The 'Friday Night Lights' Cast Came Back in a Big Way in 2013
Many people will say that 2013 was the year of Miley Cyrus, or the year of Breaking Bad, or the year of North West, the only baby who could manage to outshine the future King of England. All of these things may be true, but we prefer to think of 2013 as "The Year The Friday Night Lights Cast Finally Made it Big."
Over the course of the last 12 months, seemingly every alum from the beloved NBC drama made waves, whether it was garnering Oscar talk for a breakthrough role, playing a Neo-Nazi on a hit TV show, or earning a fourth consecutive Emmy nomination while continuing to be the most perfect human being on the planet. Sure, there were some missteps — sorry, Taylor Kitsch and Adrienne Palicki, try again in 2014 — but overall, the cast of Friday Night Lights did amazingly well career-wise this year.
We're thrilled, of course, because if anyone deserves success, it's the alums from FNL, who spent years giving their all to a fantastic but criminally underrated TV show. Now that 2013 is at its end, let's take a look back at all that the residents of Dillon, Texas accomplished over this last year.
Kyle Chandler (Coach Taylor)
January: Chandler began the year playing a C.I.A. chief in Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow's Oscar-nominated film. A few weeks later, he appeared in a supporting role in the Mark Wahlberg-Russell Crowe drama Broken City.
February: It was announced that Chandler would take on his first post- FNL TV series with The Vatican , a Showtime drama about the Catholic Church.
August: Chandler had a small but significant turn as a deadbeat dad in The Spectacular Now, an indie drama that earned raves for its ensemble cast.
December: On Christmas Day, we'll get to see Chandler as an F.B.I. agent in The Wolf of Wall Street , Martin Scorcese's surefire Oscar nominee.
Consensus: All of Chandler's 2013 roles were supporting, but thanks to acclaimed turns in The Spectacular Now and the high expectations for The Vatican, Coach Taylor's career has never been better.
Connie Britton (Tami Taylor)
January-present: Britton stars as country superstar Rayna Jaymes on ABC's Nashville, which began its second season in September. The recent ratings for the series haven't been great, but it's found a cult-like fan base that's sure to keep it alive for at least a few more years.
May: Filming began on This is Where I Leave You, an ensemble dramedy starring Britton, Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, and more. The movie, directed by Shawn Levy and based on Jonathan Tropper's bestselling novel, is set to be released next year.
July: Britton co-starred in The To-Do List, Maggie Carey's smart, funny film about a high school valedictorian (Aubrey Plaza) set on gaining sexual experience before college. She also appeared in an episode of Drunk History as Patricia Shaheen, the wife of Boston arsonist Johnny Cool (Nick Offerman). On the 18th, Britton received her second Emmy nomination (and fourth overall) for Nashville.
November: Alongside Harry Connick, Jr., Britton starred in Angels Sing, a Christmas family drama based on a novel by Turk Pipkin.
Consensus: A hell of a year for Britton, who has solidified herself as one of the most talented and in-demand actresses working today.
Aimee Teegarden (Julie Taylor)
February: It was announced that Teegarden would play the lead in Oxygen, a CW series about the romance between a human girl (Teegarden) and an alien boy (Matt Lanter). The show, later re-titled Star-Crossed, is set to premiere in early 2014.
March: Teegarden starred in Love and Honor, a little-seen drama about the life of a soldier (Liam Hemsworth) during the Vietnam War.
April: Alongside an all-star cast that includes Jennifer Hudson, Melissa Leo, and Octavia Spencer, Teegarden had a minor role in the Lifetime movie Call Me Crazy: A Five Film.
June: Teegarden starred in the music video for Demi Lovato's song "Made in the USA," which has been viewed over 36 million times.
October-present: Teegarden co-stars with Jackson Rathbone in Aim High, a web series now in its second season.
Consensus: A decent year, but one that will most certainly be topped if Star-Crossed premieres to good reviews in 2014.
Zach Gilford (Matt Saracen)
January: Gilford's critically panned FOX medical drama, The Mob Doctor, got cancelled after just one season. He also appeared in The Last Stand, a surprisingly decent Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie.
March: The actor began filming Devil's Due, a horror movie set for a January 2014 release.
July: Gilford had a supporting role in the little-seen Crazy Kind of Love, which garnered negative reviews and flew under the radar.
Consensus: Could be worse, but definitely could be better. At least Gilford can celebrate his anniversary to his wife, Kiele Sanchez, in December, one year after they had the most perfect wedding ever (Landry was there!)
Taylor Kitsch (Tim Riggins)
June: Kitsch began filming The Normal Heart, Ryan Murphy's highly anticipated drama about the AIDS crisis, set for a 2014 release.
September: The Grand Seduction , a Canadian comedy starring Kitsch, and Brendan Gleeson, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival to positive reviews.
December: Peter Berg's action drama Lone Survivor, starring Kitsch, Mark Wahlberg and Eric Bana as Navy SEALs, will premiere in limited release on Dec. 27 and have a wide release in January.
