Question: I enjoyed watching the first episode of Atlantic Crossing on PBS’ Masterpiece, except for the closed captions. I could not read most of these items due to the fact that white letters become invisible against a white background. I had no idea what the characters were saying. Why not put these captions in a black box or just have everyone speak English? Do the post-production crews ever actually watch the finished product before it is released for broadcast?
This same problem exists in many other television programs that try to use the actual foreign language of the characters for an English-language program. —Taylor F
Matt Roush: This series was imported by Masterpiece from Norwegian television — partly due to other shows in the pipeline being delayed by, what else, COVID — and I’m actually glad they didn’t dub the Norwegian dialogue, for authenticity’s sake. I watched my screeners on a computer and don’t remember having a problem with the subtitles, but on a regular TV screen if they don’t do a better job of shadowing the lettering, I can see how that would be a needless aggravation. I’ve fielded this complaint before on other imported European shows (and there are so many non-English shows on Netflix alone!), and it should be top of mind for any distributor that at the very least the subtitles should be legible against any background.
To submit questions to TV Critic Matt Roush, go to: tvinsider.com