Merged episodes

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Space

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Merged episodes

#1

Post by Space » Mon Mar 15, 2021 7:22 am

Sometimes Gracenote will merge two episodes of a show in to a single entry (sometimes even more than two). This results in the appearance of missed episodes when you view your recordings sorted by title.

For example, there is a new show starting March 16th called "Holmes Family Effect" on Fox network. It is airing two back-to-back episodes per week (at least for the first two weeks). Each week, these two episodes appear in the guide as one 2-hour block, even though they are actually 2 1-hour episodes of the show.

I was wondering if Gracenote offers any indication that they are combining two episodes in to a single entry, and if so, if there is some way to indicate this in the WMC guide.

Currently the only way to know this is to look at the subtitle of the program, it will have a semi-colon in it, separating the titles of the two episodes. I was hoping that there could be an additional way to indicate that a recording includes more than one episode.

Here is an example for the show "Holmes Family Effect" (note that the first episode currently does not have a proper sXXeXX in the Gracenote guide, but I have added it below to show an example of what I am talking about):

s01e01 A Trade of a Lifetime; Think Big. Dream Bigger. (airing 3/16)
s01e03 One Step at a Time; Hold the Fort (airing 3/23)

As you can see, if you had recorded these episodes, and just do a quick look at your recordings for this show (with sXXeXX prepended to the subtitle) it looks like you are missing two episodes, s01e02 and s01e04 are "missing". However this is not the case, as even though the episodes appear to be single episodes (only one sXXeXX), they are actually two episodes each.

So my question is, does Gracenote provide any way to know that an entry represents more than a single episode? If so, is there a way to represent that in WMC? Even an asterisk next to the sXXeXX would be good, as it lets you know not to be alarmed if the next episode after the asterisked one appears to be missing.

Even if Gracenote does not provide an official way of knowing this, another way to do this is just to look for a semi-colon in the subtitle, and if it exists put the asterisk next to the sXXeXX. I understand that it is possible for the subtitle of a single episode to have a semi-colon in it, but I think that is rare.

The reason why I want this is because by putting an indicator of multiple episodes near the beginning of the subtitle, it makes it viewable in the "View List" view of WMC, which cuts off after about 14-15 characters. So the only way to know if a recording has more than one episode is to highlight the episode to see the full subtitle and look for the semi-colon.

Ideally, instead of the asterisk, you could include all the sXXeXX included in the recording at the beginning of the subtitle, for instance:

s01e01;s01e02 A Trade of a Lifetime; Think Big. Dream Bigger. (airing 3/16)
s01e03;s01e04 One Step at a Time; Hold the Fort (airing 3/23)

Or perhaps a more compact format, such as "s01e01,02" (only if episodes are from the same season).

I know that this change may cause problems with some automated tools that may only be expecting a single sXXeXX, so it should be a configurable option.

I know that this suggestion has a slim chance of being implemented, but I just thought I'd throw it out there, as I've had some instances where I thought I was missing episodes due to not realizing the recording was only reporting the sXXeXX of the first of the two episodes. This option would make it much easier to scan a large list of recorded episodes for a particular series and quickly be able to tell if any are missing.

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#2

Post by NOYB » Mon Mar 15, 2021 5:49 pm

Perhaps an mxf modification script. Maybe just split them into separate programs would be more straight forward.

Here's an example of modifying mxf with a Powershell script.
viewtopic.php?f=99&t=13466

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garyan2

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#3

Post by garyan2 » Mon Mar 15, 2021 6:14 pm

There is nothing in the data from SD that would indicate the schedule entry includes multiple episodes. Nothing I will do for this.

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#4

Post by IT Troll » Mon Mar 15, 2021 9:39 pm

Can’t say I’ve ever seen this issue or the semicolon naming convention. In my guide back-to-backs always have separate entries.
Perhaps it is just certain channels/data feeds which do this?
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#5

Post by Space » Tue Mar 16, 2021 1:18 am

I'm not a fan of splitting multi-episode program entries, as there is no way to know how to split them. Just splitting them in half may be correct, but often you may end up with part of the first episode in the second episodes recording, or vice versa, and I would rather not have that happen.

