1. 'Friday Night Lights'
Say it with us: "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose." This small-screen adaptation of Buzz Bissinger's non-fiction book about a small Texas town's fanatical devotion to its high-school football team is a show as beloved by the audiences who've slowly but surely found it as its lead character, Coach Eric Taylor, is by his players. In its clear-eyed, full-hearted way, Friday Night Lights argued that the stakes involved in the drama of high-school athletics — family, friendship, ethics, ambition, competition, cooperation, talent, employment, education, community — are the stuff not just of drama, but of life. That's why, even in this competitive class of shows about school, it's graduating with top honors.