Tag Archives: Friday Night Lights

Power Rankings: Friday Night Lights, Part 2

19 Aug

All your favorite Lions/Panthers

Part two of the 16-actor long Friday Night Lights power rankings.  Check out part 1, along with the introduction here.

9. Minka Kelly (as Lyla Garrity) – She had a spot role in (500) Days of Summer right after leaving FNL’s main cast.  She was in The Roommate, Just Go With It, and appeared in nine episodes of Parenthood. She starred in the short-lived and ill-conceived Charlie’s Angels remake and plays Jackie O in current movie The Butler. She’ll costar in Fox sci-fi crime drama series Almost Human this fall with Karl Urban and Lili Taylor.

8. Grey Damon (as Hastings Ruckle) – The only main character who only appeared in the fifth and final season, Damon appeared as a main cast member on ABC’s Family’s one season The Nine Lives of Chloe King. He was in six episodes of The Secret Circle and five of Twisted.  He appeared in this year’s Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (with or without the Olympians, we’ll never know).  He’ll recur in this season’s American Horror Story edition, Coven, will be in the American remake of Oldboy and is set to appear aside Aimee Teegarden in CW midseason replacement series Star-Crossed.

7. Jurnee Smollett (as Jess Merriweather) – The unfortunately named Smolett starred in controversial Tyler Perry movie Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (she was said marriage counselor).   She was a regular on one season Jim Belushi – Jerry O’Connell legal show The Defenders (somehow, it was not on TNT), She was in two episodes of The Mob Doctor and two of Do No Harm, participating in the two shortest-lived doctor shows of the past season and was most recently in 8 episodes of True Blood as Sam Merlotte love interest Nicole this season.

6. Gaius Charles (as Brian “Smash” Williams) – He has small roles in The Messenger, Salt, and Taken.  He was on individual episodes of NCIS and Necessary Roughness.  I had honestly through Charles would be much lower in these rankings, and he would be if he hadn’t become a recurring character on Grey’s Anatomy in season nine who will be bumped up into the main cast in this upcoming tenth season (crazy, right?) as Dr. Shane Ross.  While Grey’s Anatomy isn’t exactly in early season form when it could send songs to the top 40, it’s still quite a popular show, and that’s a really good get for Smash, as I value main cast roles on successful shows quite highly.

5. Scott Porter (as Jason Street) – He voices Cyclops on the dub of Marvel Anime: X-Men.  He was a recurring character in the second season of The Good Wife as investigator Blake, appearing in fourteen episodes.  He played Aubrey Plaza’s love interest in this summer’s The To-Do List.  He was in Nicolas Sparks-based weeper Dear John and was in eight episodes of Sci-Fi’s Caprica.  Currently, he is a main cast member in Hart of Dixie on CW, entering its third season this fall.  Obviously Hart of Dixie is not as noteworthy as Grey’s Anatomy or True Blood, but hell, he’s going into his third season, and he has a nice little profile outside of that show.

4. Jesse Plemons (as Landry Clarke) – He appeared in alien comedy Paul, blockbuster Battleship, as as the titular character’s son in The Master.  He was in an episode of Childrens Hospital and appeared as a regular cast member in failed but actually not terrible midseason replacement Amanda Peet comedy Bent.  He currently appears as wannabe-meth-maker protégé Todd as a regular cast member on the fifth and final season of Breaking Bad. It’s a very solid resume for one of the non-obvious actors to breakout, but let’s not kid ourselves – his being placed above cast members with similar resumes is due to his role on Breaking Bad.  Todd’s so polite!

3. Taylor Kitsch (as Tim Riggins) – Hollywood saw a leading man in Kitsch and chose him to star in what ended up as two of the biggest flops of 2012, alien action pictures John Carter and Battleship.  He appeared in Oliver Stone’s Savages, and will appear this year in The Last Selection and Lone Survivor, from FNL creator and Battleship director Peter Berg.  Next year, he’s been cast to appear in Ryan Murphy film The Normal Heart.  In a couple of years, if his career doesn’t work out so well he may fade, but still starring in two blockbusters is a pretty big deal, even if they weren’t exactly successes.

