Varsity Blues: The Series

Following my surprise birthday party last Saturday evening, I was taken to a late dinner by my college friends, Mark, Andy, and Brandon. Along with Brandon’s wife, Kara, we drove down the road to one of my favorite places to eat, Macado’s.

Somewhere in the midst of catching up on each other’s lives and discussing the rising pandemic panic, we began talking about the classic football movie, Varsity Blues.

If you were nearing adulthood in the late ’90s and early 2000s, you’re probably familiar with this MTV produced classic. If not, here’s a brief summary that really doesn’t do it justice. In the small town of West Canaan, Texas, football is life. Because that’s how it is in every sports movie and TV show that takes place in Texas, am I right?

Anyway, James Vanderbeek is Jonny Moxon, the main character we follow throughout the movie. He’s the second string quarterback who always rides the bench. He’s not needed. Because the star of the team is quarterback Lance Harbor (Paul Walker). They play ball for legendary Coach Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight), who is kind of high school football’s answer to Cobra Kai sensei John Kreese. He’s not a good guy.

As high school movies go, hijinks ensue, and the rebellious Mox becomes the reluctant star of the West Canaan Coyotes. He leads a motley crew of characters to mutiny against Kilmer and go on to win the big game against all odds. Although, come on, if you went into this movie questioning if this team wasn’t going to win in the end, you obviously haven’t seen a sports movie in your life.

And before you take to the comments to yell at me, yes, I’m aware that there are some sports movies where the protagonist doesn’t win.

Back to Saturday night’s conversation… Generally, when we get together, there are certain movies that end up being quoted and Varsity Blues is one of them. Somehow, this led to the question, has anyone thought about rebooting this into a series?

Of course, when it comes to the hopes of a television series reboot of some previously popular intellectual property, I’ve typically reserved my creative juices for Quantum Leap and the hopes that someone will eventually put that one back out there. But I’ll admit, it was fun speculating about where the characters of Varsity Blues would be 20 years later.

I really should have written this post earlier this week while all the ideas were still fresh after our long conversation about the potential series.

I do know that the show we discussed would center around not only the original characters and where they were in life these days, but also around the exploits of West Canaan’s pee-wee football team. I think we said that Billy Bob would be the team’s coach. Tweeder would have grown up to be the town sheriff. Darcy, who was once a cheerleader and Lance’s girlfriend, would have grown up to be a gold digger who married a much older oil tycoon.

Curse my aging memory! I really can’t remember much more about all that we discussed. I do know we decided we’d get the Paul Walker mention out of the way early, claiming he’d hit the big time, coaching college football. We also decided we’d bring back Kilmer at the end of the first season. He’s coaching the pee-wee team that the Lil’ Coyotes would be playing in the final game of the year. This would take a big psychological toll on Billy Bob and all the other guys whose kids play on the team.

Guys, if you’re reading this, let me know what I’ve missed from our conversation. I’m sure I’m missing a lot. Because we basically wrote the entire first season over dinner last week.

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