Saturday, November 6, 2021

The Doctor is in

I mentioned last week that I was adding Doctor Who episodes -- classic Doctor Who, from 1963-1986 -- to my Plex server. I have all of the episodes, including the Loose Cannon reconstructions of the missing episodes, and I began importing them into Plex.

As I mentioned before, I had imported the first ten seasons into my old Plex server, and moving them onto the new server was relatively easy. Everything was already organized, as I found out, and it went smoothly.

As I mentioned last week, I took up the task of moving the other seasons onto Plex. That actually went rather smoothly. It turns out I had already prepped several seasons to bring in, but for some reason, I never finished the task. Until now.

The next few seasons went well. I had all of the Tom Baker, and many of the Peter Davison episodes ready to go. I had a few Colin Baker episodes, as well as some Sylvester McCoy episodes. All of the ones I didn't have purchased from iTunes, I had ripped the DVDs already, and they were essentially ready. I had even ripped some of the iTunes episodes, so even more were ready. I ripped the remaining few and began the import.

It was quire painless. Well, the actual import was. Ripping TV shows isn't always painless. The iTunes naming convention and the Plex naming convention aren't the same, so I had to figure out how to make that easier. I ended up using a couple of batch file tricks and a spreadsheet.

I used a DIR command to output the content to a text file by using the /B attribute and redirecting the output to a text file. If you use Command Line much -- I still call it DOS command line -- you know what I'm talking about. If not, it's a way to get the names of the files into a text file.

I copied the text file into a spreadsheet, arranged them in air date order (the directory listing was alphabetical), and used an Excel CONCATENATE command to write a rename batch script. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, it's a way to take content from one cell in a spreadsheet and manipulate it in a way that I got a different bit of content.

For example, one of the filenames was 01 The Caves of Androzani (1).mp4

With commands such as CONCATENATE and MID, along with some math, I got a line of script that renamed it: Doctor Who (1963) - s21e17 - The Caves of Androzani (1).mp4

Yeah, that took a little bit of work, but it was a lot easier than renaming all those files by hand. I don't do a lot of coding, but it's nice to know I can do some tricks like this, and have it work.

Now, I have all of the Doctor Who classic episodes in Plex, and can watch them any time I want. Next, I need to bring in the special episodes. The Three Doctors imported into the 20th season as I had hoped, because I used DVD order setting in Plex. I have Scream of the Shalka, an aborted 9th Doctor continuation. The six episodes were completed, but the 9th Doctor didn't take. I also have the original An Unearthly Child that was rejected, the 2019 recreation of Mission to the Unknown, and An Adventure in Space and Time. I could even include the three movies, the two with Peter Cushing and the one with Paul McGann, in the specials section, since the library source Plex uses has them.

As I wrap all this up, I'm happy to have Doctor Who, in classic form, on my Plex server, and back in my Streaming Life.

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