Alternative backend to tvdb?

TVMaze seems like the best alternative.

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  • 1000! It would be nice to have an alternative to those arbitrary and capricious overlords at TVDB. I appreciate the work they do, but they are the nastiest so and so’s I’ve ever come across in this community.

I came here hoping to ask if we could have TMDB as an alternative, at least with the option you can add the series and have it get information from there instead. TVDB is not only restrictive, but they have a backwards way of dealing with vandalism, locking entire shows so that only moderators can add information. When that happens the only way to get new information added is to make a request on the forums, and they are so low on moderators that sometimes it can take weeks after something has aired to get the information up. Sonarr really should offer the ability to set a shows information source as coming from an alternative website.

If you look at the series change request forum, there are no less than 54 pages of requests for changes to locked shows. Activity from moderators is either very slow or unlikely to happen in a timely manner.

As an example of on the many problems with TVDB, currently the series Victoria, is airing on PBS, however because the original producing channel doesn’t have any airdates listed for the show they are not allowing the airdates to be added to the show, thereby requiring anyone wanting the episodes to have to manually search for them, because no date is listed.

It’s this kind of backwards thinking that causes the tvdb to work against the sonarr’s very purpose.

Not entirely sure I see the issue with this particular example? I have S03E01 since january 14th, without any manual intervention from me. I’m guessing on or shortly after the 20th, S03E02 will be downloaded as well.

Both of those are currently on thetvdb and thus in sonarr, though without dates, but I don’t see how that matters for downloading?

I guess S03E03 will be an issue because it’s not yet on thetvdb right now, but as long as that happens before the episode airs I see no issue?

It’s an issue because without Dates Sonarr Doesn’t know to search for them. The only reason the first two episodes of Victoria were searched for was because they previously had air dates, then someone removed the air dates, and when I made a thread about it on the forums, I was told that there would be no airdates added until ITV in the UK has released airdates which from my own research as far as I can tell isn’t likely to be until August or so. The other episodes which haven’t aired yet, and whose titles haven’t been released yet (but the PBS Airdates have) were then promptly deleted and the first two episodes were locked, so that they can’t be edited and have airdates added to them.

TVDB is also locking popular shows (Big Bang Theory & Sheldon) so current episodes aren’t shown and there is not way to add them so Sonaar can find them. If new episodes can’t be found it kinda of defeats the purpose of Sonaar doesn’t it? An alternative to TVDB would be helpful.

I have to agree that it would be most beneficial to have the ability to decide where the data comes from. One of my favorite shows Ancient Aliens is totally screwed up on TVDB, they don’t even have a Season 9 or 10. Not having those seasons messes up all the seasons after. My Plex server showed me this issue first, but there I had the ability to change the search source to TMDB, which had it correct. I just recently set up Sonarr to help check my existing DB for missing episodes, it sure isn’t helping with that show! There are others, but this one is the biggest pain and best example.

regardless of which source(s) we end up using there will be times when its simpler to fix the data on our end than wait for someone on the other end to do it.

the ability to fix/correct the data in our own local databases would also be appreciated if possible.

Just had a full system upgrade where the only thing that was transferred over was the media files themselves & ran into no end of grief until I realized Kodi had transitioned away from TheTVDB to TMDB as their default tv show scraper.

If Kodi can get away from the toxic dumpster fire that is TheTVDB & its community, why can’t Sonarr?

Because it’s a metric ton of of work?

@Thirrian It is not just dates for individual episodes which thetvdb miss. It might even be possible for users to add the dates? Not sure.

Thetvdb also delete entire series, which have not yet aired. Repeatedly. Every time this happens, the series id changes. Sonarr is about automation and does an amazing job at it, thetvdb surely is not. Their process makes it a cumbersome and unreliable data source.
It likely also demotivates users from contributing the data which is the purpose of their site. Not exactly the point here. But, could be an early sign that they will loose momentum over time as users give up on being involved.

Other databases have better and more consistent data. With dates, actual ids and early data for upcoming shows :slight_smile:

Please know the intention here is merely to add context. I have no ability or right to speak to the work involved, or priority of tasks. Sonarr is free software. The folks putting in the hours deserve our gratitude.

TheTVDB is getting ridiculous; two examples this week (The Good Fight and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) where upcoming episodes are missing and it isn’t possible to add them because the series have been locked. Basically it’s a user-sourced info resource whose moderators don’t trust the users to source the info.


