March Madness 2019 Kickoff!

…Oh, was that the wrong sports reference?

Welcome back to Screen Scholars March Madness! Some of us don’t give a wit for balls, but all of us love television. We’d be remiss if we tossed aside the one feature that brings clicks to our site–and we’re always up for blindly screaming into the void about the brilliance of BoJack Horseman and Making It! Will Top Chef unseat last year’s winner The Good Place? (Probably not.) It’s all up to you decide: I’ll be posting the brackets and games as they line up with the NCAA’s tournament, and our readers (Hi, Mom!) will vote on the show they like best. Or think is the best. (For most people, it’s the same thing!)

Voting starts today, and you’ll find the first polls below. Hold on to your butts, because this thing moves at the same time as the real tournament. So we hope you’re on spring break or have a lenient boss.

The full 64 shows are… :

  • American Vandal
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Dirty John
  • True Detective
  • The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
  • Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
  • American Housewife
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Broad City
  • The Crown
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  • Westworld
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Shrill
  • Ru Paul’s Drag Race All Stars
  • The Bachelor
  • Project Runway
  • Top Chef
  • Great British Bake Off
  • Making It!
  • Guy’s Grocery Games
  • Queer Eye
  • Bob’s Burgers
  • High Maintenance
  • Terrace House
  • The Good Place
  • GLOW
  • Jane the Virgin
  • Grace and Frankie
  • Kim’s Convenience
  • Drunk History
  • Sweetbitter
  • Southern Charm
  • Vanderpump Rules
  • Adventure Time
  • BoJack Horseman
  • Forever
  • You’re the Worst
  • Charmed
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
  • Good Trouble
  • Grownish
  • Magnum P.I.
  • Murphy Brown
  • Roswell, New Mexico
  • The Conners
  • American Gods
  • Riverdale
  • Man In The High Castle
  • Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan
  • 2 Dope Queens
  • I’m Sorry
  • Crashing
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Steven Universe
  • We Bare Bears
  • Fresh Off the Boat
  • The Other Two
  • A Million Little Things
  • This Is Us
  • Schitt’s Creek
  • One Day at a Time

While those college kids are separated by geographical division, I’ve looked for themes, much like in years past. (We could have voted to determine the seed of each should, but the laborious process would have included far too much hand-wringing, and probably some bloodshed.) This year’s divisions are pretty great, and build upon last year’s themes:

  • Crime!
  • Females Are Strong As Hell: Women be doing it for…someone
  • Females Are Strong As Hell: Finding Herself
  • Reality Competition: Cutthroat Island
  • Reality Competition: Oh, that’s nice
  • Pleasant Acres: A Place to Visit
  • Pleasant Acres: We Are Family
  • Let’s Get Drunk
  • That’s Too Much, Man!
  • Reboot/Spinoff: The latest feminism wave
  • Reboot/Spinoff: Everything new is old again
  • Adaptation
  • Comedy Life
  • Family Affair: It’s OK to Laugh
  • Family Affair: Pass the Kleenex

Polls will be open during games, and often a little bit longer. The games have started already, so we’ll kick off this whole affair with CRIME! and FAKE NEWS.

True crime is enjoying a renewed renaissance (it never went away!), which has resulted in a glut of programs on over-the-air channels, a network refresh (Oxygen is coming for Investigation Discovery!), and some very good programming. This stuff is so popular that Netflix allowed itself to be lambasted by satire!

Jason watched American Vandal and has this to say about the series’ worth:

That a “true crime” mockumentary where the fictionalized crime involves dicks and poo can be so compelling and captivating is a testament to the writing of this groundbreaking Netflix parody. Its second season built upon an excellent debut while (and by) adding multiple moving parts layered into a tangled mystery which would make Agatha Christie proud.

The final and second season was released last September.

Fiona is ride or die for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and she had this to say:

Thriving in its new home on NBC, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a buddy-cop comedy with big heart. While comedy is a driving force of the show, the jokes are always carefully crafted, smart, and never at the expense of others. Brooklyn Nine-Nine isn’t afraid to get serious, with episodes about police profiling, active shooters, and discrimination. Captain Holt leads the precinct with wisdom and dry wit. Jake Peralta, the consummate man-child, has done his fair share of growing becoming a better partner and detective along the way. Rosa Diaz can silence you with a look from across the room while Terry Crews is eating yogurt.

True Detective and Dirty John are two dramas inspired by true crime; True Detective wrapped its third season, starring Mahershala and Stephen Dorff as two detectives haunted by the unsolved disappearance of two children in 1980. Nic Pizzolatto returned as show-runner, and with Jeremy Saulnier directing the first two episodes, the third season had a very promising beginning. Many felt wanting at the end, however (which makes sense, that’s how I feel about the series overall).

Fake News begins its battle today, too.

Jason has a lot to say about the wave of comedy-news programs. For The Daily Show he says: While, in the age of deep dives, Trevor’s uber-cool and smooth demeanor can seem deceptively kinder and gentler, when he gets swept up in a feature like “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That” it’s instantly apparent how much of that is facade. The dapper South African has slowly but surely made the correspondents crew his own, featuring standouts like Desi Lydic and Roy Wood, Jr.

…and as for Hasan’s show on Netflix:

The latest Daily Show alum to move into deeper dives, Minhaj has actually out-Oliver’ed Oliver as he spends 20-25 minutes each episode on a single issue — ranging from sneakers to the Indian election. And never question whether he keeps it real, as one of his episodes got Netflix banned in an entire country.

John Oliver and Samantha Bee are head-to-head again. Jason has this to say about John:

Now six seasons in, John Oliver has become a Sunday night institution as he looks at the news at large before diving deeply into a story that you may not know effects you, like civil forfeiture or online shaming, and explains how it impacts all of us. It doesn’t hurt that Oliver is one of the funniest humans on the planet.

…and this to say about Sam:

Not quite as deep with her dives as John Oliver, but more in depth than the features at her old home, The Daily Show, Samantha Bee looks into three different stories a week with the unapologetic rapier wit which have won her many the manchild Reddit “fan.” Boys want to be her, girls want to be her, I wanna be her! Samantha Bee!


4 thoughts on “March Madness 2019 Kickoff!

  1. Ugh. Day one and you’re already giving us impossible choices!!! Where are the 16-vs-1 matchups, like Russian Doll vs. the channel that tells you what shows are on?


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