Spartacus is slaying the German language
I am a big fan of the tv series Spartacus. At least that holds true for the first season “Blood and Sand” and “Gods of the Arena”. Spartacus: Vengeance was okay, but it can’t hold a candle to the first season and the miniseries. Partly this may be because the lead Andy Whitfield tragically died. His replacement Liam McIntrye is okay but lacks the charisma and gravitas Whitfield brought to this series. Okay, but this was not the point I was gonna make. Spartacus: Vengeance caught my attention with something unrelated to the story: The bad, bad German some actors speak.
First let’s be honest: I don’t wanna imagine what native speakers may think of my English. For sure it is not abysmal, but I guess I probably have a thick German accent. Yet, I am no actor let alone play an Englishman or American in a tv series. In Spartacus: Vengeance on the other hand some episodes are heavily focused on the German Agron (Dan Feuerriegel) and other Germans he frees. While “Feuerriegel” is a German name the actor is an Australian who has not learned German. Although to his credit, he still does the best job trying to speak German. Other actors sound far worse. I am not exaggerating: I understand all the English dialogue in Spartacus: Vengeance. Still I could hardly understand any word of the spoken “German”. Like any American / English viewer I had to read the subtitles! Yes, the “German” in this series is that bad :-). This is bizarre for me as a native speaker: To watch a TV series with spoken German that I can not understand :-).
Well, there are other examples of this, too. Like Spielberg’s first Indiana Jones movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. The first version that was shown in cinemas contained German dialogue that was based on bad voice acting by Americans. Spielberg later regretted this and corrected it with overdubs by native speakers. How I Met Your Mother is another example: Klaus, the ex-boyfriend of Victoria, is also speaking German with an American accent. He also uses horrible grammar that does not make much sense :-). The BBC series Sherlock does a better job. In the first season Sherlock steals a book from a German tourist who at least speaks recognisable German. It is clear he is no native speaker, cause he has a British accent. But at least his grammar was correct and I could very well understand him.
But Spartacus: Vengeance is the worst example of spoken German I ever heard in a foreign TV series. As said, I really had to read the English subtitles to get what the characters were saying :-). So, hey, Hollywood: If you ever need a German voice actor just hire me, ha, ha.
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