The TV IV:Proposals/Year Categories

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There seems to be a little confusion regarding "year categories" - those categories at the bottom of many show pages (such as, say, Lost) indicating in which years and decades a TV show aired. Here are some guidelines which should help everyone out with that, and which are of course open to suggestion. This is just what the year cats were intended for, and of course it doesn't take into account every possible contingency, so please ask if there are any questions or post to this page. But these are the basic ideas.

  1. Decade categories should be treated the same way as year categories. Everything below applies to decades (1980s, 1990s, 2000s, etc.), except that the decade categories cover 10 consecutive calendar years beginning with the zero year, whereas the year categories only one consecutive calendar year. In other words, 2000s covers everything from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2009.
  2. Individual year categories. Individual year categories are for shows which have been confirmed as airing two episodes in a calendar year only. If a show airs only one episode in a given calendar year, it does not get a year category for that year. Only shows which have aired two or more episodes belong in these categories. Exceptions to the above:
    1. Shows cancelled after one episode. They should be treated as though they were cancelled after two episodes, both of which aired in the same year. For example, Emily's Reasons Why Not, which was yanked after one episode on January 9, 2006, belongs in the 2000s category, the 2006 category, and the 2006 Premieres and 2006 Finales categories.
    2. Future airings. Only new shows scheduled to premiere within a year or returning shows with specific announced return dates should get year categories for future airings. Returning shows with only an expected return month or season should not get a future year category nor should continuously airing shows renewed for future seasons. For example, American Idol always returns in January but should not have a new year category added until FOX announces which specific date in January it will return.
    3. Miniseries and specials. They belong in their respective decades and years. There is also a category for each year of, say, "2008 Miniseries and Specials." Miniseries and specials belong in those categories, as well.
    4. Unaired pilots. In the event that a pilot is confirmed as having been filmed, but it has been confirmed it will not air, the pilot may be placed in its respective decade and year category (year of filming). It should not have a premiere or finale subcategory.
  3. Premiere, Finale and Miniseries and Specials Subcategories: In general, most TV series should have at least four year categories: The respective decade categories; the respective year categories; the premiere date subcategories and the finale date subcategory. Again, this applies even to shows which were scheduled as regular series but yanked after one episode. Miniseries and specials scheduled as miniseries and specials should have three categories - Decade, year, year "Miniseries and Specials" subcategory.
    1. Premiere Subcategories: A show may have more than one premiere date. If it premiered as a pilot or a pilot movie in one year and then as a series in a later year, as with, say, The Six Million Dollar Man, its premiere year is both the year its pilot aired and the year the debut of the official series aired. If a show is scheduled to premiere within a year, it's okay to include a premiere year for that show. Please try not to predict more than a year in advance what will happen in the unpredictable world of television. Shows scheduled as miniseries should not have premiere years.
    2. Finale Subcategories: In most cases, a show should only have one finale subcategory. It ended when it ended. Series cancelled in 2008 but resurrected in 2009 due to fan outcry, for instance, and picked up on another station should have the "2008 Finales" subcategory removed. That show's finale date will be whenever it is cancelled for good. Finales are for the series only. They do not include TV or theatrical movies. The same rules regarding future cancellations and miniseries apply to finales as to premieres.
    3. Miniseries and Specials Subcats: Should be pretty self-explanatory in most cases. Again, series cancelled after one episode or unaired pilots do not belong in this category. In the event that a series also includes movies or specials (theatrical or TV), the year categories of the series itself should relate to the series only. Then on the individual movie pages, the movie "episode" should be treated as any other movie. For instance, Alien Nation the series premiered on September 18, 1989 and ended on May 7, 1990, and the year categories indicate as such. Then there were five sequel TV movies from 1994 to 1997, such as Dark Horizon, which on its individual episode page, has a category for 1994 and for 1994 Miniseries and Specials. (In that case, it's not necessary to give it a 1990s category, as that's covered by the series as a whole, but that's a judgment call for which there is some wiggle room.)

