Thursday, September 10, 2009

The New Fall Season - The Ultimate TV Spreadsheet (UPDATED)

Check out my new TV page where I have the new Fall 2010 Schedule PDF and
Fall 2010 TV Spreadsheet: Fall 2010.


To put it politely, I'm a detailed-oriented individual. I enjoy organizing information and love my spreadsheets. I also have a thing about linear thinking: Beginning, Middle, End. I start a book on page 1 and finish at "The End." I don't skip ahead. I don't read chapters out of order.

When I watch a movie, I start from the beginning or don't watch at all. And when I watch television -- and that's all the time -- I prefer to follow the order of every series from episode 1 to the end. For most sitcoms, this isn't necessary and I will break that pattern, especially for fun shows in syndication. But for dramas, there are story arcs, evolution of characters, show history/mythology references and call-backs, etc. The episodes are meant to be watched in order.

Anyhoo, my obsession is your gain. I create a TV spreadsheet every fall, based loosely on a spreadsheet provided to me many years ago by my friend Steve, who also enjoys watching lots of TV.

If you'd like to use it for yourself, or are curious about peeking into the mind of a slightly OCD neurotic like myself, before I get my own episode on A&E (or Syfy), go for it. You can download it from my MediaFire site here for free.

I've taken the time to put nearly every US primetime show (broadcast and cable), with their premiere dates, in this grid.

If you'd like an explanation of how I use it, please read on.

The first tab is called Key. It's just a guide of the items I use to track shows on the seven daily tabs.

The second tab is Channels. This lists the networks referred to in the other grids, with a column for the standard definition channel and the high definition channel. It's pre-populated with the channels for my FiOS service in Howard County, Maryland. All you need to do with this tab is update the blue channel numbers according to your local service, and your channel numbers will automatically appear on the seven individual daily tabs, which I'll explain in a minute.

The third tab is called ComingSoon. I find it quite handy. It's an alphabetical list of shows (also displaying network and approximate air date) that aren't back on yet, like American Idol.

The fourth tab, Premieres, is an alphabetical listing of all shows and their Fall start dates. I skipped the few summer series that are already in progress.

Finally, there is a tab for each day, but they all serve the same purpose. I've broken them out because I despise unnecessary scrolling, unless it's me pontificating in a blog. :-) I find them useful for tracking what's coming up, what I've recorded, what I've seen and missed, and what to catch up on in the reruns, on NetFlix or on DVD.

Let's start with Sunday, the first day of the week, at least according to my calendar. The rows are the TV shows. I provide the title, network, channel (HD for nearly all), start time and stop time (both U.S. Eastern Time).

The columns are the dates. "Off" means it's pre-season. A green block with "HD" in white letters means a new episode is coming up and I want to tape it/watch it. I used to use "SD" for shows that weren't in high definition. Most are now, and gosh, that's really anal, isn't it? If the letters are in red I missed it. If it's a checkmark I've seen it. If it's "---", there was no new episode that night.

The other six tabs work exactly the same way.

These are new sheets for anyone to use. The premiere dates have the first HD block in them. They're accurate to the best of my knowledge.

This should be obvious, but simply delete the rows of the shows you don't care to follow. And, no, I don't watch all of these.

I hope it serves a useful purpose for you, even if it's just the Coming Soon portion.

Perhaps it's all Willie Wonka's fault. If Mike Teavee had a different first name, and wasn't also a cowboy, maybe I would have read more.


melaniet42 said...

It's possible that you are more obsessed with spreadsheets than I am! Do you make one for your Christmas shopping like I do? Anyhow, fantastic spreadsheet. Thanks bunches! We usually only follow a couple of shows each season, but this is perfect for those nights when we site and think, "Hmmm, wonder what's on tonight?"!

Mike said...

Thanks Melanie! Of course I have a spreadsheet for Christmas shopping. I also have one for birthdays/anniversaries. The smartest thing I did - started tracking what I bought as gifts for Mother's Day and Father's Day so I don't repeat or miss a great gift I assume I've already given.

And I missed the first 15 minutes of Supernatural last night...while working on this. :-)

One Wink at a Time said...

Wow, I can't even identify with this level of organizational skill. Which is probly a big part of my problem.
If I were a tv watcher, I would certainly appreciate this. But I'm not but I'll make a fuss just because I know you put the time and effort into it. Great Job, Mike! ;-)

Mike said...

Thanks, Linda! Yet I can't solve Rubik's cube. :-) I've put my mild OCD to good use. ~Mike

One Wink at a Time said...

Let's not even get into OCD... Which term, by the way, I much prefer over Anal. ;-P

Mike said...

:-) Like minds, Linda. I'm an analyst by trade for a reason. :-)

One Wink at a Time said...

LOL, I had read this after you posted and didn't catch the "analyst" remark. Don't mind me. Sometimes it takes years for something to make it through my skull.