iShows ($1.99) by Luis Recuenco aims to help you keep track of your favorite TV shows without a whole lot of app. Its slick user interface is ready for iOS 7, while fitting in with iOS 6 at the same time.
We all have a few TV shows here and there that we’d like to stay on top of. I’ve tried what seems like every TV show tracker under the sun, but they all seem to have one thing in common, they have too much to offer. Most apps in this category contain an excessive amount of features for my taste, as well as mediocre interfaces, making them a pain to use. Since iShows focuses on providing a few features that work really well, I was hoping that this could be the app for me.
The app only contains three sections, which act like panels, making it easy to know where you are. The main one simply lists the shows you’re following, and provides the option to add new shows via the + button. Here, shows you follow can be arranged automatically or manually according to your wishes. Adding a new show is as simple as searching for a title or choosing from a list of “Trending” shows. The second panel displays general information about a TV show or a show’s specific episodes. Since iShows aims to be clear and concise, only basic information such as: air dates, short episode/series plots, as well as writers and casting is provided. For additional information, IMDb links are provided. The brevity of the information, not to mention the ability to quickly get additional information from another source, is truly appreciated from my end.
Finally, the third panel in the app can be accessed by moving the second panel to the left. This is where the actual management of episodes comes in. Here, you can track which episodes you have seen, and if you are behind on any episodes, the optional app badge and the main screen of the app will inform you. It’s as simple as tapping the eye icon on each episode name to mark it as watched or unwatched.
That’s all there is to it, folks. You won’t encounter an information overload, a series of never-ending sections, or a complex search engine in this TV show tracker.
However, even with iShows’ simplistic vision, the lack of guidance regarding how to use the app is an obvious oversight. The app is largely driven by gestures, but the only way to learn them is to flick and poke around while hoping that something will happen. There aren’t too many gestures, and they’re all pretty straightforward, but some kind of brief tutorial or help section would be extremely helpful.
I first encountered this issue upon launching the app for the first time, when I noticed the second panel off to the right side of the display and instantly wanted to pull it out to see what was there. I was surprised when the empty panel bounced back, but my confusion was cleared once I realized how to populate it.
Another feature that could have been included in the app is the ability to receive push notifications as reminders for when a TV show airs. Although their absence doesn’t bother me – after all, iShows is more for managing shows rather than being reminded about them – this may be a deal breaker for some.
Above all, I will continue to use iShows as my personal TV show manager. Its simple user interface is quick and easy to use once you learn it. If you can deal with the initial difficulty of discovering the app’s gestures on your own, its strong points will shine through. You can grab iShows for your iPhone or iPod touch for $1.99 in the App Store.