I imagine my arrival at the pearly gates will be a grumpy one. Not because I’ll be displeased at my own demise; with advances in modern medicine I’ll probably dodge coffins past 100 and be mighty proud of myself for achieving such a span. I’ll be ticked off because I’m missing my favourite shows while St. Peter (or whoever mans the post) and I have the obligatory chat. You see the idiot box and I are good old pals, even if we get on each other’s nerves once in a while.
Keeping track of what shows you want to watch, and their various series, seasons and episodes, can get annoying. ‘What episode is this?’, ‘When’s the finale?’ and ‘What time does ‘House’ start at?’ are questions that pass through my mind regularly. If only there was one of those new-fangled apps I hear so much about…
And lo, the powers that be created Episodes: an Android app that keeps track of the shows you watch and how they’re progressing. Joe Casabona talked about Episodes before, when comparing it to three other TV apps; in this article, we’re going to focus entirely on just the one.
Episodes, created by Nadav Fima takes on the hefty task of corralling the vast realm of TV shows onto you mobile phone. Of the thousands of shows available, you search for and select those you watch or intend to.
I’ll put this bluntly as possible, mostly because it mirrors how bluntly and blatantly obvious it became almost instantly that Episodes wasn’t going to work for me: I instantly disliked Episodes. Why? Because I live in Ireland, which I’ll admit as a small nation wouldn’t be on the top of my list to support when developing an app, but a warning would have been nice before I shelled out the cash.
I watch The Simpsons. As many people do across the world. The app had support for the show complete with episode guides and plenty of images. But the only times available were for the FOX channel in the US. I was sorely disappointed. I tried in vain to find any show relating to countries such as France, Ireland and Germany. The UK is supported a little, but only with shows which are primarily British. Foreign shows run into the same brick wall as above.
So from here on out I’ll continue to review this app from the point of somebody that lives in the States. If you call some other land your home then look elsewhere. Or emigrate.
Now that I was on East Coast time (at least in my mind anyway) the app started to work the way I had expected. Every show I could think of (and regional ones I had to research to really put the app to the test) were supported. This is due to TV Rage supplying the app with listings and show information. They do great work, I must say, and integrate well with the app.
Navigation is easy given the small number of menus (in a good way) and the pull to refresh is a nice addition that was made in a recent update. You can mark particular episodes as ‘Watched’ so you always know how far you are into a series. Adding a show is as easy as pressing the search icon in the top right hand corner, entering the name of a show, selecting the appropriate result, and then adding it to your shows.
It can be a little buggy at times and I got a couple of force closes whilst searching for and adding shows. Bummer.
Episodes looks okay. The colour scheme is mostly grey with dashes of red here and there, as you can see. The pages of individual shows I quite like, as they’re full of graphics and images. The home screen (the list of your shows) is a little bland in my opinion and could do with sprucing up. After all, the app concerns watching TV, not reading the Sunday business section.
I do like how the list on the home screen allows quite large spaces for each show to display additional information and not make selecting a show like picking a lock. The menu along the bottom of the screen when checking out an individual show is also well done, easy to use, looks good and keeps out of the way by being quite skinny.
So what do I think of Episodes as an app? It’s a tough one. The new found New Yorker in me quite likes it. He thinks it has heaps of potential, especially with the likes of TV Rage giving support. Irish me isn’t letting the minimal compatibility with Europe slide that easily however. An Android Market warning would have been nice. Episodes would definitely work its way into my ‘use every day’ batch of apps if they updated it with support for Europe.
It is useful, though — particularly if you’re a fan of watching series as opposed to just dropping in front of the TV and seeing what’s on right there and then. It’s easy to use and better than your average TV guide app.
I’d recommend this app as it currently stands to TV fans in the US and would gladly write up a further review should they decide to support other locations more thoroughly. My overall point is that it works well and don’t let my initial disappointment persuade you otherwise. Episodes helps you organise your TV shows and even acts as an impromptu fan’s guide (reading up on old episodes of TV shows). It’s well worth the $0.99 price tag and the small amount of time it takes to set it up with your favorite shows; ready to keep you posted at all times.