Actors Kyle Chandler (L) and Connie Britton from NBC's drama series Friday Night Lights (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

After being noticeably absent at the Emmys for the last four years, critic favorite Friday Night Lights was finally recognized with an Emmy nod for Outstanding Drama Series in its fifth and final season.  The series lovable leads Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler were also recognized for Lead Actress and Lead Actor in a Drama.

Critics have often placed Friday Night Lights at or near the top of their lists, but the series about a High School football team in the fictional town of Dillon, Texas never quite made the list as each year's Emmy nods were announced.

The NBC show barely even made it to season five, as it was never a ratings hit.  Friday Night Lights was saved from near certain cancellation back in 2008 when NBC and DirecTV struck a deal: episodes would air first on DirecTV and months later on NBC.  This deal thrilled the core group of dedicated fans that fought to save the show.

Shot on location around Austin, Texas, and in a collaborative and improvisational style, FNL will be remembered for its naturalism.  Though much of the cast came and went throughout the show's five year run as characters graduated from high school and moved on, FNL's impeccable writing team kept the show fresh with incredibly honest vignettes of life in small town America.

NBC will air the series finale of Friday Night Lights this Friday, July 15.

While the show has been nominated for other Emmys over the years (Outstanding Casting, Outstanding Writing), this is the first year that FNL is up for Outstanding Drama.  Joining them on the list is AMC's Mad Men, HBO's Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire, Showtime's Dexter, and CBS' The Good Wife.

[MUST READ] Emmy Nominations 2011, Complete List Announced, HBO Reigns

Below is the full list of Emmy Nominations for 2011.

Outstanding Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire
Friday Night Lights
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
Mad Men

Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
The Office
Parks & Recreation
30 Rock

Lead Actor, Drama
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
John Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House
Timothy Olyphant, Justified

Lead Actress, Drama
Kathy Bates, Harry's Law
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
Mireille Enos, The Killing
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Julianna Marguiles, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Supporting Actress, Drama
Kelly McDonald, Boardwalk Empire
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Michelle Forbes, The Killing
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Margo Martindale, Justified
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife

Supporting Actor, Drama
John Slattery, Mad Men
Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age
Walton Goggins, Justified
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife

Lead Actress, Comedy
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Laura Linney, The Big C
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation

Lead Actor, Comedy
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Louis CK, Louie
Steve Carell, The Office
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Supporting Actress, Comedy
Jane Lynch, Glee
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

Supporting Actor, Comedy
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Chris Colfer, Glee
Everyone with a Penis, Modern Family

Oustanding Reality Competition Program
So You Think You Can Dance
The Amazing Race
Project Runway
American Idol
Dancing With the Stars
Top Chef

Host for a Reality or Reality Competition Program
Jeff Probst, Survivor
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol

Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
The Colbert Report
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Saturday Night Live
Real Time with Bill Maher
The Daily Show

Outstanding Mini-series or Movie
Mildred Pierce
Downton Abbey
The Kennedys
Cinema Verite
Too Big to Fail
The Pillars of the Earth

Lead Actress, Mini-series or Movie
Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce
Elizabeth McGovern, Downton Abbey
Diane Lane, Cinema Verite
Taraji P. Henson, Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story
Jean Marsh, Upstairs Downstairs

Lead Actor, Mini-series or Movie
Greg Kinnear, The Kennedys
Barry Pepper, The Kennedys
Edgar Ramirez, Carlos
William Hurt, Too Big To Fail
Idris Elba, Luther
Laurence Fishburne, Thurgood

Supporting Actor, Mini-series or Movie
Guy Pearce, Mildred Pierce
Bryan F. O'Byrne, Mildred Pierce
Tom Wilkinson, The Kennedys
Paul Giamatti, Too Big to Fail
James Woods, Too Big to Fail

Supporting Actress, Mini-series or Movie
Evan Rachel Wood, Mildred Pierce
Melissa Leo, Mildred Pierce
Mare Winningham, Mildred Pierce
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Eileen Atkins, Upstairs Downstairs