1899 – the last riddle from the creators– Released on Netflix. But people watching this may wonder why it feels a little off.
My wife raised this issue after watching the show at her mother’s house. After asking a few questions, I realized that she was watching the dub and not the subtitled version.
If you’re watching 1899, you absolutely can’t watch the dub.
Let me explain. Some people seem to think that Netflix 1899’s dialogue options default to “English – Dubbed”.
When watching foreign-language broadcasts, some people prefer to watch with dubbing instead of subtitles – that’s usually fine – but since 1899 things have been a little different.
1899 is a detective show set on a passenger ship en route from Europe to the United States, featuring characters from different countries speaking different languages. Some characters speak exclusively English, others speak German, Polish, Spanish, or Portuguese. Some characters, such as the captain of the ship, speak multiple languages. Basically, he alternately speaks English with passengers, then German with his team.
This is where things get weird.
In the dub, the English-speaking characters have their own original actors. Characters who speak other languages are dubbed into English by different actors. This is strange. It sounds weird, it’s weird. It sucks.
Worse still, it takes away much of the show’s meaning.
Without going into spoilers, in some parts of the show some of the characters don’t understand key points about what’s going on on the ship because it’s being told in a different language. For example, one English-speaking character hears a German captain explaining something in German, but does not understand. She later tracks down the captain for him to explain in English. With a dub that makes absolutely no sense because everyone on the ship speaks English!
If the show takes place exclusively in a place where everyone speaks the same language – for example, in Dark, where everyone speaks German – such confusion does not exist in dubbing. But in 1899, the confusion is constant due to the fact that different languages are spoken. All this is lost if you don’t know which characters speak which language.
Long story short, if you prefer the sub dub, I don’t judge! But this time, I’m afraid this show only makes sense with subtitles.
How to change 1899 to subtitles
It’s pretty simple. Once the show starts, use your remote control and click on the small speech bubble icon at the bottom of the screen. From there, I recommend moving on to what is shown in the image above: The audio must be “English”. [Original]” and subtitles must be “English [CC]“Obviously there are people who require English dub for various reasons (perhaps they have vision problems), but if you have the opportunity, I recommend sticking to these options.
Enjoy the show anyway!