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New Feature: Tagging/Taxonomy

July 21, 2020
We’ve recently rolled out a bunch of new tags across series, movies, characters, and people. Tags are keywords or metadata descriptors that further define characteristics of content or people, intended to to help categorize entities beyond just genre.

Tagging is a feature that was a long time coming. Tags are intended to provide both users and moderators with more of the descriptive tools they need to categorize shows and movies. In the distant future, we hope to be able to build a recommendation engine and populate similar series and movies titles off of these tags for a better user experience.

Changes to Current Structure

  • Our major Genre categories/tags are going to remain the same. However, we do intend to deprecate the “Special Interest” genre shortly as this feels like a catch-all that can better be handled with all of our new offerings.
  • The miniseries genre category is going to move from the major Genres section to the section called “TV Type or Format,” where several miniseries tags live.
  • All of the new tagging is the same across both TV and film.
  • We would also like our TV and Movie Overviews to be entirely plot-based and tags should help with that. For example, here is an overview that should rely on tags instead of including factual information in its description:

    • "In this limited anthology series, three vampires team up with a group of regular high schoolers to disband the mafia in their small rural town."
    • In this example, the first part, "limited anthology series," should be removed from the Overview. Instead, the appropriate miniseries and anthology tags should be selected in the TV Type or Format section.
    • Even though you may also check the "Rural" and "Small Town" tags in the Settings section, as well as "Vampires" in the Supernatural Beings section, you should still leave these references in the Overview, as they are a part of the actual plot.
    • In conclusion, a better Overview would be, "Three vampires team up with a group of regular high schoolers to disband the mafia in their small rural town."

New Tags

Right now, we have pre-populated fields of different tag varieties including:
  • Mood or Tone (Series & Movies)
  • Plot Characteristics (Series & Movies)
  • Relationship Types (Series & Movies)
  • Setting (Series & Movies)
  • Sub-Genre (Series & Movies)
  • Supernatural Beings (Series & Movies)
  • TV Type or Format (Series)
  • Movie Type or Format (Movies)
  • Time Period (Series & Movies)
  • Race (People)
  • Profession (Characters)
You can see a list of all our current tags across all entities here: https://thetvdb.com/taxonomy

User Suggestions

While we've pre-populated a selection of tag options under each tag variety, we're relying on you — our wonderful community — to help us expand our current list of tags.

  1. Start here: https://www.thetvdb.com/taxonomy. Using the search function, ensure we don't already have the tag (e.g. Setting) or tag option (e.g. Rural, New York City) you're suggesting in the system.
  2. If you cannot find the tag or tag option you are looking for, please suggest it using the suggest button on the right (this option is only visible when you’re clicked into one of the entities on the main page — Movie, Series, Character, etc. — or clicked into a specific tag variety — Setting, Time Period, Plot Characteristics).
    • You must list the tag or tag option exactly as you think it should be listed.
    • Also, please try to suggest the tag option in the tag variety you think it should be under, or the tag variety in the entity you think it should be under. An example of a film or a TV series that would use this tag will also plead your case on why this tag should be created.
  3. Your tag suggestions will flow into a queue for us to review and check for spelling errors or duplicative issues.
  4. If your tag is approved, you should see it on the site shortly. You will not receive a notification if your tag is not approved.

A Few Ground Rules

  • Please don’t suggest a tag that is too similar to another. We would like these tags to be somewhat broad, at least to start.
  • Sources of Truth for Tags: Many of these tags are plot-specific, and users who are experts at the series and movies that these tags apply to should be fleshing them out. However, there are some factual tags in the new system, specifically under TV Type or Format. In these use cases, please reference a source of truth. For sources of truth, please refer to TheTVDB Bible — to reiterate, Wikipedia is still not a source of truth.
    • For Actors, the only known Sources of Truth for race data as of right now are Gracenote/Studio System or IMDb Pro. If you have an idea of another official source of truth for actor race data, please let us know.

Some Considerations

Unfortunately, as you already know, our UI is only in English at the moment. Therefore, the tags must also be in English and at least for now, not translated. It is our hope that in future iterations of TheTVDB we will have the UI translated into more languages for our global users.

Some tags are only at the series or film level. This can be tough in the case of TV because long running shows, might for example, have one episode where a vampire is introduced or a character runs briefly for political office. In these use cases please refrain from using the “vampire” or “political” tag as it is not the essence of the show itself. We want to reserve these tags for “The Vampire Diaries” or “What We Do In The Shadows” (vampire) or “House of Cards” and “Scandal” (political).

Filters In the Future: As many of you know we are building the v4 API this year and it is our hope that we can provide some filters for these tags so that you can search on the front end, at the very least, for shows that fall into these categories for more discoverability.