It’s been a good couple of months for Friday Night Lights fans, a small but mighty group dedicated to the Dillon Panthers, Tami Taylor’s luscious mane and Riggins’ pickup truck. First up, FNL won Vulture’s high school TV bracket, beating out contenders including Glee, Buffy, Beverly Hills, 90210, and My So Called Life (!) to win the title of The Greatest High-School Show of the Past 30 Years.
Soon after, Scott Porter, always in our hearts as Jason Street, took to social media to announce that he will play Coach Taylor in a one-night-only musical rendition of FNL at the Hollywood Bowl.
While the rumoured movie-based-on-the –TV-show-based-on-the-movie-based-on-the-book might never come to fruition, we will never quite give up hope on seeing the gang back together at Applebee’s. For now, here’s where you can find Coach, Ms. Taylor, Landry, Riggins and Vince. #texasforever
Michael B. Jordon/Vince: Vince was introduced into the FNL family later in the game, but he’s one of the characters that elevated the show from brilliant to “best ever” because he lived a life we don’t often associate with young superstar athletes: vulnerable, confusing and conflicted. We watched the star quarterback struggle with a neglectful father, a drug-addicted mother, and dire financial situations, all while desperately trying to live up to expectations on the field and secure a scholarship. Today, Michael is making huge waves in Hollywood and has diversified his IMDb page with projects that include indie (Fruitvale Station), comedic (That Awkward Moment), superhero (Fantastic Four), and with the surprise critical and commercial success of Creed, possibly a franchise.
Kyle Chandler/Coach Taylor: As the heart and soul of the Panthers organization and de facto father figure to many of the boys under his tutelage, Coach defied the machismo stereotypes around football, preferring meaningful glances to screaming matches. Since the show wrapped, he has been working steadily on a slew of prestigious projects, including playing an FBI agent in Wolf of Wall Street, a conflicted family man on Bloodline, and Cate Blanchett’s vindictive and suspicious husband in the Oscar-buzzy new film, Carol.
Connie Britton/Tami Taylor: Britton was on the cusp of Hollywood stardom for so long—she lost the lead in Jerry Maguire to Renee Zellwegger and was fantastic on the ’90s politi-com Spin City. She’s one of the few cast members from the FNL film to make it to the TV show and it’s easy to see why; her take on folksy feminism created a nuanced character that is equal parts supportive coach’s wife, mother, educator, counselor and ambitious career woman. Post-FNL, she starred in the insane first season of American Horror Story (remember Rubber Man?), and now headlines Nashville as country superstar Rayna James. Obviously, we aren’t the only ones who worship at the altar of Tami Taylor: Amy Schumer immortalized her wine-induced walking dance in the Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Don’t Rape parody.
Taylor Kitsch/Tim Riggins: Take one part ’90s Johnny Depp, ’80s River Phoenix, and a splash of Rob Lowe in Youngblood and you have sensitive bad boy Tim Riggins. But behind the romance is trouble—sometimes a lot of it; Riggins’ high school glory played out like a Bruce Springsteen song, and we know how those usually end (with a burned out 40-year-old in a divebar). IRL, Taylor Kitsch has made concerted effort to become a movie star, first with Savages (kind of a mess), to Battleship and John Carter (bomb, and bomb) and then, with greater success, Lone Survivor and HBO’s The Normal Heart. He also starred in the less stellar season two of True Detective, but we won’t hold that against him. OK, so he’s had a few stinkers, but, like Riggins, we can’t help but cheer for this Canadian heartthrob to make it onto the A list. He certainly has the hair for it.
Jesse Plemons/Landry: Whether he was riding the bench for the Panthers, playing in his rock band Crucifictorious, pining after Tara, or disarming his classmates with wit and charm, Landry was one of the wisest teen TV characters we’ve ever come across. Plemons continues to work on critically acclaimed shows, playing a smiley psychopath on Breaking Bad and a loyal husband (and murder accomplice) on season two of Fargo (which is getting serious love from social media and critics). He’s also in theatres right now in the Steven Spielberg Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies, and has a role in the upcoming Johnny Depp film, Black Mass. No word on a Crucifictorious tour.