2. Michael B. Jordan (as Vince Howard) – Of course this doesn’t count here, but I’d be remiss without a quick reminder that he played Wallace in The Wire. He’s been trending gradually upwards since FNL ended.  He was in an episode of House as well as 16 of Parenthood. He was in Red Tails and surprise hit Chronicle in 2012. He voiced Victor Stone in animated kids video Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and will be appearing in rom com Are We Officially Dating? This year he drew rave reviews for his portrayal of a real life murder victim in Fruitvale Station and may get some love come award time.   The recency and acclaim of his role in Fruitvale is what positioned him over the failed blockbusters of Kirsch or everyone else’s television roles.

1. Connie Britton (as Tami Taylor) – Mrs. Coach jumped right from FNL into a starring appearance in the first season of American Horror Story, which went on to be a major success. She currently starts in ABC first season success story Nashville as a country singer undergoing a mid-career crisis, one of the most successful and acclaimed new network shows of the past year.  She appeared in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World as well as this summer’s Aubrey Plaza starring The To-Do List and is set to appear in next year’s This is Where I Leave You.  She wins top honors for getting top star billing (or included among two equal top stars in each) in two shows that were both relative critical and commercial successes.

Power Rankings: Friday Night Lights, Part 1

16 Aug

Friday Night Lights!  Landry! Landry!

(Power Rankings sum up:  we’ll pick a television show and rank the actors/actresses/contestants/correspondents/etc. based on what they’ve done after the series ended (unless we’re ranking a current series, in which case we’ll have to bend the rules).  Preference will be given to more recent work, but if the work was a long time ago, but much more important/relevant, that will be factored in as well.)

This is a new power rankings land speed record, as it’s only been two years since the show bowed out.  However, the cast, validating the talent they displayed on FNL, has been so damn successful on the whole, that I think they’ve warranted this unexpectedly early Power Rankings treatment .  The entries may not be as long as some, because of the little time, but there’s a huge cast, so it’ll be divided into two parts.  A couple of actors left earlier in the show and thus had more chance to build their resumes, but those extra years didn’t seem to necessarily give those actors a step up. This list was nearly impossible to rank.  Everyone’s done something, and everyone besides poor number 16, has had at the minimum a recurring tv role, and most have had much more.  There’s some fairly arbitrary judgment calls pure and simple ,and I can’t think of another power rankings in which not just two or three were close together but so many of them.  But rank somehow we must; perhaps we’ll come back again and revisit these rankings and find the order changes in another couple of years.  As a heads up, I tended to give edges to more prominent shoes over less, larger roles in shows and movies, and acclaim never hurts along with popularity.

16. Brad LeLand (as Buddy Garrity) – he somehow earned his way up to main cast status by the end of the show, which was a not unfair triumph of simple attrition and perseverance; he has the sixth most appearances of any actor on the show.  He was in an episode of Parks and Recreation, two of Veep, and is going in to be in some movie called The Bystander Theory.  Easy last, things start getting more difficult from here.

15. Madison Burge (as Becky Sproles) –  She was in Robert Duvall film Seven Days in Utopia and in three episodes of ABC Family’s The Lying Game. She was in an episode of Southland and currently has a recurring role on the final season of Dexter as Vince Masuka’s daughter Niki.

14. Aimee Teegarden (as Julie Taylor) – Among the least busy of the FNL cast members, Teegarden is still only not higher due to being hurt by timing as her films Prom and Scream 4 appeared just before FNL finished airing.  She was in web series Aim High and movies that did nothing Love and Honor and Beneath the Darkness. She starred in a CW pilot, The Selection, that didn’t get picked up, but she’ll get another chance as the star of 2014 planned mid-season CW series Star-Crossed.

