There’s nothing I like more than settling in to watch a movie or show I’ve seen a thousand times on a streaming service, complete with captions so I can read what my ears might have missed out on.
And it feels like Paramount+ is going out of its way to discourage that.
Let me back up a bit.
About a year ago, I got Paramount+ courtesy of my mother. She uses it to watch her favorite crime shows, I use it for SpongeBob.
I never put on captions when I watch SpongeBob because it’s a loud cartoon that I put on in the background while I’m cleaning, working, or napping. (It’s a utilitarian kids show.)
Recently, the news about that Halo show coming to Paramount+ (which I am super pumped about!) caught my interest in the service enough to explore its library and settle on some viewing content.
So last night, I queued up Star Trek: The Original Series, got on a call with one of my bestest buddies, and together we sat and enjoyed it, watching the rampant sexism dripping in every episode, laughing in disbelief the whole time.
Side note: It’s pretty bad. I’m not gonna lie.
At some point, I thought to turn on captions. It’s easier to enjoy sci-fi jargon if you can read it. However, the show continued on, and the captions never appeared.
Or so it seemed.
Turns out, the Paramount+ captions on the Xbox Series X app are some of the worst I’ve ever seen. They’re not just bad; they’re practically offensive.
They are in the tiniest of fonts and the letters are black. If Spock walks onto the bridge and speaks, his words disappear against the blackness of his pants.
Now apparently, the fix for this is to go into my Xbox’s settings and configure the captions there. But damn if I wasn’t just floored by how terrible those captions looked right from the get-go.
I have yet to experiment with how these captions can be improved. I didn’t want to interrupt my Star Trek viewing party, so I persisted in subtitle-less viewing last night. You can bet I’m going to fiddle with them tonight though.
And yes, not a lot is happening in my life aside from work and video games, so captions being abysmal is a massive life update for me now. But honestly, I couldn’t be happier.
I mean, well, I could.
If these captions were better.