TV Madness: Tournament Overview, Bracket and Fun Statistics

Over the weekend, I prepared a bracket of 64 TV characters that will vie for ultimate supremacy in our TV Madness tournament. Which characters will kill and move on, and which will be left lying in pools of their own blood? That’s for you to decide. Before we start killing people off, let’s take a look at the field of 64.

I performed the seeding of the bracket in as scientific a manner as I could. Each character was assigned a number. I wrote the numbers 1–64 on a piece of paper, cut them out and pulled them two-by-two from a bowl. I know some people have a problem with this seeding technique because it sometimes pits two heavyweights against each other in the first round, but I honestly don’t have the time or energy to determine who should be Number One seeds and who should be the 16th seeds.

This year, I asked for your help in figuring out which characters I should include in the tournament. Thank you for all your suggestions. I implemented many of them to create a varied field of 64 characters spanning the history of television. Since there were so many options, I stayed away from adding more than one character per show, except for a couple of exceptions. I also stayed away from adding any animated characters, since using them in the Movie Madness tournament last year didn’t go over so well. Sorry to those of you who wanted Bender. I stuck with live-action characters this time around.

Before we get down to eliminating contenders, I wanted to take some time to dissect the tournament as it’s constructed. Below you can see the bracket. I’ve separated the four quadrants into easily recognizable sections using different TV technologies to differentiate them. For those of you new to this, each post will consist of one to two match-ups. Each match-up will have a poll where you can vote to determine which character will move on to the next round. The character with the most votes wins. During last year’s movie tournament, a tie-breaker (which was used once) went to the movie or franchise that had the highest domestic box office gross. This time around, we’ll have to do things a bit differently. In case of a tie, the win will go to whichever character had the longest running show by episode count.

Click picture to enlarge.

Tournament Statistics
  • The tournament features 52 male characters and 12 female characters. There’s a lot of capable kick-ass females included this time around.
  • Captain Kirk is the only character (as played by the same actor) to be featured in both the Movie Madness tournament and the TV Madness tournament.
  • By my count, there are 10 characters who have powers above and beyond that of normal human beings.
  • Two characters have super-human abilities because they’re robotic beings, and they’re both female.
  • There are at least 12 characters who I’d say would be more apt at using their brain power over brute force.
  • I had no idea that Hulk Hogan starred in a short-run television series called ‘Thunder in Paradise’ until I put this tournament together. I said to myself, “I’ve got to get Hulk Hogan in here somehow.” Thank you, TV gods.
Heavy Favorites

I knew going into the movie tournament that characters like Darth Vader, Batman and John McClane were heavy favorites that would probably go far in the tournament. It worked out that Vader and Batman met in the finals, with Vader ultimately taking the crown. Things are no different here. Some heavily favored characters have been included in this tournament as well.

With one quick glance, people will easily pick Jack Bauer out of the mix and wonder if anyone could beat him. Even though I had to include him in the tournament, I hesitated just a bit knowing that he starts out with a huge advantage over the other competitors.

We also have Cordell Walker from ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’. Everyone knows what mythical amazingness Chuck Norris is capable of, especially since we’ve been so inundated by those “Chuck Norris Defeats Everything” jokes. I wonder if people will forget the Norris hype and realize that there are quite a few capable competitors in this tournament that could put up a decent fight against him.

Other heavyweights include Hercules (dude is packing around god-like strength), Vic Mackey (a cop that can strike fear into the heart of any human being) and any of the various ‘Star Trek’ characters with huge fan followings.

Dark Horses

I have a few dark horse picks that I think could go far in the tournament given the right circumstances. Omar Little (‘The Wire’) is the scariest drug dealer to ever walk the streets. If you don’t think he can take down a few of the big dogs, then you have another thing coming.

Dean Winchester from ‘Supernatural‘ kills things with special powers for a living. If he comes up against anyone with other-worldly powers, he’ll be more than adept at handling them.

My dark horse pick to go the furthest, if not win outright, is The Tick. I mean, he’s got superhuman strength and he’s too dumb to know when he’s beat. That’s a lethal combination right there. Plus, his crazy amounts of dumb luck will certainly come in handy.

Favorite First Round Match-ups

The match-up featuring Al Capone from ‘Boardwalk Empire‘ (the only historical figure to be included in the tournament) and Worf is one that I’m looking forward to. Capone is nasty in ‘Boardwalk’, but can his nastiness meet the level of warrior spirit from the universe’s most famous Klingon?

I swear that this next match-up was picked out of the bowl without any sort of manipulation on my part. It just so happened that fate wanted us to get a first round match-up featuring two great minds. Many of the participants in this tournament have brawn, but a few have brains. No match-up is more brainy than Lex Luthor (‘Smallville‘) facing off against Sherlock Holmes (‘Sherlock‘). When I saw that match-up form, all I could think of was the infinite possibilities of head games these two would play with each other. Luthor is like a bald Professor Moriarty. It’s going to be awesome.

Thanks for joining us for our March TV Madness Tournament. This is going to be fun. Get your thinking caps on and try to figure out who would truly win in each match-up. I can’t wait to hear your reasoning.

As a special present, a play-in game will be announced in the next post. One character in the tournament has had a few TV-related incarnations. So, like the Batman and Bond playoffs last time, we’ll have a Clark Kent playoff. Stay tuned!


  1. Alex

    Just out of curiosity, does “Bruce Banner” include his “Hulk” alter-ego? Cause that significantly improves his bad-assery.