13. Zach Gilford (as Matt Saracen) – Since leaving FNL’s main cast, he’s been a main cast member on two failed dramas, 2011 Shonda Rhymes-produced medical drama Off the Map, and 2012’s Fox failure The Mob Doctor.  He was in nothing movies In Our Nature and Answers to Nothing and will appear in Arnold Schwarzenegger starrer The Last Stand as well as Devil’s Due.

12. Matt Lauria (as Luke Cafferty) – He was a regular on the reasonably well-liked by short-lived Chicago Code and appeared in episodes of Burn Notice and Person of Interest.  He was in three episodes of CSI and in 10 of Parenthood, which, as it was created by FNL showrunner Jason Katims, and will be showing up several times on this list.

11. Adrianne Palicki (as Tyra Collette) – She would have been Wonder Woman in the David E. Kelley pilot that failed to get picked up.  She was Lady Jaye in Gi Joe: Retaliation which I’m guessing you didn’t realize grossed 371 million worldwide.   She co-starred in 2012’s Red Dawn remake which was actually filmed in 2009 but took three years to see the light of day.   She was a main character in 2010’s Lone Star, but the well-reviewed show was cancelled mind-mindbogglingly quickly.

10. Kyle Chandler (as Eric Taylor) – Coach Taylor himself, Chandler, as one of the few adult cast members (three, and Buddy Garrity is kind of a technicality), was logically a lot more successful before the show than most of the youngsters.  He’s kept quite busy since, appearing in a number of supporting roles in prominent movies.  Right after FNL ended, he was in spooky JJ Abrams film Super 8, then appeared in Best Picture winner Argo and Best Picture nominee Zero Dark Thirty.  This year he was in Broken City, teen love indie The Spectacular Now, and will appear in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.

We’re just under halfway there.  Part 2 coming up shortly.

Ranking the Shows That I Watch – 2012 Edition: The Outcasts, Part 3

28 Jan

This is my ranking of shows that I watched in 2012 – for the rules, see the intro;  so far we’re discussing shows that made my last list but not this one.

Here are even more shows that made last year’s list that didn’t make the cut this year.


Entourage and Ari

2011 Rank:  25

Never a great show, at times not really a good show, I still never really seriously considered stopping watching Entourage.  Maybe it’s because for the most part it was so light.  I don’t like when shows that should be heavier are needlessly light, but a show like Entourage never made any serious pretensions to reality or big issues and themes.  Of course, Entourage had two dark seasons which I still can’t decide if I liked or didn’t like, but either way, even when the show was kind of bad I never really minded spending half an hour with the gang.  I don’t think the show will be remembered particularly well, but I don’t think it will be remembered poorly either; I think it’s just likely to not be remembered much at all.  I don’t think that’s necessarily a huge shame, but I think then I’d like to get my two cents in and say, on the whole, I’m glad I watched the whole series of Entourage and I would do it again.

The Killing

Who killed this show?

2011 Rank:  23

Now here’s a show that makes me angry.  I was far too kind to it last year.  Unlike AMC failure Rubicon, which just slowly drifted apart after a promising start, The Killing spectacularly imploded at the end of its first season delivering an impressively terrible 1-2 punch of maybe having the worst final and penultimate episodes of a season of all time.  Yes, it was that bad, and the show jerked every viewer who watched around, leading to an end of season that hopefully will live on as a name of what not to do.  This on top of the fact that the main character had started violating police common sense, even by television standards, and basically after being fairly invested through most of the first season, I had basically no interest in watching the second season.  I watched the second season finale, just because, and it unsurprisingly didn’t make a ton of sense to me, but that’s fine.  I’m glad my chapter, and hopefully everyone’s, of The Killing is finished now.  I want to say it was a good run, but it wasn’t.  The best The Killing can do at this point is be responsible for launching Joel Kinnaman’s career.

