TV Madness 2019: Criminal Minds, Absentia face off in Round One

TV Madness 2019 is officially upon us! March is one of our favorite times of the year for many reasons — spring is in the air, the days are getting longer, and the idea of a bracket is a part of our pop-culture lexicon. TV Madness is CarterMatt’s version of March Madness, where a number of fantastic shows from across the map face off against each other. There are seedings, head-to-head showdowns, and the performance of each show is based entirely on you, the reader.

Within this showdown, we’re talking about one of the longest-running television shows out there in Criminal Minds, and it is squaring off against a relative newcomer in Absentia. Yet, the irony here is that Absentia did actually have a stronger performance in the tournament last year than Criminal Minds, which failed to make it out of the play-in. What’s different this time around? Timing can sometimes be everything. Criminal Minds is still fairly fresh off of the news that season 15 will be the final season of the show; meanwhile, Absentia has been off the air for a solid year, though season 2 will be premiering shortly in some parts of the world. How much does buzz matter? This battle could help to determine that.

If you’ve taken part in CarterMatt’s TV Madness before, you likely know how this works — we spotlight the two competitors and then, on the other side of it, give you a poll for you to commence your voting! The poll is located at the bottom of this article.

How voting works – Vote however often you would like! (Technical instructions for multiple voting can be found right above the poll.) We will keep this poll open until Friday, March 15 at 1:00 p.m. Pacific time, which is when the winner will do battle against either The Blacklist or Bodyguard, depending on whatever happens there. We really love this particular part of the bracket, mostly because there are so many quality shows with big, devoted followings.

You can see the full bracket (including start dates for each individual round) in the graphic at the top of this article.

The competitors

Criminal Minds (#4 seed) – After fifteen seasons, it’s still hard to believe it’s ending. This is one of those shows that despite its dark and sinister subject matter, has somehow permeated pop culture and become almost a TV comfort food. It’s enormously popular all over the world and produced some of television’s most iconic characters including people like Spencer Reid and Penelope Garcia. The final season is currently in production.

Depending on when season 15 premieres, this could be the final year in which Criminal Minds is eligible for TV Madness. (Our criteria is that only shows that are still on the air or in limbo are allowed.) We’re going to miss it when it’s gone, but what better way to commemorate it than by winning the tournament? Of course, we don’t imagine that it’s going to have an easy road given its competition this time around…

Absentia (#5 seed) – With Absentia, you have arguably one of the best shows out there that not everyone even knows about just yet. Stana Katic gives a thrilling performance in the first season as former FBI Agent Emily Byrne, a woman who emerges after years of capture and trauma to try to retrace her past — and also clear her name. It’s an edge-of-your-seat thriller that is available on Amazon, and it’s one that you probably won’t be able to stop watching once you start and really dive in there.

Can Absentia make some big, impressive moves in TV Madness this year? Well, it’s already proven that it can! Last year, this is a show that made it all the way to the final four! Whether or not it replicates that run now remains to be seen, but we know that it’s capable — and we certainly know that the show’s overall quality makes it worthy.

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