A number of fans on Reddit have come together to express frustration about Netflix's decision to censor potentially-offensive language in subtitles.
A thread on the matter, which has almost 1,000 upvotes, has generated a lot of discussion about the way subtitles are used and implemented on the wildly popular streaming service. Most fans suggest that the use of censored or alternative subtitles to remove profanity is done on a case-by-case basis and is not a Netflix-wide decision.
The original post names Narcos as an example of the phenomenon (or at least Narcos-like shows), while commenters have named things like Rick & Morty as well.
Netflix hosts a wide variety of mature titles, including much of their original programming, which has increasingly become the company's biggest focus. It seems unlikely, then, that they would be "dumbing down" content like that with substandard subtitles.
If simple errors or localized policies are not communicated with customers, though, it can cause a breakdown and frustration. Netflix also has a reputation for censoring content when it sees fit, including documentary filmmakers who have long claimed that they need to sign away the right for their film to be edited for length and content in order to get it on Netflix -- a move that feels like something out of '80s broadcast TV, not cutting-edge 2010s streaming.
This writer has discussed some of the various frustrations customers (and cinephile) have with Netflix on an episode of the Emerald City Video Podcast, which you can hear below.
One further wrinkle in the Reddit debate is that the original poster appears to be watching the film with translated subtitles. That means that in addition to it being a show-specific or network-specific subtitling issue, it could be as simple as a poor translation, with the English-language subtitles providing an accurate measure of the dialogue, and translated subtitles suffering somewhat.
ComicBook.com has reached out to Netflix for comment, and will update this story if we receive an on-the-record reply.
Informally, a customer reached out to technical support and was told that it is most likely program-specific. They further suggested that if inaccurate subtitles are so poorly matched that it hinders the viewing experience, users can report the subtitles as incorrect and have them checked.