Silly Saturday in Subtitles

As the clocks go back, as night falls early, do you like to curl up with the television? What are your favourites, reality, soap operas or medical dramas?  At Chez Tidalscribe it is subtitle heaven lately; if a programme has subtitles I try and watch it.

Saturday night, BBC4 is now showing the seventh series of Engrenages ( Spiral ), we couldn’t wait to get back to Paris with this gritty police series which has an excellent cast and interweaving story lines.

One Sunday Night and Day in Catalan started over on More4, but it turns out we have to catch the rest of the series On Demand. Not to worry, Sunday evenings on BBC1 brings a moving drama World on Fire, World War Two seen through English, Polish and German eyes.

Monday and Tuesday we are following  Dublin Murders, dark and very intriguing. Okay, so it’s in English, not  Irish (Gaeilge ) and I believe filmed in Northern Ireland, but it is set in A Nother country…

But come Thursday it’s Giri/Haji set in London and Tokyo, another crime thriller, but done with real style and humour. It is written by an English chap, but has plenty of Japanese scenes and story lines. Darting back and forth across the world and back into the past, you have to concentrate.

What is such fun about sub titles? Seeing different places, nosing into homes and lives that are different. If you only speak one language fluently people speaking other languages sound so clever. I don’t particularly want to see crime dramas, it’s just that they predominate, although Inspector Montalbano on Sicily is a lot sunnier that Scandi Noir. We have watched Icelandic comedy and the brilliant Borgen about a Danish Prime Minister.

One of the most important reasons for voting Remain and wanting to stay in the European Union was surely to make sure we don’t lose our sub titled programmes.

Guess what started last night? The Team over on More4, billed as a punchy multilingual cop show in…. English, German, Flemish, French, Danish and subtitles, what a dream! It started in Danish wetlands and we were just getting involved in the lives of an assortment of people in a remote house, when suddenly they were all murdered. Of course this necessitated the bringing together of the special officers from Germany, Denmark and Belgium who we had been briefly introduced to. And when they all arrived remarkably quickly at the scene of the crime, how did they communicate with each other – in English!

Sub titles – do you love them or hate them? Can you tune in to programmes broadcast from other countries?

26 thoughts on “Silly Saturday in Subtitles

      1. They can have some unexpected benefits: eight years ago, when I was suffering depression and was unable to concentrate on reading and watching anything, the first sign of improvement was when I realised I’d watched a whole episode of The Killing. I’ve watched a lot of subtitles since then!

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  1. I’ve enjoyed many series (“Blood of the Vine” comes to mind) and movies with subtitles. I think the hesitation for some people might be annoyance with the print at the bottom of the screen more than the difference of language. My former husband was hearing-impaired, so I was used to closed captioning on the screen. It’s an acquired taste, however. I still use it today, since I found it to be quite addictive, and it can really help out in shows with heavy accents, even if they are in English.

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  2. I much prefer subtitles than failing to understand what the characters are saying. And I do like the characters to speak in their native tongues if their nativity to a place is germane to the story or helps establish a tone. I find it very frustrating when characters who are supposed to obviously be from a particular place, speak fluent English. And not just English, but a highly refined English that most ordinary people do not speak.

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      1. Ha ha! That has definitely happened to me before. EIther that, or my contacts pick that moment to get off center and I can’t read a bit of important dialog at a critical juncture in the movie. It’s always something!

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  3. I watch almost no television, but my daughter, who is a Britophile, got me hooked on the UK series Coronation Street, so I do watch that three nights a week. Like you, I prefer subtitles, for I don’t hear well and generally have no clue what they said if I can’t read it at the bottom of the screen! Otherwise, I prefer a book to television.

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  4. I recently read a bit about a tv show called ‘Agatha Raisin’ … is it worth seeing if I can get it on this side of the pond? … and I love subtitles. Being significantly more and more on the deaf side of things as I age, they’ve become a necessity for most things, especially when the dialogue-to-music ratio is skewed. 🙂

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  5. I feel I’m missing out here, since I don’t watch any television at all. I got out of the habit decades ago and would never get anything done if I sought out the allure of watching stuff. I have no problem with subtitles (or surtitles in opera). I remember being in Lithuania with my mom 20+ years ago and seeing a newscast on TV that happened to be in English, with subtitles in Lithuanian. It was weird to see subtitles in the “foreign” (to me) language.

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  6. Hello Audrey, thanks for your comment. I wouldn’t get any knitting done if I didn’t watch television… It is a great time waster and you could watch rubbish 24 hours a day, so many channels… But we have some wonderful dramas – British as well as all the sub titles – which it would be a shame to miss and some excellent comedies – and we all need a laugh. But you are not the only blogger who does not watch TV!


  7. I write mainly in the day, so do watch TV in the evening to keep my husband company as he is older than I am (just a tad!) He is also partly deaf so loves sub-titles. We both really enjoyed ‘Spiral.’ Found it down to earth and gritty, unlike the glamorous US crime series with perfect females teetering about on high heels, not a hair out of place…perfect figures, clothes etc., Continental films are more truthful, that’s for sure. x

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    1. Thanks Joy, yes I like to descend from my tiny office and be sociable or sit down with Cyberspouse after dinner to watch something we both enjoy. We’ve just caught up and finished Spiral, so good and Giri/Haji we finished last night, so stylish and darkly humorous.


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