Consensus: Seeing as both The Grand Seduction and Lone Survivor were filmed a year earlier, 2013 was relatively slow for Kitsch, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. After the mess that was 2012 (John Carter, Battleship), Kitsch needed a break from Hollywood blockbusters, and 2014 should see him returning to the spotlight — this time, as a star, not a scapegoat.
Jesse Plemons (Landry Clarke)
July: Plemons signed on to an as-yet-untitled Lance Armstrong biopic, in which he'll play an unknown but apparently pivotal supporting role.
August-September: Plemons, in his most significant role yet, starred as a murderous meth cook on AMC's beloved Breaking Bad. As Todd, one of the series' most hated characters, Plemons gained huge visibility and critical praise. In August, he also signed on to play a supporting role in an upcoming HBO miniseries, Olive Kitteridge.
Consensus: An amazing year for Plemons, who'd already made critical impact in 2012 with an acclaimed supporting role in The Master. We can't imagine anything will top working on Breaking Bad, but a lead role in a 2014 HBO drama, The Missionary, may just come close.
Adrianne Palicki (Tyra Collette)
March: Palicki co-starred alongside Dwayne Johnson and Channing Tatum in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the critically maligned but financially successful follow-up to 2009's G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra.
April: The actress began shooting Dr. Cabbie, a Canadian comedy. No word on its expected release.
July: Palicki has a supporting role in Coffee Town, the first feature film made by CollegeHumor.
Consensus: Another quiet year for Palicki, who's struggled to find success since Friday Night Lights. Hopefully 2014, with a main role in John Wick , a star-studded thriller, will be different.
Minka Kelly (Lyla Garrity)
March: Kelly began filming The World May Straight, a drama co-starring Haley Joel Osment, set for a 2014 release.
May: The actress was cast in Full Circle, an upcoming ensemble TV show for DirecTV.
August: Kelly played Jackie Kennedy in Lee Daniels' The Butler, which quickly became a critical and financial success.
November: Almost Human, a J.B. Abrams-produced sci-fi drama series featuring Kelly in a supporting role, premiered on Fox.
Consensus: A solid but not spectacular year for Kelly. If Almost Human does well, though, things could change for the better come 2014.
Scott Porter (Jason Street)
January-present: Porter stars on The CW's medical dramedy Hart of Dixie, which began its third season in September.
July: Porter appeared alongside fellow FNL alum Connie Britton in The To-Do List.
Consensus: While the ratings-challenged Hart of Dixie is unlikely to survive much longer, it's provided solid work for Porter. Plus, The To-Do List showed off his rarely-seen comedic talents — here's hoping he continues to take on more unexpected roles like that in the coming years.
Gaius Charles (Smash Williams)
January-present: Since 2012, Charles has starred on the longtime ABC hit Grey's Anatomy as Dr. Shane Ross, a surgical intern. Grey's is currently in its 10th season, and is expected to go on for at least one more year.
Consensus: A stint on Grey's is one of the best jobs a television actor can get, thanks to the show's passionate fan base and consistently high ratings. For as long as the series goes on (and assuming his character stays alive), Charles' career will thrive.
Brad Leland (Buddy Garrity)
February: Leland appeared in Mobius, a Russian-French film starring Jean Dujardin. He also has a small role in Flutter, an indie movie that premiered in Austin.
May: NBC passed on The Sixth Gun, a TV adaptation of a supernatural comic that would've featured Leland in a supporting role.
June: Leland co-starred in an episode of Veep, marking his second time on the show in as many years.
September: The Bystander Theory, a little-seen drama about a family's link to the Kennedy assassination, was released. Leland had the lead role. Also in that month, HBO's The Leftovers, a drama series featuring Leland in a minor role, was picked up for a full season. It will premiere in 2014.
Consensus: Not a great year for Leland, but still, it's something. The man behind Buddy Garrity is a talented actor, but hard to cast.
Matt Lauria (Luke Cafferty)
January-Present: Lauria currently stars as Ryan York, an Army vet engaged to Amber Braverman (Mae Whitman) on NBC's Parenthood. The "Ryber" storyline is widely considered a fan favorite.
Consensus: While Parenthood has never been a ratings powerhouse, it's received consistent critical praise. Lauria, a late-season Friday Night Lights alum, has gained increased visibility from being on the show, and it can be assumed that as long as the series is on air, he can count on a job.
Madison Burge (Becky Sproles)
February: Burge joined the cast of Star-Crossed, which will reunite her with fellow Friday Night Lights Aimee Teegarden.
July-September: Burge had a recurring role on the final season of Showtime's Dexter, as the daughter of Vince Masuka (C. S. Lee).
August: It was announced that Burge, along with Christina Hendricks, Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz and Nicholas Hoult, will star in Dark Places , the film adaptation of Gillian Flynn's bestselling novel.
October: The actress starred in the little-seen family film My Dog the Champion.
Consensus: A pretty good year for Burge, thanks to the role on Dexter and the promise of 2014's Dark Places, along with Terrence Malick's newest movie, in which she's said to have a supporting role.
Michael B. Jordan (Vince Howard)
January: Filming continued for That Awkward Moment , a 2014 comedy starring Jordan, Miles Teller, and Zac Efron.
