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Original Issue

Stop. Watch.

Barcelona vs. Real Madrid is truly must-see TV

America's got talent, but have you seen Spain? Last week brought the season premiere of TV's most mesmerizing series, as Barcelona and Real Madrid again battled, this time with Lionel Messi's 88th-minute volley in the second of two Spanish Supercopa games proving the difference in Barca's 5--4 aggregate win.

The duel is appointment viewing: In seven recent games there have been heroes (Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo) and villains (Madrid manager José Mourinho gouging a Barca coach's eyes) and comedy (Sergio Ramos dropping the Copa del Rey trophy under a bus).

It will only get better. The 109-year rivals play no fewer than two more times this season. When they meet next, on Dec. 11, the plotline will be revenge—for the eye-gouging and for all the slights between Spaniards and Catalans. Meanwhile, suspensions provide plot twists and signings add new characters (Jersey-born Giuseppe Rossi seems Blaugrana-bound).

Considering the TV landscape—The Office is under renovation, Mad Men is off till March, Breaking Bad is winding down—El Clasico may be the most surefire show around.