Primetime Filo

Autumn is fast approaching, my favorite time of year, for many reasons. One of the things I look forward to is the return of my beloved television shows. Though I don’t watch much TV, what I do watch, I love. A couple of birthdays ago, I asked for a DVR as a gift. (Ask and you shall receive—unless it’s a Filo or bag.) I loathed paying the extra money for a DVR but my reasoning was simple: on the rare occasions that I do watch TV, I’d prefer to watch something I like rather than watching garbage simply because it’s the only thing on (hence the recordings of “Family Ties”). Of course, this is two-fold because although I can now watch what I like, I often try out other new shows I wouldn’t normally have tried because I record them and watch them when I have time.

Enter the fall premier season. Each August, I write a reminder in my Filo to research the upcoming shows for fall—when they start, the synopsis of new shows, update my DVR spreadsheet (yes, I have a spreadsheet and I’ll explain why in a bit). Once I’ve looked at the three major networks to see what shows start when, I write up a list in my Filo.

Here, on a Russell + Hazel to do sticky sheet, I have written the names of the shows, the network, the day, and the time. The check mark means I have entered the title into my spreadsheet. I then placed the entire list on my weekly inserts—I can only record a show a week in advance, so I have the sheet placed on the week prior to when the first show airs.

When I turn to that page and see the list, I will set the DVR to record that first week of shows. I will cross out the shows that have been recorded and move the sheet to the next week. The process will start again and go until all of the shows are set to record. At that time, obviously, my to-do sheets will be discarded.

In my Google Docs, I have a color coded DVR spreadsheet. With my DVR, I can record only 2 shows at one time, so when researching new shows, I have to be able to see what I can record based on the time slots that are available. Let’s say I have one time slot open but three shows to watch—I will choose which two to record based on whether it’s something I’ve been watching for a while versus a new show versus how promising it looks.

Sorry for the small images - you get the idea.

The green boxes are shows that are currently recording. The red boxes are shows that are on deck to be recorded. They will go green and move to the actual date and time slots once they have been set to record. For most of them, I know the date and time (as written on the spreadsheet). There are some shows I could not yet find a date for, so I have put question marks next to those. I will check again the week before I think they start to be sure.

Down below that, I have a list of shows to research. These are shows that I have recorded in the past and want to again record when the next season arrives. For these, I have dates of when to check on them again.

You can see I have quite a list of things to record this season. Many of them are shows I have been watching for a long time (or recently) and love—things like “How I Met Your Mother,” “Mike and Molly,” “The Big Bang Theory,” and “The Good Wife.” The list also includes new shows that have struck my fancy in some way—shows like “Pan Am,” “Man Up,” and “Once Upon a Time.” Of the new shows, some will be cancelled and some I just won’t like enough to keep up with, but for now, they are on my list to simply check out.

The spreadsheet is probably a bit much—insert nerd alert here—but it helps to keep me and my husband (because you can share Google Docs) organized as far as what shows we’re recording and what time slots we have available. It may sound like a lot of TV watching, but I assure you that it will take us until this time next year to get through all of these episodes—just in time for the 2012-2013 TV season.


  1. Oh wow I have to kneel before your extraordinary organising skills!
    We use a free sat box and can record stuff too. Like you I am not a tv fan but I will record and watch the Good Wife.
    The big bang theory makes me laugh but DH isn't that keen. Methinks it is because he is a physicist! Haha! Somehow he never records it!

  2. CP - LOL! Yes, my minions - bow before me and my wisdom. ;) I LOVE both The Good Wife and The Big Bang Theory. I don't presume that all physicists are like Sheldon Cooper, but he is one of the greatest characters ever created (in my opinion). And the guy who plays him is amazing.

  3. If you ever get the chance... switch to Fios! I got a TiVo as my present for finishing grad school - way back in February 2006. It was wonderful - I could record up to two weeks in advance (using search or the guide), I could set up "wish lists" where I could use boolean operators to have a running search for shows that fit specific criteria, and then I could either see the list or have them automatically record (see: recording "scary-ish" movies in October). It was a great use of my librarian indexing skills! Then... I got the optimum dvr - as when the change was made to HD, my poor TiVo wasn't working out. Oh the horror, I too had to keep lists and more lists! Now... I have Fios! It's almost as great as the TiVo! It has everything but the wish list, including the ever important "season pass manager" - which, unlike Optimum, does not delete it when it doesn't see any upcoming episodes. I can change priorities for what records before others, I can modify the "pass" - to help with shows that are on three at a time (thank you TNT for always playing episodes two hours after they premiere), they can be set up to record not only "first run," but even in "time selected," so I don't have to worry about overlaps. If Fios ever makes it to anyone's area, go for it! Also - the guide is gorgeous, and it really does work!

  4. Sheila - We can't get Fios here. I'm happy with what we have, though so it's okay. I have to check on my "to record" list once in a while to make sure everything is up to date, but that makes me check my spreadsheet too, so it's a way for me to sync everything at once. =)


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