Multi-season file for TV, my solution


#1

Pedantic taxonomy OCD in this post. Proceed with caution.

So I recently got Genndy Tartakovsky's "Star Wars: Clone Wars" series on DVD. Much to my pleasant surprise, the episodes for all of seasons 1 and 2 are combined into a single, continuous work. Each episode is only three minutes long, so watching them separately isn't really something I'd imagine doing.

Metadata-wise, however, this is a challenge. PMS lets me name multi-episode TV files, but not multi-episode, multi-season files, and splitting the file across seasons 1 and 2 just didn't make sense, so I set out to solve this with filesystem trickery.

My first attempt was to rip the file once, then create a hard link (my filesystem is ext4), like so:

./Season 1/Star Wars Clone Wars - s1e01-e10.mkv (original)
./Season 2/Star Wars Clone Wars - s2e01-e10.mkv (hard link)

This resulted in PMS matching only season 1 and not season 2, so I tried again, but this time with a symbolic link.

./Season 1/Star Wars Clone Wars - s1e01-e10.mkv (original)
./Season 2/Star Wars Clone Wars - s2e01-e10.mkv (symbolic link)

This had the exact same result. PMS only created library items for season 1, so I created a full copy this time.

./Season 1/Star Wars Clone Wars - s1e01-e10.mkv (original)
./Season 2/Star Wars Clone Wars - s2e01-e10.mkv (copy)

PMS successfully added seasons 1 and 2, but now I was storing too much data for the same video file, so I thought I might be able to trick PMS into keeping season 2 if I deleted the copy and replaced it with a hard link without changing the name.

./Season 1/Star Wars Clone Wars - s1e01-e10.mkv (original)
./Season 2/Star Wars Clone Wars - s2e01-e10.mkv (hard link)

After scanning, season 2 was updated (presumably because the timestamp on the file changed), but was kept in the library! Now I have all the metadata for the episodes, plus the ability to watch as a single uninterrupted stream, and haven't duplicated any of the storage.

Hope this is helpful to anyone else trying to solve this.


#2

In the past when I’ve come across this with other media, I use Handbrake to separate them. Each episode has been a chapter in the file.


#3

@ChrisAWallace said:
In the past when I’ve come across this with other media, I use Handbrake to separate them. Each episode has been a chapter in the file.

I would have done this with MakeMKV, which can also separate at chapter markers, but the problem would be that the episodes wouldn’t flow into each other. Seasons 1 and 2 are kind of like a music CD where there are no gaps between the songs, and the editing is done so that each episode uses a scene wipe to transition.


#4

I filed it as a movie, since it was released as a two part film and IMDb was able to find it that way.