I just started watching Heroes (oh god, oh god, I need a job), and find it incredibly addictive. Also kinda terrible, in the same way that Lost and Prison Break are terrible even though I watched two full seasons of each.
One interesting thing I’ve noticed, three episodes in, is the subtitling of the Japanese characters. The subtitles reflect comic subtitling in their proximity to the characters. These aren’t static, always resting on the bottom of the screen. They generally sit on top of or above whoever is speaking. What I wonder, with all the Canadian stereotypes about Americans in mind, is whether these aren’t also placed this way to make it easier for NBC’s gigantic audience to read them. Now, these aren’t exactly American stereotypes, but rather North American, extremely-broad-audience stereotypes. In which, of course, you’ll find people who don’t particularly like to read. So not really stereotypes at all. Whatever.
When the subtitles sit further up on the screen, dynamically placed so as to be near the action, the viewer isn’t forced to look down and miss what’s going on. They also very clearly demonstrate who is speaking by sitting on or near that character. This defeats most of the standard complaints about subtitles*, (which aren’t entirely lacking in validity. I saw a subtitled version of Cache, or Hidden, that used entirely white font. The film often had a fully white background, which resulted in unreadable subtitles. I was also sitting right at the front of the theatre, and was forced to choose between watching the subtitles or craning my neck up to see the screen.), and broadens the possible audience of the show.
Just some thoughts.
*I’m really just thinking people who don’t like to read.