I have now had some time to reflect on why I was so deeply irritated by the lack of subtitles on the DVD release of Sanctuary Season 1.
One of things that gave me pause for thought was someone who, when I posted a status update on facebook expressing my annoyance, asked me why I hadn’t simply checked to see if there were subtitles before buying it. Such an obvious question.
Why didn’t I? The answer is; I assumed.
I assumed that in 2010, a DVD box set of a popular-ish sci-fi show, produced in a rich country, would come with subtitles. A few years ago I would never have made this assumption and would have suspiciously scrutinised every potential DVD purchase to confirm the presence of subtitles before handing over my cash. But years of nearly always finding subtitles on DVDs has made me lazy.
I assumed that a DVD box set of a show produced by someone who’s a patron of a deaf-related charity would come with subtitles. I realise now that this is no guarantee, and hey, what do patrons actually do? Apart from raise thousands…
I assumed wrong. This is, if anything, a timely reminder that access for the deaf is not yet universal. Take online tv streaming for example. iPlayer is wonderful, with subtitles on most programmes, yet it has its failings, for example on The Bubble and Mock the Week, they seem to be insisting on using ‘live’ subtitles for recorded shows, which are 30 seconds late, mis-spelt and so annoying that I don’t have the patience to persevere. But they’re still easily outperforming the other channels – I’ve yet to get the 4oD subtitles to work and ITV and 5 don’t seem to bother at all.
One needs to remain on one’s toes and keep complaining if one is to get anywhere. With this in mind, I have emailed both the UK and Canadian distributors (thanks to Kaylee for the info) of the Sanctuary DVDs expressing my disappointment and asking if there are any subtitled region 2 DVDs out there (sadly the one in Australia turned not to have subtitles after all – thanks to the seller for such a prompt response) and I look forward to their replies.