Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

"Claro, Lestrade."

Some of you may be aware that I am slightly crazed in my dedication to the cartoon Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century. I can therefore tell you that in its American premiere on Fox, an entire scene and a bit of the one before aired with no sound. (And there were other sound problems during other airings.) During its first syndicated run, one episode was run with the descriptions for the blind audible to all, and indeed overrunning the primary audio channel. But was a red-letter day in the history of SH22 sound transmission. Because today the "DiC Kids Network" (unfortunate initials, what?) broadcast in Spanish.

Well, mostly. You could still hear English way back on one of the stereo channels (which made it even funnier) and the closed captions were still in English (with the usual CC spelling and word errors). Unfortunately, although the opening credits had the theme song in Spanish ("Sherlock Holmes en el Siglo Veintidos estaaaaa"), the voice acting credits were still the usual ones, so I don't know who to praise there. But it was a great thing, and I not only taped it; I intend to turn it into an MP3 for my perpetual listening pleasure. I will almost certainly transfer the whole alternate version of "A Case of Identity" to DIVX as well, and include it as an "extra" on my personal DIVX CDs.

The remarkable thing was how well-cast the Spanish version was. Dubbing is highly controversial in the anime community. The translations are often dubious and the acting skills on English dubs vary wildly. Usually, there's at least one person whose voice is just wrong. Of course, this can also be true of the writing and acting in the original. (I have to admit I'm still not overly fond of DiC's original Watson voice, though the actor was good and grew on me.) But this production in Spanish was definitely an argument in favor of dubs.

I can say confidently that I liked all these voice actors. This Holmes had a deeper voice than Jason Stanford-Grey, interestingly, making him sound more like a standard "hero". (But since Stanford-Grey is one of my all-time favorite Holmes actors, his portrayal wins out in my mind.) The Watson did also, which was nice, but it was the calm warmth and intelligence in his voice which made him wholly convincing -- and instantly one of my all-time favorite Watsons! The Greyson was unexceptionable (I'll say more after a rewatch). But the Lestrade. (Pronounced in the Spanish version to rhyme with "trade" not "God" as in the English one -- which will tell you which movies each crew watched when young.) Oh, yes, it was obvious the voice actress was having just as much fun with her part as Akiko Morison did, while definitely performing it her own way. Also, all the Puerto Rican accents ("yo" pronounced as "jo", which makes Lestrade a "Jardie") really added something! Alas, their Deidre and Wiggins didn't appear in this ep, and thus can't be judged.

There's a lot to be said about the translation. As far as I could follow it while getting ready for work, it seemed to be a very skillful one. Some of the jokes in English were lost, of course. When Holmes in the original deduced things about Lestrade's new partner from the sound of his boots on the stair and Lestrade told Holmes he didn't miss a step, the Spanish version merely had the good inspector tell Holmes he didn't make mistakes. But the colloquial Spanish of the translation had its own nifty bits, as did the Spanish acting. In the original, Constable Abner Angel has a bit where he ingenuously offers up info and then hesitates about it. Cute, but not funny. In the Spanish version, when the actor rattles off the info at transwarp speed, then hesitates, it's hilarious. (To me, anyway.) I also picked up a few new words, like "pareja" for "partner". But mostly I was just language geeking. I like "Typical rookie stunt!" fine, but it was really neat to hear "Clasico novato!" instead.

All in all, it's clear that I have been remiss about searching the Net for info about "Sherlock Holmes en el Siglo XXII". I've now done so, but found nothing but TV listings. I guess it must not be available in Spanish on DVD or video. I'd love to see the pilot ep performed by different actors, and find out whether certain phrases have more resonance in Spanish or less. I should probably also go looking for the Quebecois dub, if there is one; I remember now that Cybersix was dubbed superbly into French. (Or so people who spoke French said....)

So...let's not tell DiC they made a mistake. Maybe we'll get the Spanish dubtrack tomorrow, too!


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