Friday Night Lights rules for realism. Friday Night Lights rules for realism. The characters don’t speak like articulately witty brainiacs but are never played as idiots for the cheap laugh. They live in houses that they could realistically afford and drive cars that don’t wreak of product placement. They work at car dealerships and Applebees. And when a character graduates from high school, they are no longer on this high school show.

This week, executive producer Jason Katims gave a statement explaining the release of Gaius Charles and Scott Porter from their regular contracts. The actors, who play Smash Williams and Jason Street respectively, will be kept on in guest starring capacities and Katims promises satisfying endings to their current story lines.

The decision to move the story along without the popular characters of Smash and Street speaks to the mature dedication of the show runners to as much realism as possible. The characters have graduated, it’s time for the show to move forward without them. With Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) not far behind them in the “too old for Dillon” line, the release of Smash and Street will hopefully allow the show the freedom to invest in new, younger characters who will have a few years under the tutelage of Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) before also graduating from the show (assuming the show is allowed to continue cancellation-free).

The characters of Tami and Eric Taylor (Connie Britton and Chandler) anchor the show so strongly that a gradual rotation of the teenage characters should breathe new life into the show on a regular basis without it losing its footing. After all, so long as MASH had Hawkeye (Alan Alda), the rest of the 4077th could grow and change but the essence of the show would always stay the same. For every Trapper (Wayne Rogers) lost, a BJ (Mike Farell) can be gained.

For the full story on the Friday Night Lights casting changes see Michael Ausiello’s report for Entertainment Weekly.