Episodic Numbering

Episodes are commonly identified by some combination of three factors:

  • A title (not just “Episode 1,” but an uniquely identifying name such as “The Man Who Said Hello”)
  • A number (usually related to the presentation sequence)
  • A date (in EIDR, the date of original broadcast)

Titles and dates are reasonably straightforward, but episode numbers can be challenging.

  • Is the episode number a simple sequential integer (1, 2, 3) or does it contain the season number (201, 202, etc. for the episodes of season 2)?
  • Does the number sequence re-start with each Season (the most common case) or is it sequential throughout the life of the Series (typical with strip shows, such as soap operas and game shows that air at the same time five days a week)?
  • If there is a pilot episode, is it identified as Episode 1 or Episode 0 (this affects the numbering of all episodes to follow)?
  • Were the episodes produced and originally aired in the same order?
  • Has the episode sequence been changed in syndication or foreign territory distribution?
  • Have episodes been split (1a and 1b) or combined (1/2, 5/6) in some way?
  • Do different sources list different numbers for the same episode?

EIDR’s practice is to use a simple integer sequence representing the original presentation order whenever possible. This is season-sequential (restarting with each new season), unless specifically identified as series-sequential (counting forward without ever resetting).

Before registering new Episodes in an existing Series or Season that already has Episodes, consult the EIDR Registry to identify the current numbering pattern. If the episodic number pattern does not match the one used in the source material, then one or the other must be adjusted. The easiest adjustment is to move the source material’s episode number from the Distribution Number field to an Alternate Sequence field and adopt the existing numbering pattern for the Distribution Number. (Each Episode can have multiple Alternate Sequence numbers, each identified by its source Domain.) If you believe that the existing EIDR numbering pattern is in error, then you must contact EIDR Operations to present your case and have the existing Episodes re-numbered.

NOTE: If there is an apparent disagreement between an Episode’s Name and its Number, match based on the Name and adjust the Number. While it is relatively easy for the Number to be off (as discussed above), it is more difficult for the Name to differ. Full dates for the original broadcast presentation can also be used to re-sequence the Episodes when the Numbers are off.

Updated on March 9, 2021

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