TV Show Naming Conventions

When you add TV shows to Plex is it important to use the proper Plex naming convention for TV shows. Much like movie naming conventions and music naming conventions, ensuring your TV shows are properly named is key to getting Plex to properly download the metadata.

How should you name and organize your TV show for Plex? Let's look at how this is done.

Plex Naming Convention for TV Shows

Table of contents

Plex TV show naming convention
TV show folder structure
Television specials
Multiple episodes in one file
TV show episodes split over multiple files

Plex TV show naming convention

As I mentioned above, how you name and organize your TV shows is important. If you don't follow a standard naming convention, then the correct metadata may not download successfully.

The standard naming convention for TV shows is as follows:

ShowName- sNNeXX.ext

The NN is the two digit season and the XX is the two digit episode number.

For the examples in this article, I will use the miniseries "John Adams" as the TV show. While "John Adams" is a miniseries with only one season, you would just increment the season number for regular running TV shows.

For "John Adams", I would use the following names for my files:

John Adams - s01e01.mp4
John Adams - s01e02.mp4
John Adams - s01e03.mp4
John Adams - s01e04.mp4
John Adams - s01e05.mp4
John Adams - s01e06.mp4
John Adams - s01e07.mp4

You will notice that even though both the season and episode are single digit numbers, I always use a leading zero. This makes both numbers two digits in length.

An alternative to the above episode file names, I could also include the actual episode name in the file name. This would make the file names:

John Adams - s01e01 - Join or Die.mp4
John Adams - s01e02 - Independence.mp4
John Adams - s01e03 - Don't Tread on Me.mp4
John Adams - s01e04 - Reunion.mp4
John Adams - s01e05 - Unite or Die.mp4
John Adams - s01e06 - Unnecessary War.mp4
John Adams - s01e07 - Peacefield.mp4

All text after the season and episode numbers is optional, so it can include any text.

Alternatively, Plex recommends that you include the year alongside the series name, but I have had no issues excluding the year. For "John Adams", the filenames would be:

John Adams (2008) - s01e01 - Join or Die.mp4
John Adams (2008) - s01e02 - Independence.mp4
John Adams (2008) - s01e03 - Don't Tread on Me.mp4
John Adams (2008) - s01e04 - Reunion.mp4
John Adams (2008) - s01e05 - Unite or Die.mp4
John Adams (2008) - s01e06 - Unnecessary War.mp4
John Adams (2008) - s01e07 - Peacefield.mp4

I use the file names in my first example, which just includes the TV show name with the season and episode numbers. Of course, you are free to choose which naming convention you like best.

Date-based TV shows

For shows that are date-based, the file naming convention is a little different. The structure of the file name would look like:


Both file names contain the date of the show. The YYYY is the four digit year, the MM is the two-digit month and the DD is the two digit day.

You can use different separators for the date such as spaces (YYYY MM DD) or periods (YYYY.MM.DD).

TV show folder structure

With the various media types that can be played by Plex, it is best if each content type is stored in its own folder. This means your TV show files would be in a separate folder from your movies.

The easiest method is to simply create folder called "tv shows" that will contain all your TV show files. This folder can be located anywhere, but in my example let's assume it is off the root folder:

/tv shows

Within this folder you will create a subfolder for each TV show series.

/tv shows
  /John Adams

Just like the file names, you can also include the year in the folder name:

/tv shows
  /John Adams (2008)

You can also include either the TVDB or The MovieDB ID number within the TV show folder name. This helps to reduce the chances of not finding the correct metadata for the movie.

For example, the folder name for "John Adams" would be:


John Adams {tvdb 81547} or John Adams (2008) {tvdb 81547}


John Adams {tmdb 15114} or John Adams (2008) {tmdb 15114}

After the TV show name folder, you would then create a subfolder for each season of the show.

For miniseries (like "John Adams"), there would be one season. For regular shows, you would just increment the season number.

In my example, I would have the following season folder structure:

/tv shows
  /John Adams
    /Season 01

You will notice once again there is a leading zero to ensure the season number is two digits. This helps when ordering the folders in alphabetic order.

Within the season folder I will copy the episode files.

The entire folder structure for the "John Adams" miniseries would look like the following on my hard drive:

/tv shows
  /John Adams
    /Season 01
      /John Adams - s01e01.mp4
      /John Adams - s01e02.mp4
      /John Adams - s01e03.mp4
      /John Adams - s01e04.mp4
      /John Adams - s01e05.mp4
      /John Adams - s01e06.mp4
      /John Adams - s01e07.mp4

Television specials

A TV show can also have a special episode, meaning the episode isn't part of the standard season.

Special episode files are place in a season zero, or a "specials" folder. The episode number may be found in TheTVDB.

If it isn't found there, you can just use a false episode number. Since the number is false, there won't be any metadata for the episode.

The tv show naming convention and folder structure for television specials is:

/tv shows
    /Season 00 or /Specials
      /ShowName - s00eXX.ext

Multiple episodes in one file

You can add media files that contain multiple episodes of a TV show. You would indicate the first and last episode that is in the file in the file name.

For example, if a file contained the 5th and 6th episode of the "John Adams" miniseries, the folder and file structure would be as follows:

/tv shows
  /John Adams
    /Season 01
      /John Adams - s01e05-e06.mp4
      /John Adams - s01e05-06.mp4

Note the two different ways of specifying the second episode number - with a preceding 'e' and without.

Plex will display each episode individually when viewing the TV show in a Plex app. When either episode is played, though, the entire file will be played and not just the individual episode.

To avoid this issue, the best solution is to split the multi-episode file into multiple files, with each file containing only one episode.

TV show episodes split over multiple files

TV show episodes that are split over multiple files can be played as a single episode.

To organize a single episode over multiple files, you would use the following naming convention:

ShowName - sNNeXX - SplitName.ext

The "SplitName" value can be one of (replace the "X" with the part number):

  • cdX
  • discX
  • diskX
  • dvdX
  • partX
  • ptX

In my example, if episode 2 of "John Adams" was split over two files, the folder and file structure would be:

/tv shows
  /John Adams
    /Season 01
      /John Adams - s01e02 - pt1.mp4
      /John Adams - s01e02 - pt2.mp4

Ensuring that Plex TV show naming conventions are followed ensures that the correct metadata is downloaded. If you follow the advice and examples above, it should make maintaining your television shows in your Plex Media Server easy.

If you have included additional files or folders you don't want Plex to scan, you can easily have Plex ignore those files and folders.

For TV shows that aren't being identified correctly, you can take steps to fix an incorrect match.

If you are having issues with Plex properly identifying your TV show files then you can try to do the Plex Dance to reset your movie library within Plex.