Drone replacement or workaround?

Sonarr version

I haven’t upgraded Sonarr since the drone feature was removed as I wasn’t able to find a clear solution With the new release I’m wondering if there is a feature or capability that I’m unaware of that would fix the problem I’m having? I asked on reddit, but the only response I got was to ‘stop monitoring the show’ which isn’t a solution and defeats the purpose of using Sonarr in the first place.

Sonarr is currently set up to manage downloads through SABnzb, which places completed downloads into a holding folder. Files for “Non-problem shows” are moved straight into the drone folder (automated script), and problem shows are are manually imported and mapped.

What is a problem show and why do I need this workflow?

There are three types of problem shows:

  • Mismatched releases
  • Upgrade monitoring
  • Newly added old shows

Mismatched Releases

Some example shows are:

  • American Dad
  • Archer
  • Futurama
  • Daria
  • Stargate
  • Firefly
  • Sliders

These shows all have major mismatches between scene releases, the TVDB or narrative order being significantly different to the aired order. Using Futurama as an example, using the correct narrative order (DVD order from the TVDB) Season 8 already existed so if I leave file handling enabled for this series, when the new season dropped (season 9 in DVD order but season 8 in aired order) it would overwrite the existing correctly named season 8.

Upgrade Monitoring

Some example shows are:

  • MASH
  • Seinfeld
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  • Frasier
  • Doc Martin
  • The Simpsons

These are all shows that have recently had better quality releases show up in recent times as they’ve been released on streaming platforms. For particularly old shows like 3rd Rock, if I turned off monitoring I would’ve never gotten a release better than (or been aware of) the 240i rips from 20 years ago. However, even in the case of these shows it is helpful to have a buffer as lots of 4:3 series have been cropped to 16:9 for modern TVs, a famous example of why this is bad is with the Simpsons https://screenrant.com/simpsons-disney-plus-jokes-cropped-ruined-bad/

Newley added old shows

Sometimes I’ll find a show that is a few seasons in (or even completed years ago) and so many of the releases are missing parts or are dead or partial torrents. In cases like this, it often helps to just brute force all the releases I can find and see what sticks. In this situation if I leave automated file handling on, sonarr just renames whatever the file is as they come down and doesn’t pay attention to quality.

When Sonar V3 was released I couldn’t find a solution, and now V4 is out I’m asking to see if there is one yet. Turning off monitoring isn’t a solution as it is only using Sonarr for half it’s capability (only using it to move/rename files and not manage downloading). Though automated file handling works for some shows having a buffer (the download folder which can be moved into the drone folder) allowed automation to work correctly on almost all shows (by using a script to target non-problem shows). When it was removed, I couldn’t figure out a way recreate this buffer.

Of the 371 shows, 27 (7.2%) are old shows that have had good releases show up recently, so turning off monitoring would’ve missed that, and 54 (14.6%) are shows that would be incorrectly overwritten without using a buffer folder.

There has been a drone factory replacement since v3, either torrent or usenet blackhole.

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