TV Guide: There’s an app for that


Spoiler alert! iPad TV guide won’t improve your viewing experience, but it may help you find your shows quicker. I’ll give it four stars.


BBC America is finally broadcasting Law & Order UK. We missed the first episode, but fortunately BBCA reruns episodes for weeks so we caught it in a double header. It was awesome. Not only does it feature Captain Adama from Battlestar Gallactica, finally getting to talk Limey like he normally does again, but also Martha Jones from Doctor Who.

This means that Starbuck and Doctor Who (the real one, aka David Tennant) could not only show up in a series crossover, but we could finally learn who is the better semi-immortal time traveller. This would never happen on American TV where the only crossovers are to promote shows that are getting boring.

Some fans are pissed at Martha Jones for leaving in the middle of the third season of Torchwood to take on L&O UK, forcing them to reshoot everything and truncate an excellent season from thirteen episodes to a measly five. But by now you’re wondering what the hell Law & Order and Doctor Who have to do with the iPad.

Doctor Who’s a given. If you love your iPad, you will love Doctor Who, even if you don’t know it. Even the new, one season old Doctor Who. One day, you may even become enough of a nerd to discuss whether David Tennant or Tom Baker made a better Doctor Who (DT did). But my real point is about the two Law & Order upgrades, the Brit one and the one in Hollywood.

The Hollywood upgrade is terrible. It’s hip and sunny and LA. Law and Order is a gritty urban drama designed to make you feel better about the city you live in. Even if you live in New York, you can say to yourself, “The real NY isn’t as bad as the one on TV.

It also turns out the iPad has an app for TV viewers who want to keep track of their favorite shows, whether it be Law & Order UK or the lackluster new Law & Order LA which supposedly brings the joys of NYC law enforcement to sunny California.

TV Guide now has an iPad app. It’s perfect for slackers and couch potatoes who aren’t entertained enough by the television shows themselves. I’m not mocking these viewers, I’m one of them. I will often find myself so engrossed in an episode of MacWhiney (that’s Gray’s Anatomy for readers who don’t watch and wouldn’t catch the reference) that I can’t wait to see the special in the next KFC commercial. So I look up CSI on TV Guide for more information about the episode I watched while I was taping the antics at Seattle Have Mercy on Me If I Ever Get Sick on the Northwest Coast.

TV Guide HD for the iPad. Think of the new TV ad. “Want to know if tonight’s episode is new or a rerun? There’s an app for that.” Just before the ad jumps to the clip of a game where Jelly Invaders bounce all over the HD screen. Just before the ad jumps to the clip where the user pets the fish in his Koi Pond.

If it seems like I’m stretching here, it’s because as much as I like the TV Guide app there’s not a hell of a lot I can write about it.

But I’ll try.

No magazine

The best thing about the TV Guide app is that I don’t have to recycle all those magazines, look in the paper for TV listings, or wait for Yahoo TV or IMDB’s TV listings to load in my browser. When I installed the app, it asked for my Zip Code, figured out my service provider and now I can find a complete listing of everything on TV tonight, complete with each network’s cable channel.

Instant access to anything on TV at anytime.

You even get articles in the features section and the news section like they used to print in the old TV Guide. The articles have pictures too, just about the same size as the ones in the magazine. They don’t seem to have updated the articles in the last three weeks, but I only glanced a couple of times for this review so I can’t be sure. The only thing more sad than reading online articles in the iPad TV Guide would be downloading iPad Soap Opera Digest.

TV Guide even has a news section, if you can call news about television news.

But, hey, I make fun of the Star and the Enquirer too. If you enjoy TV Guide articles, you can find them right there in the features and news sections.

Favorites Section

I do enjoy the ability to save favorite channels and shows. My Cable Provider, Time Warner of Austin, theoretically allows me to record only new shows instead of every episode of a series that airs (which on some channels would be 24 episodes a week). Unfortunately, the listings on the cable recorder don’t always say whether a show is new or not. So with the TV Guide as my guide, I can turn off series record options for shows that will choke my hard drive.

The favorites section lets you keep track of shows and channels.

If I want to know if a show I recorded is new or not, I just look for the listing in my favorite shows section and I get the original broadcast date. This may seem petty to some. After all, if an episode was worth watching why not watch it twice.

My theory is that if a show has episodes worth watching twice, I’d rather watch it again on DVD or Blu-Ray with no commercials.

You may be expecting more from this review, but the truth is there isn’t any more. There really isn’t that much going on in the TV Guide app except for a complete listing of all your shows and your favorite shows. If I were a TV snob (in the way I’m a grocery counter news snob) I would say you should spend your time reading a book instead of watching TV.

But I like TV, and the TV Guide iPad app just helps me winnow the winners from the losers a little bit more easily.

Jenny Manytoes rates TV Guide

Jenny Manytoes would purr all over TV Guide. There’s not enough going on to bump it up to five stars, but the few things it does it does better than TV searches on the web.

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System


Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat
  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she’s in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she’s very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it’s okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don’t think I need to explain this one.

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About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day. Follow @stephens_pt
This entry was posted in 4 Stars - Purr, Entertainment, Free, iPad and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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