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Five reasons to watch ''Friday Night Lights''

The football drama’s first season hits DVD with high-school studs and inspired plot twists

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Kyle Chandler

The actor picks projects (Early Edition, Homefront) that give critics goose bumps but don’t get much ratings love. FNL is no different. As coach of the Dillon, Tex., Panthers, Chandler does some of his richest work as an embattled leader scrambling to hold his team — and family — together through fumbles both on and off the field.

Connie Britton

Wait till the end of the set — let’s say episodes 17 to 19 — before you dismiss Britton’s Tami Taylor as a yummy mummy. Sure, coach’s wife is hot, but she’s also a study in exquisitely contained cyclones of emotion, especially as daughter Julie (Aimee Teegarden) navigates the deep waters of teenage sexuality. Powerful stuff.

Football!

…And yet not. If you’re into the pigskin, there’s plenty of action — games, practices, the entire town’s feverish obsession with what happens on the 50-yard line. But fear not, footballphobes! Athletics never interfere with masterful storytelling and the finest acting you’ll see on network TV. Know what they call that? A win/win.

Hot Guys Who Only Look Like Jailbait

Move past your inappropriate Harry Potter lust with the FNL footballers. Zach Gilford (Matt Saracen), Scott Porter (Jason Street), and Taylor Kitsch (dirty-hot Tim Riggins) are all worth a look-see, and all well into adulthood. Which makes Riggins’ affair with his older neighbor even more watchable.

You’re Smarter Than Emmy Voters

They continually snub The Wire and Battlestar Galactica, so it’s no surprise that Emmy all but ignored this gem. And with episodes like the one in which an assistant coach makes a racial gaffe that leads to plot turns as inspired as they are honest…well, they oughta be ashamed.