I’m a science fiction fan. And I want my science fiction at my fingertips. To that end, I have slowly been digitizing my favorite series (e.g., Star Trek, Stargate, and now Doctor Who) and putting them on my fileserver that uses Plex to serve the episodes to whatever device I want. I recently ran into an issue with how to organize Doctor Who episodes on my fileserver and, once I figured it out, I thought I’d share it here in case others run into the same situation.
First, props to Doctor Who for occasionally having specials. They are always well done and lots of fun. So, I’m certainly not complaining. BUT, the problem is that the specials are not technically part of a season. That causes some challenges when it comes to how to organize the files.
I use tinyMediaManager for organizing my movies and TV shows on my file server. Not only does tinyMediaManager pull down all the information for my movies and TV shows but it also has the ability to rename the files and organize them. I like how it does all of this and it plays nice with Plex as well, which is important.
Now enter the problem with Doctor Who. Like most TV shows, Doctor Who has seasons. The standard ways to indicate the season and episode of a show are to include something like the following in the name of the digital file: “S03E14.” This indicates the show is from Season (“S”) 03 and is the 14th Episode (“E”) from that season. This works great for most of Doctor Who since most of the content is episodes.
But, what about the specials? The creators of Doctor Who regularly release off-season or out-of-season specials. These don’t get a season episode number. When I tried to get tinyMediaManager to scrape the specials, it didn’t know what to do with them. Basically, it ignored them because it didn’t know what they were since I didn’t know what to name them.
After a little googling, I found out that “Specials” have a special Season designation: “00.” So, for the first Doctor Who (2005) special called “The Christmas Invasion,” that aired on December 25, 2005, how you can name that file is:
Doctor Who – S00E167 – The Christmas Invasion
The naming convention breaks down like this. “S00” tells both Plex and tinyMediaManager that it is a “special.” tinyMediaManager then moves it into a folder called “Specials.” The “E167” is the episode number for the entire series (from Wikipedia). Once I figured this out, tinyMediaManager knew where to put the special:
And Plex began to recognize what the episode was:
Success! Now I can include Specials with my favorite science fiction series. There is order again in the science fiction universe.
About a year after posting this, I realized that there was a small-ish problem to my directions. If you’re using TinyMediaManager (TMM) to organize your media, TMM pulls its data from thetvdb.com. That website doesn’t always have the same episode numbers for specials as does Wikipedia. So, if you want to make sure that you have the correct episode/special number, you should check thetvdb.com instead of Wikipedia when naming your files, before having TMM pull the data for them.
5 thoughts on “Plex/tinyMediaManager and Doctor Who Specials”
Hi. I’m trying to use TMM to organise my Doctor Who collection. I have both the ‘old’ and ‘new’ seasons in the same root folder. The trouble I’m having is the 2005 season to called Season 01 (S01E01, etc), but then TMM scrapes the info for the 1963 season. How have you configured the ‘new’ seasons directory and file names so TMM scrapes the correct media content? I’ve tried using S27E01, but that didn’t work. Many thanks.
Dave, good question. I struggled with this as well. Here’s how I solved it. I put the new Doctor Who into a folder called “Doctor Who (2005)” and then old Doctor Who into a folder called “Doctor Who (1963).” The episodes from the old Doctor Who start with S01E01 as you’d expect. I put them into the appropriate folders (e.g., Season 1, Season 2, etc.). Likewise, the episodes in the new Doctor Who start with S01E01 and I put those in their appropriate folders (e.g., Season 1, Season 2, etc.). When I did that, TMM figured out that the old Doctor Who episodes were from the old one and scraped and named them accordingly. It’s all in the year associated with the Doctor Who series.
Worked like a charm! Thanks for posting this.
I know it’s been a while since this post, but I was wondering what the steps were for this (or if you actually found it on a site somewhere). I’ve been using Plex for years but I’m new to TMM, and am having the exact same issue as you for the Specials.
Right now, Plex split the specials into their own season. But, even though I have them named properly and sorted by DVD (then tried sorting by Aired). It’s still not placing them where they should be between seasons.
In my experience, specials will always go in a separate folder in TinyMediaManager and Plex will see them as the equivalent of a separate season and will call it “specials.” They will not be ordered by aired date in the Plex interface. That would be amazing, but I’ve never seen that as an option in the Plex interface.