If you’ve ever wanted to look up information about a TV show or movie, you likely turn to IMDb to do so. But the Amazon-owned app can be frustrating to use, with prompts to log in, ads, and other clutter that can make it difficult to find what you’re looking for. A new app called Callsheet, launching today, aims to improve on the IMDb experience with a clean design, several quality-of-life improvements, personalized elements and the option to subscribe instead of seeing ads.
As described by its creator, indie app developer Casey Liss, Callsheet is “similar to the IMDB app but… with respect for its users, he jokes in a blog post.
“I love watching shows and movies, and seeing who acted in them, trivia about them, and more,” Liss told TechCrunch. However, he continued, “The normal app that I used for this has gotten so bad, and user-hostile, over the years. This January it occurred to me, ‘I can do this better.’ So I tried. And, I like to think, I’ve mostly succeeded,” Liss added.
Essentially, Callsheet is a “bespoke” version of IMDb that will appeal to those who prefer a clean, modern, and well-designed experience, we believe — and are willing to pay a small fee for the upgrade.
Like IMDb, you can look up information about a movie or show, including the cast of characters and actors who play them, crew information, release date, rating, summary, score, and more. This data is pulled from The Movie Database. But there are a number of clever touches in Callsheet that improve upon the default IMDb experience.
As one example, users can choose to customize a “quick access” button that appears next to the title and other information, like runtime and rating. Developer Liss prefers for his button to offer one-tap access for show or movie trivia. But others may choose to customize the button to point toward other resources, like Wikipedia, Where to Watch information, a website, or parental guidance information.
Under the Where to Watch section, powered by JustWatch, you can toggle between the various options to see where you can stream for free, purchase the title, or what subscription services offer the show or film and in which country.
Another unique feature lets users toggle on and off various information that could lead to potential spoilers.
For instance, you can choose to hide the cast episode counts, episode titles, episode thumbnails, and cast character names — the latter something that Liss notes would have been helpful after he spoiled himself on IMDb by looking up Watchmen, where characters had hidden identities.
Hiding cast episode counts would help you from spoiling yourself about possible character deaths, as well.
You can also pin favorite shows and movies, like those you’re currently watching, to the top of the app’s home screen for easy access. These pins will sync via iCloud across devices, including iPhone and iPad.
The app additionally offers a variety of customization options beyond your spoiler preferences and the Quick Access button, including how you want to sort a TV show’s seasons, whether you want to override your region for the Where to Watch section (helpful if you stream via a VPN to access services outside your country), and your language settings for new and popular media.
In trying out the app, Callsheet is easier to use than IMDb, we found. In part, that’s because The Movie Database’s API for developers is fairly speedy, as Liss notes, but also because the app isn’t filled with so much clutter. That makes it quicker to get to the information you wanted to see, without so much searching around and tapping.
Because the app is ad-free, it’s supported through subscription payments. These are reasonably priced at either $1 per month or $9 per year by default, but Liss offers optional tiers for those who want to support his work further, including a $20 and $50 per year purchase option.
Liss, also a co-host at The Accidental Tech podcast, has previously launched other useful apps like the (since deprecated) Vignette app to update contact photos and other single-purpose utilities such as Maskeraid for adding emoji to cover someone’s face in a photo and Peek-a-View that lets you safely hand your phone to someone to look at your photos without them encountering those they shouldn’t.
Callsheet is available today for download on the App Store and offers your first 20 searches for free. While an iPad version is available, Liss notes that improved iPad support is going to come ASAP.