. Berg said he and fellow FNL producer Jason Katims are "very serious" about doing the movie. "We intend to do it," he told reporters at a Television Critics Association press tour for a new show.

Friday Night Lights aired its final episode on NBC in July. Critics wrote eulogies for a show that struggled to find an audience in desperate, last minute attempts to drum up fandom. The New York Observer's Foster Kamer compiled a reading list so fans could enjoy some of the best writing about the show before saying their final goodbye. He described the show's struggle to gain an appropriate footing:

The show has endured despite impressively low ratings due in no small part to obsessive (and media-driven) fandom. There’s a certain irony in this: a show ostensibly about high school football in Texas—flyover country doing flyover country things—ended up capturing the hearts and minds of coastal elites (and landlocked coastal elites). And nobody else.

An Arrested Development movie has been in development for some time now. The show ended in 2006 under very similar circumstances: a passionate core following, a critical darling, but it suffered from low ratings. Rumors of a movie began almost immediately. The plot was deemed "incredible" by star Jason Bateman in March. The script still wasn't finished, though, and was "half done" in November. Will Arnett confirmed in a podcast recently the movie was going to get made, but didn't say if a script was finished. The IMDB page says the movie is coming out in 2012. 

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Berg's hope for a Friday Night Lights movie, "would be to focus the film around Kyle and Connie and bring [in] some new characters and then bring in some of our familiar faces. We have, I think, a really fresh, very original take on it. We’re very serious about wanting to do it… If all goes well, we would shoot it next year at some point.” The show was able to extend its life two seasons longer than Arrested Development thanks to a deal NBC made with DirecTV. 

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