The first round matchups for the dramas start as follows:
1 - Buffy the Vampire Slayer vs. 16-NYPD Blue
8 - Beverly Hills 90210 vs. 9 - Angel
The results of the voting as of Friday were: NYPD Blue leading Buffy by 4-3 and "The Bev" leading Angel 4-1. Apparently not a lot of my readers have watched the Joss Whedon classics but just so you know, in say nearly every single "best shows" list I consulted for this, Buffy held a lofty position. I know you wouldn't know if you didn't watch it, but Seasons 2 and 3 were probably the best television ever created -- and Seasons 1, 4 & 5 were awfully great. I will admit that the mostly post-Whedon final two years were shaky at best -- let's not even talk about the decision to make the loveably adorable center of the show, Willow, become the "Big Bad" enemy of Season 6, but the point is, great show. NYPD Blue was solid certainly but it's not moving forward. As for the Buffy spinoff called Angel, it really wasn't that great in its first season when it focused more on "monster-of-the-week" storylines rather than the Buffyverse mythology but I think it found its footing during the adventurous 3-episode arc in the alternate universe of Pylea at the close of season 2, and a strong season 3 was followed by the perfect season 4 that featured both the return of Faith to the Buffyverse and the awesome episode arcs with an evil Angelus fighting "The Beast," but it peaked with the amazing closing episodes featuring the "god" Jasmine and a series of flat-out excellent episodes that ranked with Buffy's best. Season 5 was a complete about-face that brought Spike on board now that Buffy had closed but it was more "monster-of the week" and not very good and the show ended with bad ratings and a bad taste in my mouth after the wonder of Season 4. Meanwhile, the Bev was a high school story that wore fairly well as the characters graduated into college (much like Buffy later) and before it devolved into storylines as farfetched as anything like an alternate universe of Pylea (anyone remember when Kelly joined a cult!?), it was a really great show about some of the trials of high school mixed with a soap-opera sense of overblown drama that made it addictive to a younger mind like mine. As great as Angel was at times (particularly Season 4), I don't think I was ever as invested as I was during the first Brenda/Dylan/Kelly love triangle that evolved when Brenda was in France for the summer. That was good stuff. 90210 advances.
Winners: 1 - Buffy the Vampire Slayer vs. 8 - Beverly Hills 90210 (vote below)
5 - Law & Order vs. 12 - MacGyver
The Sopranos leads 5-1 as of Friday, Law & Order 5-2. I don't think I have much more to say. I watched all these shows pretty regularly and in some cases religiously while on the air and the first matchup definitely features more critically acclaimed series while the latter features more popular ones but I did love them all. And I would agree with the voting for the two favorites.
Winners: 4 - The Sopranos vs. 5 - Law & Order (vote below)
3 - Lost vs. 14 - Law & Order SVU
6 - Friday Night Lights vs. 11 - 21 Jump Street
Lost is up 6-2 in voting while Jump Street (turned into movie form this weekend) is up 5-3. Lost is an all-time classic of event television -- perhaps the last on a network that doesn't involve a singing competition -- and while in the end none of it ever made sense or got explained enough to make sense, it was damned entertaining most weeks, and that's more than enough to beat the spinoff police procedural with the 14 seed. As far as Friday Night Lights, the original graduating class got replaced after Season 3 due to budget cuts to the show (and a move to DirecTV) and the replacement cast was clearly not as strong (although they definitely improved by the end). Similarly, 21 Jump Street's original class that included Johnny Depp and Holly Robinson got replaced when they went on to bigger and better things and I think we had at one point multiple Deluises on the show, which was not nearly as good. This is a tough one. I remember the first season of 21 Jump Street incredibly fondly -- it seemed like nothing I ever saw before on TV. As for Friday Night Lights, it was a great TV series featuring incredible acting from the two leads but it was based on a movie that was based on a book and the awesome soundtrack for the TV series featured the same Explosions in the Sky orchestration as in the movie, so it definitely didn't have quite the punch as Jump Street had, back when I was in high school. Long story short, I'm slightly persuaded by the voting I guess. We're going with Jump Street for the upset.
Winners: 3 - Lost vs. 11 - 21 Jump Street (voting below)
2 - The X-Files vs. 15 - Melrose Place
7 - ER vs. 10 - Magnum P.I.
The X-Files is up 4-2 while Magnum is edging ER 4-3. First matchup first -- yeah, for a season or two there, when Michael first turned "bad" and Heather Locklear joined the cast and the crazy red-headed Dr. Kimberly Shaw ripped her wig off to show the world her huge, demented scar, Melrose Place was water-cooler stuff, the kind of show you had to watch with your friends every single week (spoofed brilliantly at the height of its fame by the great cast of Seinfeld). But it fell apart pretty fast after that, much faster than most shows -- you can only do ridiculously crazy for so long -- and really it never overcame the terrible acting of original stars Andrew Shue and Grant Show, who lingered at the edge of these great Michael / Jane / Kimberly / Laura Leighton / Heather Locklear storylines for too long. The X-Files wins in a closer matchup than expected. In the second matchup is a show that I watched pretty religiously and addictively in its early seasons (even after Clooney left) but too many bizarre storylines perhaps or too many cast exits let me leave it somewhere in the middle of its run and I never went back. As far as Magnum PI, probably the second oldest show in this tournament, I never watched it when it was first on the air, but, again found it in re-runs in college, where it was on at like 3 or 4 pm on Channel 9 in NY and me and my friends watched it pretty regularly. Again, no cable in the dorm rooms. And again, wow, the amount of free time you had in college... just wow. No wonder we all miss it so much. Anyway, I really, really loved the show then and it must have held up well. I'm giving it the narrow victory here, along with the voting.
Winners: 2 - The X-Files vs. 10 - Magnum PI (voting below)