So Austin Nichols segues from “John from Cincinnati” to “Friday Night Lights,” playing a teacher that is either well-meaning and stimulating or someone who is well-meaning but stimulated — by exactly the last student he should dare to get stimulated by, Eric and Tami’s daughter Julie (Aimee Teegarden).
“FNL,”certainly, isn’t shy about taking on melodrama and seeking out the high road within, but the show’s real strength is exploring the nuances of normal relationships, such as Eric and Tami’s marriage. How nice would it be if “FNL” devoted this new storyline to Julie finding herself as a person through a good and upstanding teacher — yes, they do exist — and a nascent interest in crusading journalism, rather than through another ill-fated infatuation that you can find anywhere else on TV.
It’s fine that Julie has a crush. It’s even fine that Nichols’ Noah has a crush (whether or not he realizes it). But maybe this time someone could hold back on their impulses. Maybe this crush doesn’t have to wipe away everything else. You can be hopelessly infatuated with the opposite sex and still have a life. Can’t you?
— Jon Weisman