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'Friday Night Lights' gently fades out in finale

Kyle Chandler on

Kyle Chandler on "Friday Night Lights." Chandler is nominated for his role as lead actor in a drama series. Credit: AP

Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) leads the East Dillon Lions to the state championship game, but cuts end the program; Tami Taylor (Connie Britton) gets an offer to become dean of admissions at an elite college in Philadelphia.

WHAT THIS ONE'S ABOUT: Julie Taylor (Aimee Teegarden) gets an offer, too; Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) has second thoughts about Alaska, with Tyra (Adrianne Palicki) back in the picture. Lions QB Vince (Michael B. Jordan) wants his dad at the big game, but . . .

MY SAY: How are classic series supposed to end? With a yelp or a whisper? Depends on the series, of course, but at its best, "Lights" always opted for the latter. Everyday life - in fictional Dillon, Texas, or anywhere - is full of drama but you don't have to shout that out to make it any truer than it is, and "FNL" doesn't.

Tonight's episode is a soft, gentle, sweetly sentimental slide into TV history, and history it indeed made. "FNL" was a show too good to die: NBC held on as long as it could before DirecTV finally picked up the ball.

The finale pretty much rewards everyone - fans, especially - who stuck by this series these five years. But best of all are the brilliant leads, Chandler and Britton, who gave "Lights" its fiber and soul. They especially deserved a proper burial, and get one.

BOTTOM LINE: "Friday Night Lights" ends with clear eyes and a full heart; everyone wins.

GRADE: A

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