White Collar

White Collar, Blue Tie

2011 Rank:  21

The last USA show!  Finally!  White Collar was a tad more serious than any of the other USA shows on this list.  It’s a nice show, and I think the two main actors do a fine job individually and together, but it’s held back, as everything is at USA, by the limitations of what dramas mean there; it’s going to follow a formula, and though there’s room in that formula for entertainment, there’s also a fairly low ceiling.  White Collar hits the ceiling sometimes but doesn’t break out of it.  I’ve also just kind of tailed off watching it as I have with my other USA shows; it’s not bad, it’s just not super compelling either.

Friday Night Lights

The early cast

2011 Ranking: 19

This is a show that I think has a chance to really grow in viewers’ appreciation after it’s already over.  A critical favorite from day 1, the show lagged in ratings, and shockingly was picked up in an unique arrangement by Direct TV for seasons four and five.  Even as the show was coming to a close it seemed like the internet was more and more excited about it.  I like the show; I think it’s a very good one, though I wasn’t nearly as upset as many that the show was leaving.  Stick this is the category of shows I like and admit are good but that I probably just don’t see eye to eye on as far as exactly how good.  The show dealt with interpersonal relationships very well, but it always felt forced and sometimes over the top; there was a lacking of subtlety of plot and dialogue it could have used.  Still, good show, always sad to see a good show go.

Ranking the Shows I Watch – 19: Friday Night Lights

27 Sep

I don’t compliment my brother all that often, but there is absolutely no denying he does a wonderful impression of Coach Eric Taylor giving an inspirational speech to a player, family member, or random Dillon resident.  I wish I could somehow textually demonstrate his not great but still enjoyable fake southern twang and repeat his impressions word for word, but the crux of it is that Coach Taylor will tell this person, who has asked him for advice, or come to him with a problem, something like, “I can’t tell you how …(fill in the blank with whatever the person needs help doing),” implying that he is unqualified to give advice on said topic.  After a breath, though, he comes in with a “but I can tell you this” and precedes to dish out some fairly generic speech which leaves the target invigorated, recharged and/or inspired.  This really encapsulates everything about the show.  It’s essentially a soap, but one that instead of being designed to be trashy and low-brow, is designed to make you feel good and that through everything people are innately good, and that all is right with the world (though they did make just about all the woman extremely attractive – they’re not crazy).  Although it’s by no means a religious show, if you had to convince someone who had been isolated away from humanity of the essential good of humankind, I can think of no better programming to send that message than Friday Night Lights (though you best show them whole seasons – things can get a little morally stickier in the cliffhangers).

What’s possibly more impressive by my standards, is that, while pushing this story that has a man-is-generally-good feel and with ridiculous inspirational dialogue happening in nearly episode that people don’t say in real life, or certainly not that often (to be fair, sports is one of the places where it happens, but at least half of the inspirational dialogue on the show has nothing to do with football), it seems neither righteous nor cloying.  Righteousness probably drives me crazy as much if not more than almost any other quality, and my nose for it usually picks it up if I think there are even the slightest traces left at the scene.  Yet, I don’t really feel it here.  A lot of things about the show aren’t perfect – the plots certainly aren’t the most original or interesting and I’m probably a little biased because subjectively it doesn’t have the feel I prefer in a show.  I can’t think of another show that pulls off what it does well though, and it’s watching for that alone if for nothing else.

Why It’s This High:  Kyle Chandler rules as does Connie Britton, and the heart the series shows should feel cheesy but always feel authentic

Why It’s Not Higher:  The show has great heart, but the plots can be incredibly simple and the dialogue, although feel good, is unmemorable

Best Episode of the Most Recent Season:  I’m not fully caught up yet so I’m limited, but “Kingdom” – the road trip was fun and heartwarming which is what the show does best, and watching coach get frustrated playing cards with the fellow coaches was fantastic