Again, please post here if any of this is unclear. I know there is some room for discussion, particularly on foreign shows, but I hope this clears up at least the concept behind year cats. Thanks again to everyone who contributes to this Wiki. -- JCaesartalk 06:06, 19 October 2008 (EDT)


  1. I think that adding upcoming airings are fine when the network releases a specific return/premiere date (such as Showtime's January Sunday block or Battlestar Galactica). At that point it's pretty much as garaunteed as anything in the business is going to be. That's the way I've been adding Category:2008 (like for all the shows in the premeire schedule on the Main Page) and had started doing the same for Category:2009 in the above examples. --The-jam 14:41, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
  2. Yeah, I'm leaving "premieres" and "finales" alone for the future, but actual airings are kind of unpredictable. In going through every program in the Wiki, there are several which were supposed to air in 2007 or 2006 and never did and have yet to. Premiere and finale dates are a good way to keep track of that sort of stuff, though. But the year categories - particularly for anything after 2000 or so - tend to be so overstuffed that stuff might get missed. Anyway, the category descriptions are pretty specific. -- JCaesartalk 19:15, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
  3. We've been creating status categories like Category:Currently Airing, Category:Renewed, Category:Hiatus, Category:Limbo and Category:Yet to Air to help make sure series don't fall through the cracks and get left out there with supposed return/premiere dates that never happen anymore. We won't have to go through the 2008 category to see if things shouldn't be there only the renewed and hiatus categories. I'm saying that only series that have specific dates when they'll be back should have the current or in some cases next year category added. In other words only series in the Yet to Air or Renewed categories and also those using Template:Midseason hiatus that also have had specific air dates announced. Generally that will only be a few months ahead of those airdates. January premieres are just starting to get announced now.--The-jam 11:24, 21 October 2008 (EDT)
    1. I do see your logic, and 99% of the time, you're probably right. However, I had to create an Unconfirmed category yesterday for shows which were supposed to have debuted or aired years ago but, from everything I can find, seem not to have with no other word on whether they've been pushed back or cancelled or what. When I went through it, I found that of the about two dozen shows in the "In Development" category, half of them were supposed to have been released in '06 or '07. Of those, only three were still in the works as of news stories from the last few months or so. Another series was eventually released under a different name, and the rest were "Unconfirmed." So even in a category as small as "In Development," it didn't look like anybody had really gone through there with a fine-toothed comb in a while. My other logic is that Premiere/Finale categories and Status categories are generally pretty small not only in the categories' populations, but also in the number of such categories on any given show page. In other words, a given show generally has no more than one status category, two Premiere categories at most, by definition no more than one Finale category but, in some cases, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 or more year categories. The more categories it has, it seems to me the less likely someone is to even notice when one of them is wrong, let alone correct it. I think it's fair to say an editor removing an outdated "Midseason hiatus" category is far more likely to add a missing year cat than remove an erroneous one. For example, I think the odds are very good, if 24 had had an erroneous 2008 cat (and remember - it was definitely, positively on the schedule for January 2008 in October '07; ads were airing and everything) that nobody would notice for a long time if ever. Whereas I think it's safe to say it will get a 2009 cat if it does, indeed, air in 2009 as scheduled now. Does that make sense? -- JCaesartalk 21:58, 21 October 2008 (EDT)
    2. Yeah that was Category:In Development which I've been kind of ignoring because it's so hard to tell what's happening there. No series in that category should ever have a year or even a premiere category that's not what I'm arguing. There was no "supposed to have aired" those shows were never even ordered to series. There's a reason Category:Yet to Air is a mutually exclusive category from In Development. I pay close attention to that category and I'm not even saying all those shows should get year categories. For the year categories I'm talking about a very specific case where an actual date of airing has been announced not just a nebulous "sometime in January" or "Early 2009". Right now this applies to a total of five shows in the Yet to Air category and ten shows in the Renewed/Hiatus/Airing categories not a huge number of shows. Once a date has been announced it's a big deal if it gets changed so someone is unlikely to go change the premiere date and forget to change the year categories. For your 24 example I'm not arguing that it should have even had a 2008 since a specific date was never announced but if it had the fact that it was changed was a big deal and it would have been noticed and changed at the same time the season seven premiere date was changed. I'm going to add 2009 to the small handful of shows that I'm saying it should apply to so you see what I'm talking about. --The-jam 15:56, 22 October 2008 (EDT)
