TV Madness 2019: Manifest, Vikings square off in round 1

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.

Today’s TV Madness showdown is going to be fun, mostly because we’ve got a newcomer in one corner and then an established veteran in the other. Manifest is entering the picture this year after just one season on the air — it’s still managed to generate a lot of hype and a number of fans, so much so that we were willing to seed it pretty high in this tournament! Meanwhile, Vikings has to try and recover from a fairly disappointing outing in 2018 — it’s done well in TV Madness before, but it needs to step up its game here to have a chance to move forward into the round of 16.

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 Sunday, March 17 at 1:00 p.m. Pacific time. The winner of this battle will take on either Poldark or Last Man Standing — whichever show manages to find a way to emerge through what we imagine is going to be a close, intense vote. (Of course, we say this and could be totally off — the unpredictable nature of these polls is one of the reasons why it is so fun!)

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

The competitors

Manifest (#4 seed) – If we were to conjure some sort of elaborate math equation for the show with the highest number of theories per total number of episodes, this one would probably be #1 on the list. Despite only 16 installments in season 1 we have about two hundred different ideas as to what’s going on here — of course, we don’t want to share too much here just because TV Madness is a largely spoiler-free zone! Fans of Manifest know why it is so appealing — great performances, sharp writing, and its ability to give you a mystery that is genuinely worth discussing with friends and family after the fact. How many network shows really do that anymore?

Given that Manifest is competing for the first time, there is a thrill-of-the-unknown factor here. There’s no real way to gauge how it will fare — consider that a conundrum, though probably not one on par with flight 828.

Vikings (#5 seed) – This is, bar none, one of television’s most-underrated shows. We don’t know how you say anything else when you consider the overall quality — intense battles, stellar performances, a wonderful interpretation of history, and also the bravery to kill off major characters (including their leading man!). This is one of those few historical epics that does still have an element of surprise to it and not many shows on television have that (too many shows bring people back from the dead – not this one).

So is this going to be the year that Vikings truly contends for the title? You never want to rule any show out, but you do have to take things one showdown at a time here. Vikings was defeated in the very first round in 2018; the caveat is that it lost to The Brave, a show that managed to win and become the greatest underdog victor in TV Madness history. It’s not so bad losing in the first round when you lost to the eventual winner.

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