Created: 2008-05-05 13:01
Updated: 2019-02-26 00:38
License: unlicense


tvdb_api is an easy to use interface to

It supports Python 2.6, 2.7, and 3.3 onwards

tvnamer has moved to a separate repository: - it is a utility which uses tvdb_api to rename files from to Some Show - [01x03] - The Episode Name.avi (which works by getting the episode name from tvdb_api)

Build Status

To install

You can easily install tvdb_api via easy_install

easy_install tvdb_api

You may need to use sudo, depending on your setup:

sudo easy_install tvdb_api

The tvnamer command-line tool can also be installed via easy_install, this installs tvdb_api as a dependancy:

easy_install tvnamer

Basic usage

import tvdb_api
t = tvdb_api.Tvdb()
episode = t['My Name Is Earl'][1][3] # get season 1, episode 3 of show
print episode['episodename'] # Print episode name

Advanced usage

Most of the documentation is in docstrings. The examples are tested (using doctest) so will always be up to date and working.

The docstring for Tvdb.__init__ lists all initialisation arguments, including support for non-English searches, custom "Select Series" interfaces and enabling the retrieval of banners and extended actor information. You can also override the default API key using apikey, recommended if you're using tvdb_api in a larger script or application


There are several exceptions you may catch, these can be imported from tvdb_api:

  • tvdb_error - this is raised when there is an error communicating with (a network error most commonly)
  • tvdb_userabort - raised when a user aborts the Select Series dialog (by ctrl+c, or entering q)
  • tvdb_shownotfound - raised when t['show name'] cannot find anything
  • tvdb_seasonnotfound - raised when the requested series (t['show name][99]) does not exist
  • tvdb_episodenotfound - raised when the requested episode (t['show name][1][99]) does not exist.
  • tvdb_attributenotfound - raised when the requested attribute is not found (t['show name']['an attribute'], t['show name'][1]['an attribute'], or t['show name'][1][1]['an attribute'])

Series data

All data exposed by is accessible via the Show class. A Show is retrieved by doing..

>>> import tvdb_api
>>> t = tvdb_api.Tvdb()
>>> show = t['scrubs']
>>> type(show)
<class 'tvdb_api.Show'>

For example, to find out what network Scrubs is aired:

>>> t['scrubs']['network']

The data is stored in an attribute named data, within the Show instance:

>>> t['scrubs'].data.keys()
['networkid', 'rating', 'airs_dayofweek', 'contentrating', 'seriesname', 'id', 'airs_time', 'network', 'fanart', 'lastupdated', 'actors', 'ratingcount', 'status', 'added', 'poster', 'tms_wanted_old', 'imdb_id', 'genre', 'banner', 'seriesid', 'language', 'zap2it_id', 'addedby', 'firstaired', 'runtime', 'overview']

Although each element is also accessible via t['scrubs'] for ease-of-use:

>>> t['scrubs']['rating']

This is the recommended way of retrieving "one-off" data (for example, if you are only interested in "seriesname"). If you wish to iterate over all data, or check if a particular show has a specific piece of data, use the data attribute,

>>> 'rating' in t['scrubs'].data

Banners and actors

Since banners and actors are separate XML files, retrieving them by default is undesirable. If you wish to retrieve banners (and other fanart), use the banners Tvdb initialisation argument:

>>> from tvdb_api import Tvdb
>>> t = Tvdb(banners = True)

Then access the data using a Show's _banner key:

>>> t['scrubs']['_banners'].keys()
['fanart', 'poster', 'series', 'season']

The banner data structure will be improved in future versions.

Extended actor data is accessible similarly:

>>> t = Tvdb(actors = True)
>>> actors = t['scrubs']['_actors']
>>> actors[0]
<Actor "Zach Braff">
>>> actors[0].keys()
['sortorder', 'image', 'role', 'id', 'name']
>>> actors[0]['role']
u'Dr. John Michael "J.D." Dorian'

Remember a simple list of actors is accessible via the default Show data:

>>> t['scrubs']['actors']
u'|Zach Braff|Donald Faison|Sarah Chalke|Judy Reyes|John C. McGinley|Neil Flynn|Ken Jenkins|Christa Miller|Aloma Wright|Robert Maschio|Sam Lloyd|Travis Schuldt|Johnny Kastl|Heather Graham|Michael Mosley|Kerry Bish\xe9|Dave Franco|Eliza Coupe|'


2.1 - 2018-03-10

  • Began keeping change log
  • Correctly errors when failing to find show by ID - issue #54
  • Web cache filename contains major version of Python to support side-by-side usage of tvdb_api in Python 2 and 3

2.0 - 2017-09-16

  • Switch to TheTVDB new JSON based API - issue #57
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