March-Madness

The round one voting is in and tallied, and we’ve eliminated half the field. There were some landslides and some big upsets, but the #1 seeds keep their streak of flawlessness in the first round. Two second seeds are down, though.

If you want to see how the votes broke down, the results are posted over here, along with some ground rules if you need a refresher or you’re new to what’s going on.

Here’s how the bracket stands. (Or do download the updated PDF to see easier, click here.)

ultimate media bracket remaining

With that, let’s get into the matchups for round 2!



 

Book Region

book round 2

The Matchups

#1 The Lord of the Rings – 80% – WINNER

#8 Jurassic Park – 20%

I was honestly a little surprised that Jurassic Park made it past The Golden Compass in the opening round, and by nearly a 2:1 margin at that. I have to wonder how many people were voting based on the respective movies rather than the books themselves. Anyways, it’s a well won victory, but much as I LOVE Michael Crichton, I can’t see an upset here. The Lord of the Rings isn’t going to sweep Jurassic Park like it did I Am the Messenger, but I still expect a pretty one-sided affair. And its victory, should it prevail, reflects its position as some of the most influential fantasy written since the Arthurian tales.

#13 The Silmarillion – 37.5%

#12 Redwall Series – 62.5% – WINNER

A battle of upstarts, both of which made it into round two by some of the slimmest margins of victory in all of the first round. It’s also a rather curious matchup that’s formed. The Silmarillion is sort of like a grown up and slightly condensed Redwall series. They’re both mythic tales of the history of a land; one (Redwall) is just much more approachable. Hard to say what happens here. A Sweet Sixteen matchup between The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion would be quite interesting, but the full Redwall series is going to be tough for Tolkien to top.

#15 A Farewell to Arms – 30%

#7 Harry Potter Series – 70% – WINNER

As much as I love A Farewell to Arms, I was very disappointed to see The Crossing fall in round one, probably due to an extreme lack of recognition, comparatively. A Farewell to Arms will have no such luck in the second round, however, coming up against probably the most widely known item in the Book Region of the bracket. At times it’s tough to remember how culturally influential the Harry Potter books were in their heyday. They were everywhere. They dominated the conversation. I remember in high school my youth group left for a missions trip the day after The Half-Blood Prince came out and at least half of us had a copy.

#3 Ender’s Game – 80% – WINNER

#6 The Road – 20%

This is easily the best matchup this round in the Book region, and might be the most interesting in all of round two. Seminal sci-fi versus preeminent literary post-apocalypse. Obviously based on seeding I lean towards Ender’s Game, but the margin between these two books is razor thin. If The Crossing is going to get an early exit, the hopes for Cormac McCarthy in this bracket rest on The Road. On the other hand, after Ender’s Shadow‘s upset at the hands of Redwall, Orson Scott Card’s fortunes are now solely on Ender’s Game. This feels like a later round matchup already.



 

Movie Region

movie round 2

The Matchups

#1 Forrest Gump – 60% – WINNER

#9 School of Rock – 40%

The remaining bracket in the Movies Region is more by-the-seeds than any other, with #12 Master and Commander staging the only real upset. School of Rock barely squeaked by Her, tying the Redwall series for the slimmest margin of victory in the first round. And now it comes up against the #1 seed. Does it have a chance? Maybe. I love Forrest Gump with all my heart, and it’s undeniably good. But School of Rock is a quality motion picture in its own right. I still expect Forrest Gump to take the day, but I think it ends up closer than you might expect.

#4 The Shawshank Redemption – 60% – WINNER

#12 Master and Commander – 40%

I was surprised – even a little pleasantly surprised – at the outpouring of support for Master and Commander, which completed the round one upset with an astounding 82% of the vote. But a bit like A Farewell to Arms‘s victory over The Crossing, I think it benefitted greatly from simple recognition over the much older Butch Cassidy. That won’t hold through Shawshank, though the matchup remains interesting. The two movies have a somewhat similar feel, of a group of mens’ struggle against adversity (albeit adversity of very different sorts). Is Master and Commander more well-remembered than I thought? Maybe, but Shawshank is definitely not forgotten.

#2 Star Wars Original Trilogy – 60% – WINNER

#7 The Dark Knight Trilogy – 40%

I was very surprised that The Dark Knight Trilogy didn’t get a stronger round one challenge from the Jason Bourne movies, and I think it’s a matter of, “What have you done for me lately?” Which isn’t to sell Batman’s best cinematic outing short; it’s incredible. But let’s be real: it has no shot against the good Star Wars movies, right?

