September 10, 2010 at 12:00 PM EDT

”We very consciously wanted to make it feel like an ending,” says exec producer Jason Katims of the fifth and final season of the football drama (which airs on DirecTV in the fall and NBC in 2011). To that end, he brought back a slew of the show’s former MVPs — including Zach Gilford (Matt), Adrianne Palicki (Tyra), Scott Porter (Jason), Taylor Kitsch (Tim), and Jesse Plemons (Landry). On the Taylor front, Julie (Aimee Teegarden) returns home from college after having an affair with one of her professors. Her parents, meanwhile, will find their marriage tested when Tami (Connie Britton) — who’s now working as a guidance counselor at East Dillon — is ”forced to make a career decision that will influence not only her but Eric [Kyle Chandler] too.” For Britton, the final string of episodes ”felt like a very true end to the world of Dillon that we created.” Adds Chandler: ”I absolutely think we went out with a touch of class.” OCT. 27

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