friday night lights cast

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Amber Heard Is The Cutest Little Bean And Deserves Nothing But Love And Happiness

Taylor Kitsch and Minka Kelly Reflect on Where Their Friday Night Lights Characters Would Be Now

Friday Night Lights is one of those television shows that all kinds of people in your life—even the ones who don’t keep up with “cool” TV—seem to be obsessed with. Your parents, your grandparents, your cousin, your baby brother, your barista, your dentist, your dog—they all make the same gleeful expression when the show gets mentioned. “Oh my God, it’s a perfect show, I can barely even talk about it,” they’ll say. Or they’ll just squeal a character’s name (“Riggins!” “Landry!” “TAMI TAYLOR!”) and pass out on the spot. There is a fanaticism about the show that is rare even by Beloved Cult TV standards.

It’s been 10 years since the series premiered, in 2006, and select members from the cast—Minka Kelly (Lyla Garrity), Taylor Kitsch (Tim Riggins), Aimee Teegarden (Julie Taylor), and Zach Gilford (Matt Saracen)—convened in Chicago over the weekend to mark the occasion. They did not, sadly, all drive pickup trucks to some abandoned field, drinking beer cans and staring at the horizon, all the while appearing American Eagle–catalogue gorgeous. No, the group came together—in an effort facilitated by Marriott Rewards—to compete in a grueling Spartan Race, which required advance training involving spear-throwing, rope-climbing, monkey-bar-conquering, and other components.

Kitsch told me on the phone, about a week before the race, that he was looking forward to re-uniting with his castmates. “It feels forever ago [since the show started], no doubt,” he said. “I mean, I still live in Austin, and Chan still lives in Austin, and I still see him when we can make it work, but it definitely feels like a long time ago… . I haven’t seen Minka or Zach or Aimee for … five years, four years.” (Yes, this was disappointing for us to learn, as well, as we always imagined the Friday Night Lights cast had some super-active group text going for years, and gathered for a monthly margaritas-and-grilling party at Kyle Chandler’s house. Some solace: Kitsch apparently refers to Chandler as “Chan.”)

Kelly, on the other hand, whom I spoke to on the morning of the race, said it doesn’t feel to her that it’s been a decade since the show premiered (“The only real difference that I can feel is that Aimee Teegarden [who was 16 when the show started] is … a woman now! Looking at her, I’m like, ‘So grown up!’”). Kelly explained, “It’s not like we are texting each other all the time, but we certainly check in with each other every so often, and we’re like a little family. It’s not hard to hear about what’s going on with any of them.”

In this age of the revival—The X-Files, Full House, and Gilmore Girls have all recently seen their worlds revisited—Friday Night Lights would seem a slam-dunk campaign. But the duo—who both talk about the show in the reverent, joyous way that you or your friends might talk about your favorite teacher in high school—both said, to awkwardly slide a football metaphor in here, that they believe the clock has run out. “I’ll never play Riggins again,” Kitsch said, flatly. “I don’t know. I don’t see any reason to relive it; leave the memories where they’re at . . . they’re so great, you know?” Kelly has a similar perspective: “I think some things are better left [with people] wanting more.”

But just because they aren’t sure there should be more Friday Night Lights, it does not mean they have left their characters, spiritually, behind. I asked both where they think their characters would be now, five years since we left them, after the series finale in 2011. Kitsch did not hesitate: “Obviously, [Riggins would] have an ice-cold beer in his hand.” When pressed further about his character, who was last seen having acquired a new piece of property, Kitsch said, “I see him still in that property, you know? He’d probably have a little family going. He’s a simple [guy]. I think he’d have, hopefully, a simple life.” And would he be with Tyra, his character’s sometimes love interest (played by Adrianne Palicki)? “I think that would be pretty cool. It’d be hilarious to have little Riggins-and-Tyra kids. God, they would be great.”

Kelly said she hopes to find future roles that make clear she is not Lyla in real life: “I couldn’t be more different from Lyla… . I really look forward to opportunities of showing how different I am from her, how much stronger I am than her,” she said, citing Richard Linklater, Wes Anderson, and Reed Morano as directors she would love to work with. Kelly said that her Friday Night Lights character probably ended up staying in Nashville after attending Vanderbilt University, which is how we left Lyla. “Maybe she’s running Vanderbilt … ,” Kelly muses. When I ask if she thinks Riggins and Lyla—who dated Tim on and off—are over for good, she suggests that “maybe [Riggins] is with Tyra now.” But when I tell her that I always liked Riggins and Lyla as a pair, she reconsiders. “I think he’s probably the love of her life. I don’t know, maybe they do end up back together, maybe he gets his shit together, and they work things out… . And he runs the football division at Vanderbilt!”

ATX Festival 2016 lineup: ‘Friday Night Lights’ reunion, more | EW.com

Friday Night Lights

Forget the Super Bowl, this is the bigger news: Dillion is having a high-school reunion. The cast and crew of NBC’s Friday Night Lights are staging a big party this summer at the most appropriate location ever – a Texas football field.

The FNL reunion comes 10 years after the show’s NBC premiere (and five years after the acclaimed drama ended) and includes a “Panther Field” meetup with a pep rally, live music, tailgating activities, and photo ops. Participants will be announced at a later date.

The event is a centerpiece of the 2016 Austin-based ATX Television Festival, which just announced several more panels including a writers’ room reunion for The O.C. and panels and/or screenings for Hulu’s Casual, Lifetime’s UnReal, The CW’s Jane the Virgin, and TV Land’s Younger.  

ATX Fest takes place June 9–12 in Austin, Texas