#3 Toy Story Trilogy – 40%

#6 Ocean’s Eleven – 60% – WINNER

Tough draw for Ocean’s Eleven, but I don’t really see a path forward for it. It’s a great movie, but it’s up against one of the all-time great animated franchises. The first two made Pixar; the third capped one of the greatest runs of success any production house has ever seen. If the Ocean’s sequels had been strong enough to stand with the first this might have been a competition. With apologies to Steven Soderbergh, give me Buzz and Woody.



 

TV Region

tv round 2

The Matchups

#1 The West Wing – 44.44%

#9 Arrested Development – 55.56% – WINNER

I expected Arrested Development to have a tougher time overcoming Scrubs, and in the early running it was close. But time to focus on the round two matchup. Arrested Development had effectively two and a half seasons of greatness, then hurt itself a little with the Netflix comeback. The West Wing is one of the all-time great TV shows that had about a 3/4 of a season lull in the course of seven seasons. Both are sharply written, but The West Wing manages both comedy and gut-punch drama. A matchup of two great shows, but in this case, one just seems head and shoulders above the other.

#4 – 30 Rock – 55.56% – WINNER

#12 M*A*S*H – 44.44%

I didn’t expect enough people had seen M*A*S*H to propel it to an upset over Avatar. But hey! That’s cool. And it makes for an interesting matchup, because on one hand you have 30 Rock: one of the best, funniest, most clever sitcoms in recent memory, but a show which constantly struggled for good ratings while it aired. And on the other hand is M*A*S*H, a brilliant show in its own right, the finale of which was one of the most watched TV episodes of all time, but an older show that fewer people may remember well.

#15 Game of Thrones – 45.45%

#10 Mythbusters – 54.55% – WINNER

I like Game of Thrones, but its win over Batman: The Animated Series is the round one upset I’m mad about more than any other. Think about it this way: The Dark Knight was a great take on Batman, right? Batman: TAS is WAY better. Ugh. But everyone’s all into Game of Thrones right now. Ok, rant over. I’m genuinely curious if Game of Thrones can carry the mojo over Mythbusters, which had so many seasons of brilliance. Such different shows in contest here.

#3 The Office (US) – 66.67%

#11 Chuck – 33.33%

I can’t believe Chuck actually beat Batman Beyond. But ok. Nice little upset. Not to be demeaning, because I really like you, Chuck, but this is as far as you go.



 

Video Game Region

video game round 2

The Matchups

#1 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – 14.29%

#9 Super Smash Bros. – 85.71% – WINNER

This is a deceptively tough matchup, as there’s a lot of Smash love to go around, fueled by nostalgia and memories of playing with friends. But for me, those memories, of which there are many, can’t touch the wonder and beauty of Ocarina of Time. It’s the best, most memorable, most inspiring game I’ve ever played.

#13 Star Wars: Battlefront 2 – 80% – WINNER

#12 Super Mario Galaxy – 20%

I have no idea which way this matchup is going to tilt. By just about any metric, Galaxy is the superior game. But Battlefront‘s multiplayer can’t be underestimated; online competition just creates different situations and thrills than a tight single player mode. They’re so different, but both so good at what they do. Really, the entirety of the Video Game Region is filled with interesting matchups.

#2 The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask – 20%

#7 Knights of the Old Republic – 80% – WINNER

Talk about a competition between two great single player games! KOTOR is obviously the more narratively proficient of the two, although Majora’s Mask does more than several other Zelda games in that department. Majora’s Mask has the edge in gameplay, although it depends a bit on whether you prefer its action-oriented gameplay to KOTOR‘s more strategic system. As for simple cool factor, you have Majora’s mask transformations versus KOTOR‘s epic reveal and the fact that it makes you really feel like a Jedi. Tight, tight race here.

#3 Mass Effect Trilogy – 40%

#6 Portal Series – 60% – WINNER

As I said in the first round Mass Effect is *this* close to eclipsing the N64 Zelda games (or at least Majora’s Mask) for a higher seeding. I love the galaxy and galactic community that Mass Effect creates, the overall narrative is very strong, and the characters are some of the best in any video game. But speaking of great characters, you have GLaDOS taunting you through most of both Portal games, and a strong supporting cast in Portal 2Portal is also home to some of the coolest gameplay and puzzle solving. Your favorite probably depends on which you prefer: great narrative, or great puzzles.



 

Schedule:

Round 1 – 3/8 thru 3/13 – VIEW RESULTS

Round 2 – 3/14 thru 3/24 – VIEW RESULTS

Sweet Sixteen – 3/25 thru 3/28 – VIEW RESULTS

Elite Eight – 3/29 thru 4/1

Final Four – 4/2 thru 4/4

Final – 4/5 thru 4/10

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