AFI AWARDS 2006
AFI TV PROGRAMS OF THE YEAR-OFFICIAL SELECTIONS
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA shines bright among the stars of television's sci-fi classics. The show is a profound parable for our times, and in the grand tradition of science fiction, the farther it rockets into outer space, the deeper it probes the inner workings of our humanity. In 2006, the show dramatically changed course from its initial premise - a true act of creative courage - and its continuing ability to fuse gripping drama and thoughtful allegory heralds BATTLESTAR GALACTICA as one of the triumphs of television.
DEXTER is a killer show about a serial killer. Wildly audacious and original, the show is an incisive new take on several television staples - the medical mystery, vigilante justice and even romantic comedy - mashed together in the bloody grip of a self-doubting sociopath. Both creepy and compelling, DEXTER is the most morally complex show on television, and with that distinction, a true catalyst for a discussion of ethics around the living room.
ELIZABETH I shines bright among the crown jewels of television long form. The film is a majestic reminder of the art form's ability to capture a time so rich in detail that it transports its audience to a world they would have never known. ELIZABETH I is high IQ entertainment at its most engaging, and Helen Mirren's towering performance will have audiences genuflecting for generations.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS is a celebration of America - its hopes and dreams, its heart and its heartland. Rare is the show that presents family and faith in such an authentic way - rich with emotion and illuminated by the pulse-quickening thrill of football. Peter Berg's small town tale is one with community at its core, but universal in scope - the struggle of winning and losing, the drive to reach for more and the challenge of seeing a future beyond the glare of Friday night's lights.
HEROES is a force for good in American television. Tim Kring's ambitious comic book drama not only entertains with super-human abilities, but it speaks to an audience that yearns for hope in a world where cynicism abounds. The show marks an evolution in the serialized drama; its separate story lines do not immediately connect, but they share a message for the global community - within each of us is a stronger, better self with special abilities beyond what we can even imagine.
THE OFFICE is an outrageous ode to the obvious and the oblivious. Each week, this clever comedy celebrates the trivial pursuits of colleagues we all know and love - the deluded, the ignorant, and the trapped, but talented. Steve Carell continues to define himself as a leading man of laughs, here a player within the funniest creative ensemble on television. Together, they make THE OFFICE a place you want to spend your nights.
SOUTH PARK holds a mirror up to American society, then smashes it and demands audiences take another look. Sweet and simple on the surface, the show remains the most subversive comedy on television as creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone continue to slaughter sacred cows into the show's 10th season. SOUTH PARK's achievement is more than just pushing boundaries; it's an insightful comment on America, told with equal parts philosophy and flatulence.
24 clocks into its fifth season firing on all cylinders - demanding that audiences fasten their seatbelts and hang on for the most thrilling ride in television. From season to season - and from second to second - 24's strong, cinematic narrative is enriched by a vast and varied acting ensemble that in 2006 was gloriously enhanced by the show's President and First Lady - Gregory Itzin and Jean Smart. Explosive and emotional, 24 is a show that sets hearts racing as it defines heroism in modern day.
THE WEST WING
THE WEST WING is a landmark in American television. Its heart filled with hope, the show is unmatched in its ideal and its execution. The term "degree of difficulty" was redefined by THE WEST WING years ago, but in 2006, it reached even further - including a live presidential debate that reminded audiences of the power of substantive discussion in the highest offices of our land. Hail to the show's chiefs, Aaron Sorkin and John Wells, and their extraordinary creative ensemble, who gave the world seven remarkable seasons of THE WEST WING along with a graceful and memorable bow.
THE WIRE is the great American novel produced for television. Rich in detail and engrossing in depth of character, the show is a moving document about the failure of American social institutions - from the family to schools to the justice system and beyond. David Simon and his talented writing team have created a window on our world - one complicated by motives, illuminated by nuance, and ultimately, heartbreaking in its humanity. THE WIRE is a show that you do not simply watch; it's one you live.