Hello, and welcome back to the CDP TV25 Tournament to decide the Greatest Television Show of the Last 25 Years. We started with 128 shows, and we’re finally down to a mere 8.
We’re ending the week with a recap of the tournament thus far, as Round 4 voting has concluded. Here’s what went down (and trust me, there was plenty):
The Simpsons vs. Seinfeld
Down go The Simpsons! The three most quoted works in the English language are The Bible, Shakespeare and The Simpsons. There’s no overstating their influence and magnitude; in fact, they were my personal pick to win the entire thing. However, if there was one 90’s sitcom that could dethrone Springfield’s finest, it would be Seinfeld, and that’s exactly what happened. The Show About Nothing (and maybe my favorite live-action sitcom ever), won by a single vote (no tiebreakers needed), making them our Q1 Champion and sending them into next week’s Quarterfinal showdown.
Parks and Recreation vs. Community
Winner: PARKS AND RECREATION
In the most modern of our Sitcom Brackets, we had a matchup of two ‘Must-See Thursday’ favorites in Parks and Recreation against Community. In the battle of Pawnee vs. Greendale, Leslie Knope and a flawless ensemble cast won handily over what could be the most ambitiously odd network sitcom in existence. Hey, Parks deserves it, though, and their title of Q2 Champion earns them a tough date against Seinfeld on Monday.
30 Rock vs. The Office (US)
Winner: 30 ROCK
One thing this tournament is telling me is that Must-See Thursday is, was and (hopefully) always will be a beacon of classic network sitcoms. In fact, I highly recommend Warren Littlefield’s outstanding oral history of Must-See Thursday, Top Of The Rock. In addition to being an NBC Thursday night sitcom, 30 rock was essentially a love letter to the mechanics behind creating a great NBC comedy. Containing a healthy amount of real-life network drama, satire and realism (a lot of what Jack Donaghy did actually happened), 30 Rock gathered Emmys at a rapid clip, even when their ratings were struggling. The Office was an all-time classic sitcom (with Michael Scott being one of Television’s all-time great characters, comedy or drama), but in the end, Dunder Mifflin fell to Tina Fey by a single vote, making 30 Rock our Q3 Champion.
Friends vs. South Park
Friends also won.
Did You Have To Break Any Ties? – Nope!
The X-Files vs. The Wonder Years
Winner: THE X-FILES
If The Wonder Years never existed, I’m not entirely sure I would have ever written an essay in my life. It’s as personally influential to me as any piece of art- TV, music, film, books, you name it- I’ve ever cared about. It’s one of my favorite television shows of all-time, and quite frankly, I was surprised to see it get this far in the tournament. In the grand scheme of Television History, we seem to remember The X-Files more fondly (minus the final season). It ushered sci-fi back onto mainstream, network television (a trend that has continued to this day), and it is now your Q1 Champion and moving on to the Quarterfinals. I did once name it the Greatest TV Series of the 90’s, after all.
Breaking Bad vs. The Walking Dead
Winner: BREAKING BAD
You’d think that this matchup would be a nailbiter until the final whistle, but Breaking Bad actually claimed the easiest victory of the round over AMC’s The Walking Dead. Zombies, gore, insane action and decapitations a’plenty have made TWD a ratings darling, but in the end they could not stop the Masterpiece (with a capital ‘M’) tale told by Vince Gilligan. Breaking Bad is our Q2 Champion, and deservedly so.
Lost vs. Friday Night Lights
Winner: FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. And you know what? If this had been a tiebreaker situation, I probably would have made the same choice. I’ve said it many times before: Season 1 of Friday Night Lights is the greatest season of television ever produced. If you haven’t watched it yet, consider this your intervention. The Dillon Panthers (or the East Dillion Lions, if you wish) are your Q3 Champions, and Lost has finally left the Church of Purgatory to meet their maker.
The Sopranos vs. The Wire
Winner: THE SOPRANOS
In the battle of wildly influential HBO dramas that ushered in the new Golden Age of Television, we saw in The Sopranos a show that had been voted by TV Guide as the Greatest Drama of All-Time, versus The Wire, a show the majority of TV viewers have unofficially voted the Greatest Drama of All-Time. In the end, TV Guide won out, and The Sopranos took the Q4 title by a single vote. Better luck next time, Baltimore.
Did You Have To Break Any Ties? – You ain’t gonna believe it, but I had to pick The X-Files over The Wonder Years. That hurt like hell, but it was for the greater good.
Thus completes ROUNDS 3 AND 4 of the CDP TV25 Tournament: 120 shows have been eliminated; only 8 remain. THE CONCLUSION OF THE TOURNAMENT WILL TAKE PLACE NEXT WEEK, as the final surviving shows continue their quest (with your votes) for Pop Culture immortality. Here’s the schedule for next week:
5/5 – QUARTERFINALS
5/6 – SEMIFINALS
5/7 – FINALS (Day 1)
5/8 – FINALS (Day 2)
5/9 – WINNER ANNOUNCED
Sound off in the comments section, let us know what pissed you off (or made you happy) about Rounds 3 and 4, and the matchups you’re looking forward to in the Quarterfinals. To view the entire tournament as one cohesive bracket, CLICK HERE. Thanks for all the votes this week, and thanks in advance for all the votes next week.
Quarterfinal voting begins Monday. Let’s do this.