If you rip your DVD's with a unix-y name like longish-show-name-season-01-01.m4v then the iPad and iPhone video player only shows the prefix of the file-name to it's string limit, so you only ever see longish-show-na and can never tell what episode is what in the overview list.
You can edit the files in iTunes to add meta-data information, but that's annoying and non-unix-y. It is of course easy, but I went down several dead-ends with tools that didn't recognise file-extensions, corrupted files and plain didn't work.
The package I had most success with is mp4v2-utils and the mp4tags utility. The help is fairly self-explanatory, but something like
mp4tags -show "Show Name" -season <season> -episode <episode> -type "tvshow" file.m4v
will mean that when you import your file into iTunes it displays correctly as a TV show (and not a movie), is grouped correctly into series and has a name you can see.
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem my Nexus 7 tablet picks up these tags. And both players interfaces remain terrible at indicating which episodes have been watched and which have not. But this has allowed me to re-visit my old box-set of Yes Minister which, despite a few odd references to Quango's still seems as relevant as ever!