      There five shows in Category:2009, the other ten I mentioned premiere/return in November and December and have already been added to the 2008 category. Thinking about it I don't really see the logic behind leaving the premiere categories but removing the year categories. It seems pretty useless. If the premiere date turns out to be wrong why would someone change that but not the year category? They're right next to each other if someone is going to fix one they'll fix both. --The-jam 16:09, 22 October 2008 (EDT)
    3. The reason I think the potential for bad data is greater with year cats than premiere/finale cats is because there is the potential for so many more year cats. Look at The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, for instance. There are 15 years there. Pretend Leno retires early. So his last show ends up being December 2008. I think someone would change the finale dates, but I also think there's a higher probability someone would just forget to double-check that long list of years and make sure there's no "2009" in it. And I know you're monitoring this, but our rules for year cats are getting pretty nebulous here. We've found time and again the more complicated guidelines are, the more likely someone will get them wrong. So if there's a minor mistake on a page that doesn't get carefully double-checked down the road when conditions change, that's bad data. And I'd rather err on the side of less likelihood of making bad data. "Only categorize something in a year if it's already aired two or more episodes or its entire run for one-time programs" is much easier for everybody to understand. It saves you and me and the other administrators effort. I think the Premieres and Finales subcats are fine because they're much faster and easier to check and correct if they're wrong. If you would rather say, though, "If we're going to stop predicting the future in the Year cats, it should be universal," I'm fine with that, too. I'm primarily worried about the most likely areas for bad data being created and continuing to exist. -- JCaesartalk 01:44, 23 October 2008 (EDT)
    4. I think you're trying too hard to find problems that may or may not exist and in doing so are actually creating more work and confusion. Your rules are kind of counterintuitive and people aren't going to follow them leading to having to follow them around and clean-up. I definitely think we should include future finales and premiere categories as they're useful to have. I've used those categories quite a bit specifically for future shows but including the premiere or finale and category and not the year category is pointless and counterintuitive. For premieres it is really pointless as no one is going to fix the premiere category and not the single year category. For finales for any long running show it ending is a big deal and it ending before it was originally going to is an even bigger deal. Multiple people are likely to look and see if it's been fixed and one of them will fix the year category. Plus the year categories are always in order (I've yet to see anyone not put them in order as it would be hard to tell if you got them all otherwise) so the 2009 would be at the end and hard to miss. --The-jam 10:40, 23 October 2008 (EDT)
    5. Okay. I'm not looking for problems, I'm just erring on two sides of safety: 1.) Simpler to understand rules than more complicated, and 2.) No data over bad data. On the year cats, I think, "If the show has aired two episodes or its entire run in a given year, include it," is a little easier than, "If a show will air two episodes as is confirmed by sources x, y and z." I have no doubt you're going to be on top of your own edits, but I don't want to make the rules too nebulous for users who aren't you or for future users at times when maybe you and I aren't able to maintain the Wiki as much as we can right now. (Again, remember, this is not the sort of edit only admins will be allowed or able to make.) I see your point on the premieres and finales. I still think they're easier to spot than year cats, but I'll agree to disagree here. If you can think of a simple, easy-to-understand, easily double-checked rule for which future airdates should be included and which should not, please feel free to rewrite the above guidelines. If you can't, I'm also fine with saying, "Let's not predict the future on anything. No future years, no future broadcasts, no future premieres, no future finales." That's fine, too. -- JCaesartalk 21:22, 23 October 2008 (EDT)
      1. Okay, I added one fairly short exception to the year category rules with a good example that I think is pretty easy to follow. I limited all future predictions to within a year as beyond that is a bit too fluid. In order to keep it simple I didn't include an exception for announced finales. I did a little clarifying on some of your other rules including removing an explanation about the number of episodes airing that seemed to just make a straight forward rule more confusing. -- The-jam 12:18, 24 October 2008 (EDT)
      2. Okay. That looks fine. -- JCaesartalk 17:28, 24 October 2008 (EDT)
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