April: Jordan joins the cast of Pretenders, the newest movie from The Fault in Our Stars' director Josh Boone.
May: Rumors began to circulate that Jordan will star as The Human Torch in a Fantastic Four re-boot.
July: Jordan starred in Fruitvale Station, a critically acclaimed indie that propelled him to instant stardom. Just a few weeks later, it's announced that Jordan will re-team with Fruitvale director Ryan Coogler for Creed , a Rocky spin-off that'll feature the actor as Apollo Creed's grandson.
Consensus: Without a doubt, Jordan is the FNL alum with the most successful 2013. Fruitvale earned him enormous praise, including talk of an Oscar nomination, and his slate of barrier-breaking upcoming roles could put him on the Hollywood A-list before long.
Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Jess Merriweather)
January: Smollett-Bell had a role on the ill-fated The Mob Doctor until its cancellation.
January-February: She appeared in two episodes of Do No Harm, a quickly-cancelled NBC drama.
March: The actress starred in Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor, Tyler Perry's highest-grossing drama ever.
June-August: Smollett-Bell had a recurring role on True Blood, playing Nicole, the co-founder of the Vampire Unity Society.
September-Present: She currently stars on the fifth season of Parenthood as Heather, campaign manager to Kristina (Monica Potter).
Consensus: This year was good to Smollett-Bell, whose hit movie and string of TV arcs kept her in the spotlight.
Derek Phillips (Billy Riggins)
March: Phillips starred in The Jogger, a Kickstarter-backed indie thriller.
April: Phillips had a small role in 42 , the high-grossing Jackie Robinson biopic.
July: The actor appeared in an episode of A&E's Longmire.
Consensus: Not too good. Tim Riggins' older brother didn't fare well this year.
Stacey Oristano (Mindy Collette)
January-February: Oristano starred in Bunheads, the now-canceled ABC Family dramedy.
July: With a minor role in Crazy Kind of Love, Oristano reunited with FNL co-star Zach Gilford.
August: Oristano appeared in two episodes of the web series My Synthesized Life.
Consensus: All good until Bunheads got canceled in July. Perhaps 2014 will be better to our favorite TV stripper.
Louanne Stephens (Gramma Saracen)
June-August: Stephens starred in Longmire, where she re-connected with Friday Night Lights' co-star Derek Phillips.
Consensus: Stephens found steady work on Longmire, which, luckily for her, was recently renewed for a third season.
Lamarcus Tinker (Dallas Tinker)
May: Tinker appeared in an episode of Arrested Development on Netflix.
Consensus: A disappointing year for Tinker, especially considering his great 2012; last year, he had recurring roles on Glee and Cougar Town.
Kevin Rankin (Herk)
April: Rankin began filming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, set for a July 2014 release.
June: In the summer blockbuster White House Down, Rankin had a small role as a mercenary.
July: Rankin starred in Pawn Shop Chronicles, a crime comedy also featuring Paul Walker, Matt Dillon, and Brendan Fraser.
August-September: On Breaking Bad, Rankin played the second-in-command to Neo-Nazi Jack (Michael Bowen).
October: Production began on Wild , the film adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's bestselling memoir. Rankin has a crucial role as a Paul, a hiker Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) meets on her journey.
November: The actor co-starred alongside Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto in the acclaimed Dallas Buyers Club.
Consensus: 2013 treated Rankin very, very well. With the releases of Wild and Dawn, his 2014 should be even better.
Jeremy Sumpter (J.D. McCoy)
January: Sumpter finished production on The Culling, an indie horror film currently without a release date.
March: He was cast as the lead in Significance , a 2014 movie based off Shelley Crane's fantasy novel.
July: The actor was cast in Animal, a Drew Barrymore-produced TV horror movie set for a 2014 On-Demand release.
September: Sumpter's horror film Into the Storm received an August 2014 release date.
October: Sumpter began filming The Squeeze, an indie comedy directed by Emmy-nominated producer Terry Jastrow.
Consensus: No major projects, but hopefully all those indie films will lead to higher-profile future roles.
D.W. Moffett (Joe McCoy)
January-February: Moffett had a main role on Fran Dreschler's Happily Divorced, a sitcom that was canceled in August after two seasons.
January-August: The actor stars on Switched at Birth, an ABC Family drama that was just renewed for a third season, premiering in January.
May: The actor appeared in a May episode of Criminal Minds.
Consensus: Thanks to the fan-loved Switched at Birth, Moffett had a solid 2013, and the good fortune should continue for at least as long as the show's duration.
Emily Rios (Epyck)
January: Rios reprised her role as Angela in the series finale of Private Practice.
July-October: The actress had a recurring role on The Bridge, a new FX drama that premiered to critical acclaim.
August-September: Rios starred as Andrea, the doomed love interest of Jesse (Aaron Paul), in the final season of Breaking Bad.
Consensus: Starring on Breaking Bad and The Bridge were both major milestones for Rios, who must've made a memorable impression on TV execs during her short run as a troubled student on Friday Night Lights.