The TVDB has all Chilling Adventures of Sabrina listed as one season when the latest episodes are actually the second season so Sonarr isn’t picking them up.

Precisely… none of the other places like Trakt,TV Maze have any mention of season 2, but IMDB does… it is on Netflix, so it is real!
I just looked at the forum for TVDB… wow! An admin has decided that it is season 1, part 2; so everyone else who calls it ‘season 2’ is just WRONG and he/she is RIGHT. Requests to have it changed are in the ‘Denied Requests’ subforum. Even Netflix is calling it season 2! I really, really hate mods that fly in the face of all logic and insist on a ‘my way or the highway’ mentality…
p.s. I just discovered that even though I had s02e1 in the folder set for d/ls (I d/l’ed it manually), Sonaar spotted it and put it in the ‘Season 1’ folder in my Kodi library as s01e12… well done Sonaar for recognizing s02e1 as s01e012! It just doesn’t seem to be able to grab them automatically because it doesn’t ‘see’ the eps on my indexers… i.e. it reports s02 eps as being s01 and available yesterday, so I am just d/ling them manually by doing a manual search for each ep… searching for s01e12 will find s02e1!

Netflix is in fact calling the new episodes of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina “Part 2”, therefore TVDB has decided it isn’t a new season even though for all intents and purposes it is. TVMaze has it as season 2. Trakt and most other sites get their data from TVDB, so will reproduce whatever is there.

Frankly, whenever there is a disagreement between the data at TVDB and TVMaze, TVMaze always seems to have the more accurate or more useful data.

I hate to bump an old post, but this is such a good idea although somewhat difficult to do.

Back story, TVDB causes me a lot of issues with a handful of shows and it becomes very annoying when I have to constantly monitor those shows during their season to ensure sonarr picks them up, current example would be Deadliest Catch S15E04, it still isn’t on tvdb despite airing on the 30th April, now TVMaze and TMDB both have this episode but despite user requests to add this, it still hasn’t been done and we’re unable to sort it ourselves (why?) because it’s been locked, so we’re forced to manually download/add the episode to plex, which defeats the purpose of sonarr.

I would love to have some sort of alternative or backup option to TVDB, but the major downside or should I say hurdle with TVMaze and TMDB is that they release some of the show information differently than TVDB, for example, American Dad on TVDB is season 16 with 6 episodes, TVMaze is season 15 with 6 episodes and TMDB is Season 15 with 25 episodes.

So it would be impossible to use a backup and instead you would need to choose which database you want to use, and since plex uses TMDB and TVDB, the only alternative at the moment would be TMDB which you would need to make sure you set up in plex otherwise it will not work, for example American Dad S16E01 on TVDB is Fantasy Baseball, but on TMDB that’s S15E25.

FWIW, there is a TV Maze agent available for Plex:

Another vote for this, if only for TVDBs persistence on the ban of sports shows making getting weekly highlight shows of any sports via sonarr next to impossible.

Also from a technical standpoint I have to ask, what happens if TVDB goes down for extended downtime or just breaks, and let’s be honest, the later is probably more likely than it going down because the people with the most admin rights on TVDB seem to not give a monkies about fixing any age old problems since the site change which is what, 12 months ago now? Still no new shows can have their first aired date entry and still no option for alternative show names without getting an admin to do it for you and then it depends on what day of the week and what admin reads it, which usually means it either goes unanswered forever or into the rejected pile. Let’s not forget the Prison Break fiasco which took them months upon months to actually fix, and was only just restored.

I’ve seriously got fed up of them.

Seriously though, if TVDB breaks tomorrow what’s sonarr’s alternative or quick fix?

At least if TMDB or IMDB were a user option on what scraper to use, even better if the option was there per show rather than a one backend for all. Having one backend scraper is surely a single point of failure?

This really needs to be addressed.

TVDB is at a point where it’s rendering Sonarr utterly pointless for new releases. As time goes on this problem will only become worse with more tv shows, and less tvdb moderators.

TVDB does not have a sustainable method of operation.

I can understand they lock the series to prevent vandalism, but like wikipedia, the best solution is to let the community moderate the content.

I suspect this will never happen.

We need to be able to use alternative sources for the series metadata. even if it’s local.

If not Sonarr might as well change it’s log line to ‘Sonarr, making automation manual again’.

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