Hulu's latest thematic bundling of its online TV content takes the form of a bracket trying to determine the best show on TV. It's a great idea, generally, but it depends on fan voting. So, get excited for the finals showdown between Glee and Modern Family. As with all brackets, it's most exciting at the outset, and this one in particular: By matching similar shows in the opening rounds (cops vs. cops, vampires vs. vampires, etc), they've ensured that the competition will compare apples to apples at least once.
Each round entails a week of fan voting, plus a critic's pick (Hitfix's Alan Sepinwall). For some reason, his choice is given at the outset, which you would think would be unfair, except no one cares what critics think (much to our chagrin, obviously). His vote gets 5 percent, which would make the difference in pretty much none of the match-ups. Here are the most interesting ones, with current voting margins, of the current round:
30 Rock (37%) vs. Community (63%) As clear an indication as any that the old guard is falling. Sepinwall and the voters agree: Community has surpassed arguably the most talent-heavy sitcom on TV. Maybe they're right -- we tend to think Community is already grasping at straws, and this is only season 2.
Family Guy (47%) vs. The Simpsons (53%) It's embarrassing that this is even close. This is one of the great achievements in American pop culture against an extended fart joke. At least The Simpsons has a slight edge.
Modern Family (83%) vs. Cougar Town (17%) The biggest blowout of the first round, but Sepinwall thinks Cougar Town is better? We agree with him that Modern Family has struggled this season, but that seems surprising.
Boardwalk Empire (30%) vs. Mad Men (70%) It's a testament to Boardwalk Empire that it's faring so well against the most uncontestedly great show on TV. This is our favorite example of the problem with the bracket format. Winner here gets the winner between...
Justified (42%) vs. Burn Notice (58%) So yes: doesn't much matter because either one is getting crushed in the next round, but this makes us actually angry. Burn Notice is so inconsequential it was the subject of an entire SNL skit about how inconsequential it is, and Justified is maybe the most entertaining show on TV. Come on, America.
Louie (26%) vs. How I Met Your Mother (74%) Yes, Louie is clearly the better show, and yes, it was obvious that HIMYM would take this one in a walk. Really, we just wanted to include this because it's so fitting for this show to lose to a Friends-esque, still-using-a-laugh-track, down the middle sitcom. What would Louis CK have without constantly being steamrolled by society?
Go vote here, and prevent Justified from going down against such undignified competition.
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