If you've avoided Friday Night Lights because you're not a football fan and think there's too much pigskin on TV as it is, you're missing out on one of the best relationship dramas TV has to offer. Set in a Texas town that literally revolves around its high school football team, the two-year-old drama—which returns to NBC in January—is about more than the game. Loaded with compelling characters and complex emotional relationships, FNL has at its center the marriage of Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and his school guidance counselor wife Tami (Connie Britton), arguably the most realistic portrayal of a married couple on the small screen today.
They've had their share of crises at work at home, some involving their rebellious teenage daughter Julie (Aimee Teegarden). And they've been tested by long-distance separation and the appearance of her old flame, but adversity seems to make them stronger. "We have a solid foundation but we rock it, constantly. And I'm sure it will be rocked this season," says Britton. Sure enough, a workplace development will provide one complication: Tami will be promoted to principal at the high school, making her Eric's boss.
"You can imagine what that will do," she hints, remembering a situation in her own life. "I don't like to talk about personal stuff too much," says the single actress, 41, "but I've definitely had relationships where I've had a job and who I'm with is trying hard to find something. It's tough," she acknowledges. "A woman maybe having a more powerful role than her husband really plays on a man's sense of himself in our culture. So it will be really fun to play that."
Flaws and foibles will always crop up, Britton says. From the get-go, "We wanted to find the reality and the complexities. We did not want everybody to be perfect, or imperfect. We wanted to have all those nuances. That was a commitment that was made from the beginning."