    Hercules vs. The Incredible Hulk. How has that movie not been made yet?

        • CK

          With Superman and the Hulk in the mix, I wouldn’t expect many of the others to have much of a chance.

          • Yeah, but remember, it’s the TV versions of those characters we’re dealing with. Hulk is just Lou Ferrigno in green makeup. We’ll vote on which Superman to use tomorrow, but it’s basically either a pudgy old man who can break through cardboard walls, a metrosexual douchebag, or an annoying teenager.

          • CK

            True, I had forgotten about that aspect, except for Adam West, who I simply can’t accept as Batman. Superman, it seems, would be a problem regardless, considering he’s always pretty much immune to any weapon most of the other characters could bring in.

            I can’t remember if the Hulk was bulletproof or not, so he could probably just count as a really strong guy, who defeats his enemies by picking up one end of their car and then pushing them through a wall; the enemy, not the car. I do recall him being unhindered by being hit with a pool cue though, so he has that going for him.

  2. JM

    I wonder how this madness would play out if only HDD writers voted. Without the geek mob bias, the results might be more unpredictable.

    Maybe you could post the HDD-only results, like a parallel universe, to compare and contrast the people’s choice vs the critic’s guild.

    • Aaron Peck

      That’s something to take into consideration. Also, it’d be a much smaller sample size so crazier upsets would be easier to come by.

      • JM

        Are the fights going to be persuasively argued before we vote?

        Like each poll has a mini editor roundtable, and we’re the jury?

        • Aaron Peck

          I give my opinions in the post and try to argue for who I think should move on, but that’s about it. Other persuasive arguments can be put together by the voters in the comment section, but as for arguing in behalf of the competitors it’s all me.

          When the Clark Kent Playoff is posted you’ll see how it all works. Look up Movie Madness in the search bar and you’ll find all the posts from last year. Pretty much following the same posting style BUT this time around I’m trying to add some video to the mix to make it even more fun.

    • Aaron Peck

      Sorry, some people just get left off. I have a good reason for leaving off Doctor Who though. 1) I don’t know nearly enough about the show to write anything interesting about it and 2) I would have no idea where to start when it came to a playoff between every Doctor Who there has ever been. When I thought about putting him in my mind nearly went numb thinking of writing a playoff post with nearly a dozen participants from a show I’ve rarely watched.

          • I recommend starting with the modern series (Eccleston through Smith) and if it grabs you enough, go back and peruse the older ones. The early incarnations are pretty dated now, and can be a slog to watch (especially if you’re not already a fan) and you can’t possibly watch them all in order anyway, as many episodes of the original series are lost. Those seasons weren’t very continuity based anyway though, some mini-arcs but mostly monster of the week kind of episodes. The newer series is very continuity heavy and it’s easy to jump right in. I defy you to make it to season three without being hooked.

          • Agree – start with the modern series, which are all available on Netflix and Amazon. The ones with Smith were made to drop you right into the action, but were made for a new generation of fans who could catch on without having seen the previous shows. Once you are hooked, you may want to watch some of the earlier seasons, but, well, they just are not as good. At least, not until you get up into the 80s and 90s – the 60s episodes are, well, pretty bad.

            So yeah, I can see why you don’t want to put The Doctor on the tournament bracket this year, but at least start watching the show. And after you finish the third season or so, start watching Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures – two very good spinoffs.

        • CK

          I guess that I’ll have to consider this whole thing a fight to determine who would have ultimately had to lose to The Doctor.

          • I, too, can’t believe the Doctor didn’t make it. You don’t even have to pick WHICH Doctor (actor) either, since they’re ALL the same Doctor! 🙂

          • Sean Connery and Roger Moore both played the same James Bond, and we made them fight it out.

            Keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily the one and only TV Madness tournament that we’ll ever hold. The good Doctor could appear in a future game.

  3. CK

    One more thing: Just to get it straight this time around, I assume that by “Which characters will kill and move on” it just means “who would win”, considering that some of the characters, like Superman or Magnum generally don’t kill people as quickly as the likes of Dexter or Jack Bauer.

    With the previous tournament, I went with the idea that the one who would get the upper hand first wins; like Batman would defeat the Joker, even though he wouldn’t kill him. Otherwise, there’s no point in including characters that refuse to kill in the first place.

  4. Wow, I much rather would have had the Al Capone from THE UNTOUCHABLES reboot that had William Forsythe in the role…but whatever.

    What were the odds of Fox Mulder squaring off against Dale Cooper in round 1?! It’s an FBI throwdown! 🙂

    • Aaron Peck

      I dunno. I really like how mean Capone is in ‘Boardwalk’. It was a coin-flip though.

      And yes, the famous FBI agent throwdown in the first round is awesomely great.

    • Aaron Peck

      I’m making an executive decision and saying we’re going with Zorro as portrayed by Guy Williams in the Disney live-action series from the 50s.

      You’re right there have been many incarnations of him over the years, but surprisingly many of them have been animated shows. Other than that there’s one other ‘Zorro’ from the 90s that was never nearly as good as Disney’s ‘Zorro’ so that’s why I’m going that route.

  5. JM

    Instead of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ NBC should do ‘Celebrity Battle Royale.’

    If this madness was on television it would run for ten years.

  6. Alex

    Hey Aaron, I’m not sure if this matters, but in the Bill Bixby version (which I assume is what we’re going for), the Hulk’s alter ego is named David Banner rather than Bruce Banner.