Gary, does Gracenote only include the information for the first episode for multi-episode timeslots? Is the tmsId the same as for the single episode? I would think not, as I have seen in the past where WMC recorded the multi-episode timeslot, but also when re-broadcast as separate episodes, it did not see that single episode as the same episode and wanted to record it.

I assume that it is Gracenote that is creating the subtitle by pasting the two subtitles together with a semicolon separator. I assume the season/episode information provided by Gracenote is simply the information for the first episode and the second episode is ignored completely (as there is probably no established mechanism for including multiple episode information).

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#6

Post by NOYB » Tue Mar 16, 2021 1:55 am

Could just run a script to modify the season and/or episode numbers, title, etc. as you mentioned.
The key though is how programmatically determine which programs and what modification to make to them. If you can figure that out, doing the actual mxf file mods before import should be easy.

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#7

Post by Space » Tue Mar 16, 2021 2:09 am

Yes, the problem is that it doesn't look like any info for the second episode is provided by Gracenote in the program entry (other than the subtitle) so you would have to look up that information from some other source.

I would guess that Gracenote does have information on that second episode, so you could probably look it up in Schedules Direct if they provide a way to lookup up by subtitle.

If you go here and click on the "Upcoming Episodes" tab, you can see that it has two upcoming timeslots with the semicolon separated subtitles. However, if you click on the "Episode Guide" tab, you can see that it knows that there are 4 separate episodes, however it has two separate episodes for number s01e1 and s01e03. One with just the first subtitle, and one with the "subtitle; subtitle". So internally, Gracenote knows that there are two separate episodes, so you may be able to query that through the Schedules Direct API.

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#8

Post by garyan2 » Tue Mar 16, 2021 3:06 am

I think "Holmes Family Effect" is going through some growing pains. Remember, SD/Gracenote lists what the broadcaster tells them to list. The broadcaster combined those episodes together as far as I know. BUT, it appears to be in the process of being fixed. The program ID for the first and second episode was EP037448960001 with season/episode numbers of S1:E1. Now, EP037448960001 is just the first episode. Same for episode 3, it was 3 and 4, now just episode 3. Episodes 2 & 4 now have their own program IDs.

The episode coming up, which is a repeat of episodes 1 & 2, has a program ID of EP037448960005 and does not have any season/episode information in the JSON so EPG123 will show it as #5.

EPG123 is not going to "correct" any perceived errors in the data. Too many things that can go wrong. It will build the guide as provided by SD/Gracenote, right or wrong or inconvenient.
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#9

Post by garyan2 » Tue Mar 16, 2021 3:24 am

garyan2 wrote:
Tue Mar 16, 2021 3:06 am
The episode coming up, which is a repeat of episodes 1 & 2, has a program ID of EP037448960005 and does not have any season/episode information in the JSON so EPG123 will show it as #5.
That was true earlier today when I looked, but it now has S/E numbers 1 and 1.

I wonder if the problem is because these were originally aired in Canada in February and maybe that provider joined the episodes but is currently in the process of being split. Dunno.
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#10

Post by NOYB » Tue Mar 16, 2021 3:47 am

If this is not a long running series you could just manually tweak and import the mxf file to your liking for those programs. Just be sure not to run another guide update until after the tweaked programs are recorded. Or modify metadata of program(s) after recorded.

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#11

Post by NOYB » Tue Mar 16, 2021 3:51 am

I was wondering where those #n designations came from. Now I know. Or at least I think I know.

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#12

Post by Gripweed » Tue Mar 16, 2021 4:10 am

Holmes Family Effect is not a Fox show. It was originally broadcast on Canada's CTV. There are several programs out that will use theTVDB, TVMaze and other databases to accurately name TV shows based on original air dates. I personally use TV Rename https://www.tvrename.com/ which handles multiple-episodes quite well, either separating or keeping them together (S01E01-E02) based on your preference. In this case it wouldn't matter since they were broadcast originally as separate episodes on separate days.

From theTVDB:
Damn! I can never get the imgur images to show here.

