Taylor Kitsch fans, your dreams are coming true.
"They write a shirtless scene for me in every episode," Friday Night Lights' resident bad boy tells me. "And I fight them on every episode. Sometimes I win. Sometimes they win."
The good news? Taylor is losing more than he's winning this season, thanks to a long-awaited romance—and that is only one of a slew of solid reasons you will want to watch this kickass show when it premieres tonight on DirecTV's 101 Network at 9 p.m.
I hit the FNL set in Austin, Texas, for exclusive scoop on the third season that you do not want to miss if you are a fan...
Finally! Tim (Kitsch) and Lyla (Minka Kelly) are totally together when the new season launches, and Taylor brings the sexy back by showing his clothes-free back...and chest...and more. Honestly, there are at least two Tim-Lyla moments in the premiere that will make you giddy and gaspy. I squealed. So is there long-term hope? "Sure, why not? Taylor tells me. "If she goes from Jesus to him, she must be into him."
Saracen's Spot as First-String QB Is in Danger: D.W. Moffett joins the cast as Joe McCoy, the aggressive, wily father of a freshman quarterback phenom named J.D. (Jeremy Sumpter), who is billed as the second coming of Jason Street (Scott Porter). And that does not bode well for the on-field future of our boy Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford), who has the heart—but not necessarily the throwing arm—of a champion. Gilford tells me, "Everyone thinks [J.D.'s] really good, but come on, he's no Matt Saracen." Damn straight.
Our Favorite Underdog Twosome Are in Trouble: Tyra (Adrianne Palicki) and Landry (Jesse Plemons) are on a break. And since we've all seen every episode of Friends, we know that means they are totally destined to be together forever. Still, in the midst of this breakup, Tyra's going to be getting with a new guy named Cash (Zach Roerig), and that is rough on poor Landry, which is in turn rough on Adrienne. She told me, "Poor guy can't catch a break! That was the first thing I asked our boss, Jason Katims, when I talked to him during the summer: What happens with Tyra and Landry? I don't feel like it's over, I don't feel like we're done, but poor Landry." Indeed.
The Big Game This Year May Be off the Field: Dillon football kingpin Buddy Garrity (Brad Leland) has a new nemesis, and her name is Tami Taylor (Connie Britton). Yep, Tami's been promoted to school principal, and she's finally getting her chance to take on the devil town's obsession with football and redirect that energy (and those school funds) to actual...education.
The Star Is Falling: Smash (Gaius Charles) has graduated, but he's still in Dillon, not up at college. Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) is working to save Smash and get him back in the game, but when the season begins, things look pretty dim as far as Smash's future is concerned...
Someone Proposes Marriage! There's going to be a wedding before the season is out.
It truly is a fantastic premiere. The Panthers are back on track.
Be sure to tune in tonight on DirecTV channel 101 at 9 p.m. (if you don't have DirecTV, find someone who does!), and then come back here to discuss the happy return of one of TV's best. In the meantime, post your fan love below...