The new fall TV season is upon us and, if you’re anything like me, you’re already giddy with excitement to see your favorite shows return or new ones grace your screen. This TV season promises to be quite impressive, with How I Met Your Mother bowing for its final run, The Big Bang Theory’s nerds improving their social skills one awkward step at a time, Scandal continuing to grab everyone’s attention, and Revolution, Elementary and Arrow returning after a lot of success in their first season.
That’s not to mention the many new exciting shows and incredible actors coming back to TV. James Spader is already causing trouble on The Blacklist, Andy Samberg has induced many giggles on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Robin Williams is going bonkers on The Crazy Ones, Tony Shalhoub and Michael J Fox are set for a big comeback in We Are Men and The Michael J Fox Show respectively. And did I even mention the high-concept Sleepy Hollow and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D?
So how do you keep track of what’s airing and when? There are probably dozens of solutions, but none have worked for me over the past couple of years as well as SeriesGuide. Being a self-confessed TV addict — my Trakt profile tells me I’ve seen over 5000 episodes in more than 80 series — I can vouch for how well SeriesGuide works for any serious TV enthusiast and in the following post I’ll show you the three features that I really love about it.
Collected, Seen and Loved
Social TV services like GetGlue, Miso and IntoNow focus on the casual aspect of viewing. GetGlue for example doesn’t let you check in to individual episodes, and most of these services don’t differentiate between watching an episode, owning it or loving it. For example, I own series in my collection that I haven’t watched yet, I have seen shows that I don’t own anymore, and I have watched shows or episodes that I didn’t like. None of the above services lets me differentiate between these states.
That’s where Trakt.tv and its SeriesGuide integration comes in. The service lets me mark individual episodes as collected and/or seen, rate them, and by signing in with my Trakt ID on SeriesGuide, I can sync all those different statuses with my account and across several Android devices — of course you can still use the functionality on SeriesGuide without signing in to Trakt, but you won’t be able to sync that data with the web or other devices.
SeriesGuide even goes a few steps further, with a Mark All option for seasons, to set them as seen/not seen or collected/not collected. This handy option simplifies the process of updating the status of all my shows. Once I took the time to set up SeriesGuide and Trakt with all my shows’ progress, it became the de-facto library for my TV series.
Calendar and Activity
What good is a TV series tracker if it doesn’t notify you of new episodes before they air? SeriesGuide answers this by supporting several methods for tracking new episodes:
- Manually: you open the Activity tab and look at the Recent and Upcoming episodes.
- Notifications (only in the paid version): automatically uses the Android notifications to let you know when episodes start airing. It can also be set to notify you 5 or 10 minutes or 1 hour in advance.
- Widgets: the SeriesGuide widget can display Upcoming or Recently aired episodes.
- Calendar: the calendar button under any episode in SeriesGuide lets you add an appointment for the episode’s date.
I personally use the manual method, since I live outside of the USA and can’t watch shows live, so their exact airing date is irrelevant to me. I just keep an eye on the Recent Activity tab, to know when new episodes of my favorite shows have already aired.
Check-In and Shout
If watching TV is a social activity for you, and you want to “check-in” to new episodes and share your comments about them, SeriesGuide supports 2 services: Trakt.tv and GetGlue. Every episode has a handy “Check In” button that allows you to post it to either or both services, with a personal opinion. The Trakt integration goes a little deeper with a “Comments” section for every show and episode that lands you right into its Trakt shouts section where you’ll be able to read and write opinions.
More, So Much More
Despite its clean UI and its rather simple UX — which won it a spot on Google’s selection of top apps for 2012! — SeriesGuide is a complex and feature-filled app that doesn’t skimp on options. Here are a few other features that I love about it:
- Access to my full Trakt library when adding a show to SeriesGuide, so I don’t have to manually search, and can instead quickly tap the + button to add several shows.
- A beautiful and functional tablet interface that makes use of the entire screen to present my shows and their details.
- 3 themes — 2 dark ones and one light — that are perfect for different devices and screens.
- Offline support so I can still browse my library and discover details about specific episodes and series.
- Quick links to the IMDB and TVDb page of every show and episode, along with their TVDb ratings.
- DashClock integration to see the next episode about to air.
- Personal lists to manage single episodes or even seasons. These help me categorize my library even further.
- A fun Statistics page displays the number of shows and episodes in SeriesGuide, with the ones I have watched along with their total runtime.
- A Movies section that lets me view my Trakt Movies Watchlist, search for movies, read their synopsis, check-in to them, read and post Trakt shouts, and access their IMDb page and trailers.
Perfect Companion for the TV Addict
I love SeriesGuide — there is no other way to put it. It is one of the first apps I install on any Android device I use, and allows me to keep track of all my TV series library. From collected to seen and/or loved, SeriesGuide integrates seamlessly with Trakt and lets me manage my shows, check into them, and keep an eye on new episodes as soon as they air. The app is also beautiful to look at, functional, and keeps improving with every iteration.
SeriesGuide could easily be used by casual TV viewers, but most of its benefits will be lost on them. Those will only be apparent to hardcore TV fans and collectors, who follow and love series and await for each fall’s TV season impatiently with a calendar in one hand and a remote control in the other.