Go here instead: https://thetvdb.com/series/holmes-famil ... official/1

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#13

Post by Space » Tue Mar 16, 2021 4:50 am

I just used that show because it was demonstrating the issue and was currently in the guide. There have been many other examples of this in the past (two episodes in one block).

For instance "The Masked Dancer" did this with it's last two episodes, and they still have it listed in the "Episode Guide" ("Road to the Finals - Final Clues to the Mask!; The Finale - One Last Mask!", "Road to the Finals - Final Clues to the Mask!", and "The Finale - One Last Mask!") as can be seen here (click on Episode Guide tab).

This is not usually something that is "fixed" (split in to separate episodes) before airing. I have seen it many, many times, and have many examples of it for many shows in my recording history.

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#14

Post by Gripweed » Tue Mar 16, 2021 6:11 pm

That's true that this "is not usually something that is "fixed" (split in to separate episodes) before airing" but it can be done by manually setting up each time slot for the separate episode. Otherwise you are at the mercy of Gracenote and SD. It seems to be their policy to handle consecutive new multiple episodes on the same day this way. On the other hand, it seems to be the policy of theTVDB, TVMaze, TMDB, and IMDB to keep all episodes separate. As I said previously, there are programs available that will rename post-recording those episodes based on the various databases.

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#15

Post by IT Troll » Tue Mar 16, 2021 9:52 pm

Gripweed wrote:
Tue Mar 16, 2021 6:11 pm
Otherwise you are at the mercy of Gracenote and SD. It seems to be their policy to handle consecutive new multiple episodes on the same day this way.
I’m not sure it is their policy. They will just aggregate the various data feeds they receive from upstream providers. I’ve not seen this issue with the guide for UK channels.

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#16

Post by Space » Wed Mar 17, 2021 12:27 am

If you look at TitanTV.com, the guide has separate episodes, if you look at tvguide.com (Rovi) they have the two episodes as one block, just like Gracenote.

I'm not sure how the upstream provider sends them the information, but assuming they use the same provider, and the episodes are in one block from them, then TitanTV is doing it's own splitting. If so, I think it is a bit dangerous, because it is possible that the first episode has more commercials then the second and doesn't end at exactly 1 hour from when it started. Assuming that both episodes are the same length and splitting them is not a good idea.

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#17

Post by Gripweed » Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:51 am

Again, some post-processing will fix it all up. Sometimes you just have to get your hands dirty. If it bothers you enough then you should file a complaint with SD who will file a complaint with Gracenote.

TitanTV? Does anyone really use that?

I'm not convinced that tvguide.com is part of Rovi (Tivo) any more. It appears that they are buried within CBS and are part of a group called Red Ventures that includes things like CNet and TV.com.

What gets my goat isn't Gracenote's fault but the networks when they run (Damn, I know there is a name for it but I can't think of it) one show and follow up the plot on another show and then end it on another show. The "Chicago" shows are known for it. Also, Supergirl then The Flash and then some other show in the same genre. I think L&O used to do it with some other show at least once a season. The trouble is that my wife doesn't watch all her shows at the same pace. She'd come to me complaining that the episode makes no sense. Of course it doesn't, she needed to watch 2 other shows before the plot made sense.

Edit: I meant to add (but I got called away) that in this case I almost wish Gracenote would list them as one 3 hr. (or whatever) show. Each individual show is worthless without the others.
Last edited by Gripweed on Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#18

Post by garyan2 » Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:52 am

The term is 'crossover'. And regardless of the relationship between Rovi and tvguide.com, their guide listings are exactly the same.
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#19

Post by Gripweed » Wed Mar 17, 2021 5:11 am

Crossover! That's it. Thank you. I just turned 65 so I'm starting to need a little help sometimes. :crazy:

A little more searching and you are right again. At http://prod-doc.rovicorp.com/mashery/in ... i/overview I found this:
Rovi REST TV Listings gives you access to the television database created by TV Guide, the popular weekly American television magazine. Today that database takes in 5 million program changes every 24 hours and powers TV data, images, and schedules in magazines, websites, and television program guides in over three dozen countries.

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