Apparently the British don’t like dubbed dialogue – I think it must be childhood memories of The Flashing Blade which was first terribly and then hilariously dubbed.
We prefer to struggle with subtitles, meaning you can’t take your eyes off the screen.
But Netflix have now decided that reading is just too much of a drag and have dubbed their Scandi thriller The Rain, claiming people only notice the dubbing 20 minutes in.
This isn’t true – you notice straight away, because it is so awful, but forget after 20 minutes, because the rest of the show is even worse.
It does mean though that I can iron and still watch, without burning holes in the laundry.
To be fair, the first two episodes of The Rain are pretty good. It kicks off straight away without any tedious scene-setting. Within the first ten minutes our heroine Simone is hustled from school by her father and into a car with her mother and younger brother Rasmus.
As they head out of the city, escaping an ominous rain cloud, she demands to know what is going on and her parents don’t tell her.
Why do they do this in dramas? Why the hell can’t the grown-ups just say ‘we have to leave because blah blah so we are going to blah blah and then blah blah will happen’. Is it supposed to create tension? Because it doesn’t.
Instead, they all shout and argue and have a car crash, luckily very close to a secret underground bunker her father knows about. The father immediately heads off, but refuses to say where he is going, why, what for etc.
Then, basically because she hasn’t been told what is going on, stupendously stupid Simone opens the bunker door and gets her mother killed. Which kinda serves Mum right for trying to make hot chocolate instead of explaining to her panicking kids WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON.
What is going on is that the rain carries a vicious virus that induces fits, vomiting and death within minutes. And Simone and Rasmus’s disappeared dad has something to do with it.
Fast forward six years – yep, SIX YEARS – and the food is running out so Simone and Rasmus – now a sulky 16-year-old – have to head out into the forest. They are found/capured by the inevitable band of hard-bitten survivors, and so the fun begins.
Or it would, if the stroppy teens did anything else other than bicker, look soulfully at each other, have shouting matches, discuss whether they are virgins or not and do utterly stupid things.
Thing is, unlike Walking Dead, which is set in America, where any kind of madness goes, this is set in Denmark, where they are into pastries and good coffee, not brutal torture or callous killing. We like the Danes – they are civilised. So the sense of real menace that hangs around other post-apocalyptic stuff just isn’t there. We know they will be ok, because it is Scandinavia.
After six years there is going to be no food left – nothing – yet no-one has scurvy or appears anything other than buff and healthy. And, except where it helps the plot, no-one seems that hungry either. The gang move from place to place because Simone wants to find her dad, when surely staying in one place and planting something would be the clever thing to do.
But clever thinking doesn’t feature much in The Rain. Why do they wander through the streets with bulging rucksacks in the open in broad daylight when they know people are going to be a mite peckish? Why don’t they have any weapons apart from a single rifle (which, to be fair, does have infinite ammo)?
Why are massive buildings still standing? Nothing is overgrown or collapsed, there are just a few badly parked cars (it is a rule in post-apocalyptic dramas that all the cars must be badly parked) and a bit of rubbish blowing about.
The storyline is a bit barmy, but you can forgive that if everything else – characters, dialogue, setting etc – is up to scratch. But by the time we finally get answers we don’t care much, because none of the characters are worth caring about.
Things I shouted at the TV while pressing creases into skirts
- Don’t open the door! Don’t open the door! Why did you open the door? Close the door! Close the fucking door!
- Why did the missing father plug in his phone to recharge it and then walk off without it? Just to leave a great big humungeous clue behind? Surely not.
- OK, so everyone needs a back story, but does it have to involve some naive Christian getting drugged and raped by her classmates at the first party she ever goes to? Couldn’t the writers have come up with something more convincing and a damn sight less cheap and lazy?
- That dog that was sniffing around minding its own business. Is it ok? Did it find something nice to eat?
- Why is everyone’s hair so shiny? How do they wash it when the water is all poisonous?
- How come no-one has a beard, where are the razors? How come they are all so clean when the water is poisonous?
- They just shot a woman because she put one foot in a steam and the water is poisonous. Yet earlier, how come they all tramped through a forest where it had been raining and no-one got a drop of poisonous rainwater on them?
- Don’t go on the roof, it’s just been raining! There will be rainwater everywhere, on the railings, on the floor – and the rainwater is poisonous. Oh. You’ve gone on the roof.