The CDP TV25 Tournament (Series Finale).

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Welcome to the Series Finale of the CDP TV25 Tournament to decide the Greatest Television Show of the Last 25 Years. It’s all over but the paperwork, kids.

After 20 full days of voting, stretched out over nearly a month-and-a-half. After 127 total matchups. After the elimination of 127 of the greatest TV shows ever. After nearly four thousand total votes cast. After whining, ranting, complaining, joy, happiness, entitlement, criticism up the ass, passionate campaigning, and finally…acceptance.

We’ve made it all the way to the end. Only one show stands above the rest.

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The CDP TV25 Tournament has spoken: Breaking Bad is officially the Greatest Television Show of the Last 25 Years.

As a guy who only voted in tiebreaker situations, I can get behind this choice. I think it most represents the voice of the nation. I believe that if this tournament were held on a more massive scale, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if Breaking Bad won that one, too. The timing doesn’t hurt, either; a lot of people just got through watching the breathtaking 5th Season, or are plowing through it on Netflix as we speak. Would it win a similar tournament 22 years from now? Who knows, but it’s a perfectly rational, defensible and most of all, worthy champion for 2014. I tip my cap to you, Breaking Bad.

Now, there are probably going to be quite a few of you who don’t agree. I want to first state that if you did not vote, I don’t really care what you have to say. You were probably one of the people who were the most grumpy and hyper-critical of the whole experiment from the beginning and didn’t even consider participating except to throw in your two cents about not agreeing with anything. Well, good. Let this be a lesson to the kids out there: That is the voice of the Internet. It is the voice that critiques without creating, the voice that stifles any and all creativity and should never be listened to for a second.

Tournament’s over. I don’t have to be objective anymore. And for the last time, I’m sorry I forgot to include 24. I apologized like, three times, so put a cork in it.

To those who did participate, either every day until the bitter end or even just once, I sincerely thank you. I could not have done this without you. Literally, your votes controlled this entire thing. It was the culmination of over two years of research, organization and worst of all, blurb writing (those weekly recaps were murder on my dumb brain). I had wanted to do a fan participation tournament for a very long time now, and I was overall very pleased to see it take shape and succeed the way it did. I had fun, even though I stayed up past midnight nearly every night for the past month counting votes in an Excel spreadsheet. I’ve never turned the CDP over to you guys before, and to have almost no control whatsoever regarding a massive Pop Culture tournament was an interesting experience for me to say the least.

I agreed with the majority rule on most matchups. Some of your decisions also baffled me. Here are the Top 5 that left my head shaking:

5. Saved By The Bell defeating Roseanne (Round 1)
4. Friends defeating South Park (Round 4)
3. The Sopranos defeating The Wire (Round 4)
2. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air defeating Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Round 2)
1. Lost defeating Battlestar Galactica (Round 3)

…Okay, just kidding about that last one. That was awesome!

Like most of you, I get very passionate and defensive when someone criticizes a piece of art that I love. Whether we make a conscious effort to do so or not, we attach ourselves emotionally to things that we like (a revelation, I’m sure). They become an extension of who we are, so when they get bullied, we cannot help but take it personally. Books, films, sports teams; it’s all the same sort of personal extension. It’s why we cheer when they succeed and get depressed when they fail (or merely get canceled). A certain part of their success belongs to us, and as supporters of whatever respective art we choose, we ebb and flow right along with them. Sounds insane when it’s spelled out like that, but it’s also pretty beautiful.

While it wouldn’t look this way to an outside observer, this tournament (and your willingness to participate in it), was an intimate peek into your tastes and personalities. Sometimes things like this tell more about what makes someone tick than hours of conversation. No matter how many essays I write, I usually strike the most personal chord with a stranger when I decide to rattle off lists of my favorite pieces of Pop Culture. Weird how we work, but it’s fundamentally true, and I’ve grown to respect and appreciate the process.

So once again, thank you for participating. I’m never doing this again.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend. I’m taking a bit of a belated Spring Break, but I’ll be back soon with brand new essays as the 10th Anniversary of the CDP rolls along.

2 thoughts on “The CDP TV25 Tournament (Series Finale).

  1. Ryan: I do not understand this post with regard to your #3 on the list of “baffling decisions”. I see the Sopranos on it and NOT The Wire. Just sayin….

    “I do want to say this, however, because I found it sort of fascinating. When the tournament started, I had it laid out with 8 shows (1 from each quarter of the bracket) that I considered to be the '#1 Seed' for each. They were:

    The Simpsons
    Parks & Recreation
    30 Rock
    The X-Files
    Breaking Bad
    The Sopranos”

    All that said, a good time was had by all. Thanks for setting it up and running it.



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