Los Angeles Times

'Heroes,' 'Lights' Shine for AFI

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"Friday Night Lights" hasn't captured a big audience thus far in its first season, but those who like it really like it a lot.

To that group you can add the jurors for the 2006 AFI Awards, who named the NBC series one of the 10 best TV programs of the year. Two other freshman shows, NBC's "Heroes" and Showtime's "Dexter," also made the American Film Institute's list.

Reflecting the current state of television, eight of the 10 programs on the list are dramas. The only comedies to make the cut are NBC's "The Office," the Emmy winner for best comedy series earlier this year, and Comedy Central's "South Park," which has poked fun at Scientology, James Frey, Al Gore and teacher-student sex, among other things, this year.

The AFI list also includes the Sci Fi Channel's "Battlestar Galactica," which has received wave after wave of critical hosannas in its three seasons but hasn't earned much award-show recognition.

The other shows on the AFI list are HBO's "The Wire" and "Elizabeth I," NBC's "The West Wing" and FOX's "24," which won the Emmy for outstanding drama series in August.

Jurors for the TV awards included Dick Askin, president and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, several critics, producer Steven Bochco ("NYPD Blue"), former "Friends" executive producer Kevin S. Bright and producer-director Michael Dinner ("Kidnapped").

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