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Two Panthers Benched for New Season of Friday Night Lights

Two longtime Dillon Panthers players won't be on screen quite so much when Friday Night Lights returns for its third season. Entertainment Weekly is reporting that the two players, who have been series regulars, will now just be recurring characters in the upcoming season. The info could be a little spoilery, so I'll put it behind the jump — but, for the record, I don't think it's necessarily bad news. To see the details and hear my thoughts, just


Smash Williams and Jason Street, two of the centerpiece players when the series began, will now be recurring characters only; the actors, Gaius Charles and Scott Porter, will be around long enough to wrap up their storylines, but that's it. As executive producer Jason Katims told Michael Ausiello:

"Pete Berg, myself and our fellow producers have enormous respect for Scott and Gaius both as actors and individuals. In short, we love them. However, both of their characters have now graduated and in the creative spirit of the show, we have decided to give them powerful four episode arcs that will observe their characters as they launch themselves into the next phase of their lives."

As sad as it is to see them go, it makes some sense: Already in the second season, Jason was feeling increasingly irrelevant, his fate and story no longer tied to the Dillon Panthers. It often felt as though his storylines were just shoehorned in. Smash, on the other hand, got some of the strongest material of the second season — but his story wrapped up well enough on its own, and it would be strange to keep leaving Dillon to follow him in college. (It was hard enough just to do that with Coach Taylor at TMU!)

So, without those two around, who will become the heart and soul of the show? Saracen? Riggins? Frankly, if this move means those two get more screen time, I'm happy; FNL was already feeling crowded, and this could help the show get its focus back. Your thoughts?

Photos courtesy of NBC

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