FTDM Department hosts “Friday Night Lights” viewing party and cast reunion

    334
    print

    “Friday Night Lights” cast members were not only excited to reunite with eachother Tuesday night, but also to speak to the crowd of fans in attendence.

    The Department of Film, Television and Digital Media hosted actors Derek PhillipsLiz Mikel and Brad Leland, as well as director and producer Michael Waxman for a viewing party and discussion.

    The show focused on the fictional football-centered town of Dillon, Texas. It ran for five seasons and ended in 2011. Yet, fans still clamored at the opportunity to discuss it many years after its finale.

    In the crowded Brown-Lupton University Union Auditorium, fans first were shown the pilot of the series.

    Leland, the actor who played football booster Buddy Garrity on the show, said he still tears up when watching the episode that started it all.

    “It was really hard, I had not watched that in a long time,” Leland said. “I cried because that’s how I felt from day one. Now its 10 years later.”

    The moderator, Dr. Colin Tait, then lead a discussion of the series with the cast. Tait, a FTDM professor, is teaching the class on the series that spurred the reunion. He shared the over-whelming response he got from those who worked on the series.

    “It still lives in their hearts,” Tait said, “and they’re more than happy to talk about it at any time.”

    Phillips played Billy Riggins, the brother of the star character Tim Riggins. Phillips is thankful for what the show did for his career.

    “Whatever career I have at this point,” said Phillips, “is 100 percent based off this show.”

    Leland reiterated his own thankfulness for the television show’s success.

    “Not one time from day one were we not grateful,” Leland said.

    Students were then given the opportunity to ask questions of the cast. Questions ranged from discussion on individual scenes to the camera work of the show.

    Many students enjoyed the television series because they said it somewhat resembled their own town’s love of high school football.

    Jordyn Wells, a junior fashion merchandising major, said the show allowed for her to reminisce on her own days back in highschool.

    “Everyone would go to the game,” Wells said. “The whole school got involved. The whole town got involved. It’s nice to reminisce on it, like my highschool experience basically.”

    Lauren Mittenthal, first-year nursing major, pointed out the life lessons beyond football that can be learned from the show.

    “I love Texas football and I love that there’s so much more to this show than just football,” Mittenthal said. “It shows family and relationships and a whole bunch of different things.”