Picks and Pans Review: Against the Grain
NBC (Fridays, 8 p.m. ET)
Convalescing from a bad car accident provides a middle-aged man (John Terry) with an opportunity to reassess his life. So he quits selling insurance and begins coaching the high school football team. No pressure. In this football-crazy small town in Texas, the local businessmen not only attend the games, they go to all the practices as well. Angry boosters plant the lawn of Terry's house with For Sale signs before the first game is ever played.
The problem, you see, is that Terry doesn't subscribe to the "winning is everything" credo. He wants to inculcate these kids with values in addition to blocking schemes. He regularly quizzes his thick-necked studs on what they learned in class that day.
This drama series has a fine cast—including Donna Bullock and Stephen Tobolowsky—and Terry himself gives a wonderfully winning performance. Though the show trades in sentimentality a little too much, its heart is in the right place. Not that it's going to matter: NBC has buried the series in its weakest slot, the scheduling equivalent of putting For Sale signs on its lawn.
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