Monday, March 31

The Greatest TV Show Of The Last 25 Years.

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For the next five weeks, The CDP will be conducting a tournament for the ages.

You’re going to help decide the GREATEST TELEVISION SHOW OF THE LAST 25 YEARS in a winner-take-all, 128 show battle for generational Pop Culture supremacy.

Each day, starting next Monday, you will be given the opportunity to vote on tournament matchups as we work our way down to the finals. What’s your favorite show? Think you already know who’s going to win? Is there a show in the tournament you think is criminally underrated? You’ll be able to vote, debate, convince, argue and sway the rest of the crowd to see things your way.

Here’s everything you need to know before we get started.

Let’s get this out of the way early: Here are the two things that might piss you off about the tournament.

1. While you and CDP readers across the globe will be the deciding factor in voting for the shows you like, I got to pick and sort the initial field of 128. I did this for a couple reasons. First, an Internet vote just to see what shows made the tournament would have taken forever and probably doomed the whole thing from the start. Secondly, this is my page after all, and I figured it was the least I could do. Once the voting begins, I will only participate in order to break ties. Otherwise, I will not be voting. It’s completely up to you. Fair enough?

2. To keep this tournament from containing 8,000 shows, I had to set parameters for who got to make it in. It is for these reasons that the tournament is almost exclusively SCRIPTED AMERICAN COMEDIES AND DRAMAS. Variety shows, reality shows, overseas shows and mini-series are rampant in the landscape of 21st Century television, but I wanted to stay true to the spirit of the tournament. Furthermore, if your all-time favorite TV show of the last 25 years didn’t make this list, I assume I’d never have been able to make you happy in the first place. I fully understand the magnitude of American Idol, Cops, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Survivor and The Daily Show, but sacrifices had to be made in order to make this whole thing a reality.

I repeat: I did my best to make this as fair and across-the-board as possible. Yes, I took personal interests and the overall interest of CDP readers into the slightest of consideration, but I put more stock in ratings, critical reception, longevity and legacy/buzz. It took me over a year to put this together; I implore you to find a fairer tournament that isn’t a complete mess. Let’s move on.

FAQ.

Where’s the bracket?

The entire 128-show field will be revealed THIS FRIDAY. As rounds are completed, I will update accordingly right here on the CDP. Each day over the next five weeks, you’ll be given the opportunity to vote on matchups in a specific part of the bracket as we work our way to the finals.

How are the brackets sorted?

64 comedies, 64 dramas. I know there are a few shows that critically fall somewhere in between, so I used my best discretion to determine what category they should fall under. The 64 comedies are sorted into 4 groups of 16 shows based on chronology/era. Same goes for dramas. The goal is to have a decent balance of comedies and dramas from the last 25 years lasting deep into the tournament, with the final comedy and drama slugging it out in the finals. A random pairing seemed less fair to me for some reason, and this format allows for more intriguing matchups down the road.

Hey, a couple of these shows premiered over 25 years ago. What gives?

A couple (literally two) shows premiered slightly over 25 years ago as of this week. I did this because I’d rather include them than a couple of brand-new 2014 shows that haven’t proven their worth, and 2014 just started. It’s extremely close to a perfect 25 year list, however. Every year is represented with a handful of both comedies and dramas, and I made sure to include a reasonable amount from each year/era. We could have easily weighed the tournament down with 90’s sitcoms and 2000’s dramas, but I wanted to make it as equal across the years as I could. Besides, it makes for more interesting conversation.

Hey, my favorite show didn’t make the tournament! And hey, why did THIS show make the tournament, and not THIS one?

See above. I did my best. Do your own next time. In fact, please do. I’d love to participate.

How do I vote?

ANY DAMN WAY YOU PLEASE! For each day of voting (and there will be 20 total opportunities to vote), you can get your picks to me nearly any way you’d like. Leave them in the respective comments section here on the CDP. Leave them on my Facebook wall. Tweet them to me. Hell, you can even e-mail them to me. Just get them to me before that day’s deadline, and they will be counted, I promise. I could have gone the ‘automatic’ poll widget route, but I felt that was impersonal and limited discussion/debate, so I’m doing it all by hand. For you. All for you, my sweet baby coconuts.

And hey, please only vote once per day/matchup (again, there will be 20 voting days). I can’t fully prevent cheating, but we’re all trying to have fun here, and I reserve the right the right to throw out any votes I feel might be indicative of ballot stuffing. Be cool. No early voting, either; votes only count on the day the matchups are announced.

For the billionth time, the tournament will be broken into 20 parts, and voting periods will be on the following days: April 7-10, April 14-17, April 21-24, April 28-May 1, May 5-8. This will make considerably more sense when you see it in action. Each day, you will vote on a portion of the bracket, and each Friday will be a recap of that week’s matchups and bracket updates. Again, I’m handling all of that stuff; all you gotta do is vote for the shows you like best.

What am I getting out of this?

A chance to participate in an unprecedented, Internet-wide vote on determining the Greatest TV Show of the Last 25 Years! For years following this tournament, when people search for ‘Greatest TV Show,’ chances are very likely they’re going to stumble upon this very tournament and see the show we’ve selected as a community. It’s unprecedented; it’s going to become the de facto opinion of an entire generation!

…Okay, none of that is guaranteed. But it’s going to be fun, it’s going to spark a lot of discussion and debate, and it’s going to make a lot of us re-watch some of the greatest TV shows of all-time. Oh, and just because I’m a nice guy, I’ll pick a voter at random when this is all over, and send you a free copy of my book. All you have to do to enter is vote in all 20 days/matchups. That’s as sweet of a deal as you’re going to get.

Okay, my body is ready. When does this start?

MONDAY, APRIL 7, and I’ll be holding your hand the entire way. Please direct any questions you may have to the comments section or my Facebook/Twitter wall. I’ll answer everything (except grumbling about how your ABSOLUTE FAVORITE SHOW didn’t make the tournament), and if your question is really good, I’ll add it to this post.

Remember to come back this Friday, when the entire 128-show field will be revealed. 

See you then; let's do this!

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