Track Your Favorite Shows With TVShow Time

When it gets to the point that I need assistance to track all of my favorite television shows, I may finally have to admit there’s a problem. That problem, of course, being that show producers need to stop churning out so much quality programming. I currently follow over 20 active shows, and without assistance it’s nearly impossible to keep tabs of when episodes are airing or have aired. Also, since I’m a cord cutter I watch very few shows live, so remembering which episode I streamed last can, at times, be a challenge.

To help with such endeavors I scoured the App Store to find an television show tracking app. Turns out there are a handful of apps that fit this bill, but truth be told, TVShow Time stands out above all others. Find out why after the jump.

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Getting Started

Once you initially open TVShow Time you’re prompted to take a tour, log in or get started. You have the option to log in with a Facebook or Twitter account, or sign up via email. Off the bat, developer Toze Labs sets a great tone by not requiring the use of a social network account, which has been a known issue with quite a few apps.

 Log in via social networks or email, or skip logging in entirely.

Log in via social networks or email, or skip logging in entirely.

If you go the route of getting started, you’re presented with a list of shows to add to your watch list. Once that’s finished, you’ll need to select the last episode you watched for each show, and then sign up for an account. During this final last step you can tap a Later button at the bottom to bypass creating an account. If you go this route your data won’t be backed up, but that’s a concession I know some are willing to make for the sake of not having to create yet another account.

Though cool that you can add shows to track from the get go, the experience is better in the Explore view.

Though cool that you can add shows to track from the get go, the experience is better in the Explore view.

Adding Shows

Finding shows to track in TVShow Time can be done in a number of manners, but I’ll only touch upon the two best options. For either method, begin by tapping the hamburger icon in the upper-left to open the sidebar. From here, you can search for a show by way of the search field at the top, which is the best option for adding a single show. However, tapping the Explore button is a better way to go for your initial setup.

TVShow Time utilizes a sidebar for main navigation purposes, which I'm always a fan of.

TVShow Time utilizes a sidebar for main navigation purposes, which I’m always a fan of.

The Explore view lists the most followed TV shows, and you can scroll through and tap the plus icon for shows you wish to track. Sorting options are available at the bottom, allowing you to select a specific genre, change the sorting criteria (e.g. new series instead of most followed), or display only web series or lists (e.g. Sci-Fi, US TV Series, Favorite British Shows). After roughly five minutes in the Explore view I was able to find and add most of my favorite shows.

The Explore view offer numerous methods to find all of your favorite shows.

The Explore view offer numerous methods to find all of your favorite shows.

Tracking Your Progress

My biggest issue with most other TV show tracking apps is their methodology for marking episodes as watched. For instance, I’ve watched all eight seasons of How I Met Your Mother, and I don’t care to mark every single episode as watched so that the app knows my progress. TVShow Time takes an incredibly smart and simple approach to this issue by use of sliders. When you tap on a show in either the Explore or My Shows view each season is listed with an episode count, and by performing a simple slide gesture an entire season gets marked as watched.

Quickly mark full seasons as watched by dragging the slider right.

Quickly mark full seasons as watched by dragging the slider right.

When it comes time to mark an individual episode as watched, you’ll need to head to the To Watch view. As the name would imply, this view lists each show with episodes you have yet see. So, when you’ve watched an episode you can tap the empty circle icon located on the far right. From here a group of emoticons will be displayed, allowing you to select the emotion that best fits your reaction to the episode, which is all part of TVShow Time’s social aspect (more on this to follow). This latter bit is completely optional, and can be bypassed by refreshing the list.

The To Watch list is where you'll end up spending most of your time.

The To Watch list is where you’ll end up spending most of your time.

Agenda & Notifications

The Agenda view is the where to go for a list upcoming episodes for all of your shows. By default this view will initially display episodes from the previous day (if applicable), and follow-up with upcoming episodes for the current week and beyond. By scrolling up you can view see all episodes you’ve yet to watch with their original air date.

You can change the starting point (e.g. a week ago instead of yesterday) for the Agenda in the Options view.

You can change the starting point (e.g. a week ago instead of yesterday) for the Agenda in the Options view.

Another aspect that makes TVShow Time stand apart from competing apps is how it handles notifications; accessed by tapping the bell icon in the upper-right in the Agenda view. For starters, you can alter notification options for individual shows, meaning you can choose to be notified an hour before Community starts and 12 hours after a new Futurama airs. This setup is particularly beneficial for cord cutters like myself, that watch shows on the major networks as they air, but stream all other shows.

Change notification options for individual shows, or simply roll with a default option.

Change notification options for individual shows, or simply roll with a default option.

Getting Social

TVShow Time can be used, exclusively, as a TV show tracking utility. However, for those interested, it also features various social elements. As stated previously, when you mark an episode as watched you can select an emoticon to signify your reaction to said episode. Each emoticon has a number count, giving you a snapshot of other TVShow Time user’s reaction to the episode. You can also view and post comments for individual episodes, letting everyone know what you liked or disliked most.

Comment with other users about an episode, or just see other people's reactions.

Comment with other users about an episode, or just see other people’s reactions.

The News view acts as a blog within the app, showcasing stories and posts from social networks in relation to a show. For instance, you might see fan art, fan made videos or series achievements (e.g. a series that’s reached 10,000 TVShow Time followers), and you can choose to like or comment on any of these posts. It’s not an area I find myself in a lot, but I’ve found some interesting items from time to time.

The News often features some cool fan art.

The News often features some cool fan art.

The Bottom Line

I’m of a strong opinion that TVShow Time is the best app in its category. I love the variety of options available to find shows to track, and the ease at which I can mark full seasons as watched without requiring several hundred taps. I also greatly appreciate the flexibility the app offers in way of notifications, and not sandboxing me into a single default option. The icing on the cake is that the app is simple to navigate.

In terms of accessibility, TVShow Time actually fairs somewhat well, though it’s not without its issues. The hamburger icon is inconsistently labeled, being titled differently depending on which view you’re in. Also, the emoticons that normally appear after marking an episodes as watched are selectable while using VoiceOver, even though an episode has yet to be marked as watched.

If you find yourself following at least a few shows, TVShow Time is a terrific app to have in your arsenal. Throughout a season, shows are known to go on multi-week breaks quite often, making it easy for you to miss an episode when the show returns. For the price of nothing, why not use TVShow Time to avoid such an occurrence?


Summary

Track your TV show watching progress and engage with other viewers.

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  • http://timstringer.com/ Tim Stringer

    I took a look at TVShow Time. It has some impressive features, but overall I prefer iTV Shows 2. I find its user interface is cleaner and more intuitive than that of TVShow Time.