Ken Tucker
October 02, 2008 AT 04:25 PM EDT

Friday Night Lights is back—for some viewers: Last night the show started a 13-episode run on DirectTV’s 101 Network. NBC says it will air these new-season episodes starting in January. So for those of you without DirectTV, I’ll just say right up top, here’s a great big SPOILER ALERT. Read more after the jump.

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So summer has passed in Dillon, Texas, and what was new last night?Well, in preparation for Gaius Charles’ (pictured) announced departure from theseries, his Smash was coping with the bad news that his injured kneewould probably never enable him to run as fast as he once did. ConnieBritton’s Tami has become the high school’s principal—that seems likean abrupt promotion, but I’m going with anything that keeps Tammycenter-screen and under pressure, since stress brings out the mostenergetic/anguished/sarcastic/inspiring sides of her character. And loand behold, the flesh has triumphed over the spirit, as last season’snewly prim Lyla (Minka Kelly) is now doing the deed with Tim (TaylorKitsch). Not sure how this squares with her religious beliefs as theywere dramatized last season, but it’s a heckuva lot of fun watchingthese two have their fling. Kitsch in particular continues to impress:This guy is, mark my words, a budding movie star once FNL throws its final touchdown.

Speaking of which, a mighty touchdown throw was tossed by a newcharacter—J.D. McCoy, a freshman brought in as rookie quarterback. J.D.himself didn’t have a single line last night that I heard, but hispushy dad—played by the always reliably smooth D. W. Moffett—made a bigimpression as a guy who’s going to be a real pain in the neck for ourlong-suffering Coach Taylor (all hail Kyle Chandler).

I’llkeep this short: We’re off to a great season, by which I mean mostmajor characters are unhappy (yet wry and funny), the series seems asgrungily authentic as ever, and while I don’t care for the new short,curly hairdo Tyra (Adrianne Palicki) is sporting, maybe I’ll get used toit.

What do you think about the show, if you watched? And if youdon’t have DirectTV, how do you feel about this cost-sharing agreementNBC struck with the company to keep this show on the air?

More on Friday Night Lights
The ‘Friday Night Lights’ season 2 finale recap
Friday Night Lights season 3 preview
Austin City Limits report: FNL’s Gaius Charles blogs about Erykah Badu
Austin City Limits report: FNL’s Connie Britton blogs about Beck, the Raconteurs, and chaos
Austin City Limits report: FNL’s Jesse Plemons blogs about the Black Keys
Austin City Limits report: FNL’s Adrianne Palicki blogs about Blues Traveler
Austin City Limits report: FNL’s Scott Porter blogs about N.E.R.D and the Swell Season

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