Yesterday morning I got up early to watch the season finale of Lost on Fox (SKY). For the first time ever in Italy an episode was broadcast at the same time as in the American West Coast. It wasn’t shown in Italian, but in English (with no subtitles either). The same decision was taken by TV stations in Canada, Spain, UK, Portugal, Israel and Turkey, which were also set to simulcast the programme. The decision was probably taken as an attempt to discourage people from dowloading the episode from the Net.
I don’t know how many people watched it on SKY yesterday, but this clearly could mark the beginning of a new era. American TV series have always been broadcast in Italy a few months, if not a year, later than their original air date because of dubbing. The expansion of internet, especially broadband connections, in the past few years prompted a lot of people to download episodes from p2p networks and watch them in English with Italian subtitles (the speed with which some people manage to prepare and add Italian subtitles is amazing!).
Lately Sky has been trying to stop this behaviour by airing the same episode just 24 hours later with Italian subtitles: this has been done for Lost and Flashforward. The official Italian version airs one week later. But by watching it with English audio people are starting to realise that dubbing is far from perfect and the original voice conveys a particular character better (just listen to Hugh Laurie on House or watch Desperate Housewives to understand what I mean). Now, could this last move of showing an episode at the same time as the USA and in English cast more doubts on the use of dubbing, especially on TV series? Is dubbing destined to last or will it be replaced by original audio with Italian subtitles and episodes aired earlier? Will other TV series be shown at the same time as the US? Weigh in below!