By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Sep 20, 2007 at 5:26 AM

"Friday Night Lights" season one on DVD -- Why did I wait so long to check out this show? It's sadly too good for network television and if NBC killed something as amazing as "Studio 60," I can't see "Friday Night Lights" lasting long into its second season, which begins next month. Nonetheless, the first season of "FNL" is out on DVD. And, get this; it's free if you are not totally satisfied. Frankly, if you don't love this show, well, I hate to judge, but I'm not sure I can be your friend. "FNL" is great television. And the 22-episode DVD is more than worth the $20 that you'll shell out for it. Amazing acting, tight camera work, killer football scenes (I'll admit some are a bit over the top) and real story lines. All of these attributes and more make "FNL" a show to put on your TIVO must list. Props to ESPN's Bill Simmons for his plea to save this show. His "The Sports Guy" column in the most recent ESPN magazine was my personal "FNL" tipping point. -- Jeff Sherman

Riverside Park playground -- I've become a citywide playground aficionado the past few years, and Riverside Park is one of my -- and my sons' -- favorites. Located on Oakland Avenue, just south of Locust Street, this playground has great equipment, ranging from an old-school "merry-go-round" (many of these have been removed from playgrounds for safety reasons but they are dang fun) to a modern, massive "spider web" climber made from durable rope. The rest of the park features 12 acres of green space with a "dog park," tennis courts, softball field, running track and the stellar Urban Ecology Center. -- Molly Snyder Edler

Organic carrot juice from Metro Market -- I love carrot juice. The Boathouse Farms brand was always out of stock at my local market and making it at home wasn't an option because it's just too darn messy. (Not to mention that it takes a lot of raw carrots to produce a pint of the stuff). I was glad to see Metro Market offer it in the produce section. It's a bit more pulp-filled than the commercial brands, but still a healthful and tasty way to get about eight times the recommended daily allowance for vitamin A. It won't turn your skin orange (unless you drink A LOT). -- Drew Olson

Laptop Lunches -- I have fond memories of my grade school Peanuts' lunchbox that was filled with bologna sandwiches and Zingers. These days, however, I pack a healthier version of lunchbox cuisine for my boys, sometimes in Laptop Lunches. These are similar to enclosed bento boxes, with little plastic containers inside a larger one, which makes bringing leftovers a snap. Plus, they're reusable, so you don't need to buy/waste another baggie. -- M.E.

Monkey Brains oatmeal -- I'm a sucker for cool packaging, and Monkey Brains has it. Vibrant cools, fun graphics and the right lingo. And, the stuff tastes great. It's oatmeal, by the way and it's organic and prebiotic (meaning it might help the intestines) with no artificial flavors or colors. Available in strawberry, blueberry and raspberry and at Whole Foods and probably other retailers, too. -- J.S.

 The Samples -- In this era of studio chicanery, when it's hard to tell what's real and what is "Milli Vanilli," it's important to appreciate good musicianship. The Samples, who hail from Boulder, Colo., have been delivering the goods for almost 20 years. Often described as a cross between The Police and the Grateful Dead, this is one of those bands that puts out good records but still comes across much better in a live setting. They play Monday, Sept. 29 at Shank Hall. -- D.O.

"Tall Boys" at The Pabst Theater -- I check out concerts at The Pabst Theater a lot these days. While there, I always treat myself to a cold, 16-oz. can of Pabst, lovingly referred to as a "tall boy." At only $3, tall boys allow this medium-height girl to buy a couple, tip her bartender well and enjoy the music that much more. -- M.E.

"The Monk and Riddle" -- It's a bit outdated, but Randy Komisar's novel is a great read. Not only does it help solidify the impact that passion and purpose (two of reasons, if you were wondering, why OMC has become the amazing company it is today) have on our lives, but it's a decent outline for both new and time-tested entrepreneurs. -- J.S.

"The Dick Van Dyke Show" -- Saw an episode of this classic while channel surfing the other night and was struck by how funny  it is, even 40 years later. Of course, some things look dated. (Rob and Laura slept in separate beds!), but the plot lines delved into heavy topics like race, religion, infidelity, psychiatry, relations with neighbors, office dynamics and even a child's use of profanity. Produced by Carl Reiner in the wake of his experiences writing for Sid Caeser's "Show of Shows,"  this series blazed several trails for future sitcoms. Rob Petrie's trip over the ottoman set the stage for John Ritter's physical comedy in "Three's Company" and Michael Richards' gyrations as Kramer on "Seinfeld." The show-within-a-show dynamic was explored with varying degrees of success by "30 Rock," "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" and HBO's brilliant "The Larry Sanders Show." Some of the jokes may seem a tad corny, but "The Dick Van Dyke Show" is better than most of what is being served by the networks today. And, it had a classic theme song, too. -- D.O.