First there was House of Cards on Netflix. Then came a landslide of other new, original shows and movies across a growing number of streaming video services. From Succession to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel or The Mandalorian to Ted Lasso, each service is cultivating a compelling slate of original programming. Seriously, there are so many binge-worthy shows that it’s impossible to keep up with them all. It’s not just the sheer number, either—it’s the fact that they’re spread out across a half-dozen services that makes it difficult to remember what to watch next.
Fear not! There are some tricks to staying on top of a growing, spread-out video queue. The answer is also not to just “push through” and spend more time watching TV (unless, of course, you want to).
Keep a Separate ‘To-Watch’ List
Step one is keeping a watch list exclusively for the TV shows and movies you want to see. Keep track of titles of interest. Having a universal list of shows across different services you subscribe to provides a bird’s-eye view. It helps avoid needing to dip into your individual queues for each of those apps glaring at you from your TV set, and it also helps you avoid the dreaded “What should we watch next?” after-work conundrum.
Use the to-do app already established in your routine, if you have one. Use a pen and paper if that makes the most sense. The key here is to keep track of new shows as you become aware of them and then cross them off when you’re done.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a to-do list already. If not, try a dedicated media-tracking app. I’ve tried Hobi, Watchworthy, Soon, Trakt, Sofa, Moviebuddy, and a handful of others. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, depending on your needs. I personally like Hobi the best because it allows tracking on a per-episode basis and helps with discovery of new shows.
Hobi features an active watchlist for shows I’m currently watching. It tells me how many days until the next episode is released. It also knows which shows have ended and which ones are just in between seasons, and will alert me when it has new information. I also really appreciate its Discover tab. Here, it surfaces trending shows, new shows returning each week, and new shows for the current month.
Hobi, like all these apps, has a media database it pulls from. It will know about the majority of current and former shows, whether it’s a broadcast show on the CW, one on Showtime, or something on a streaming-only service. It won’t, however, filter shows based on the services you subscribe to, as Watchworthy will.
The app has a statistics area too. While it may cause a bit of shock to see the amount of shows being watched, it’s neat to see the charts and information.
Prioritize Your Shows Based on Availability
Each month a dozen or more publications put out a list of shows coming to the most popular streaming services. Usually these also include a list of content that is leaving the streaming service each month as well. That’s one way to find out. Services like HBO Max also have a section for titles that are leaving soon. Once you have a list of shows you want to watch, prioritize those based on availability.
Netflix’s or HBO’s original shows will almost certainly be perpetually available as long as you subscribe to those services. But not all shows will be everywhere forever. The Office was a staple of Netflix for years, until NBC paid for the rights to bring it to its new streaming service, Peacock. If there’s a show or movie that’s leaving a service soon, move it up and watch that sooner.