WARNING: This article contains spoilers from The First season 1, episode 1
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The debut of Sean Penn’s new sci-fi series, The First, was overshadowed by apparent sound issues, which were pointed out by a number of frustrated viewers.
Despite the first episode ending on a huge cliffhanger last night, fans could not help but comment on the volume and audio in the show.
As the programme aired on Channel 4, fans took to Twitter to discuss the sound quality, with some describing the mixing of audio and music as “shocking”.
One person asked: “What is it with the sound mix on so many TV programmes? The First is the latest in a long line of shows that I simply can’t hear. Assuming it’s not middle age hearing loss on my part can anyone explain?”
Agreeing, a second viewer added: “Why is it so hard for them to get the volume of dialogue on par with the volume of music and effects. I turn it right up to hear what they are saying and then get blasted out of the room suddenly.”
A third said: “I’ve been looking forward to The First, but the dialogue audio is really hard to hear. I turned up volume, but the rest is then too loud. I changed settings too.”
Complaining about hearing a mumbling sound, a fourth commentator wrote: “Just watched the first episode of The First on Channel 4. OK-ish start for a series, but either I’m going deaf, my TV is dying or the dialogue was really mumbled and poorly recorded.”
Another viewer demanded to know how the show had been reordered and joked: “Channel 4 what audio format is The First recorded with? I get more volume with surround and height from the adverts than the show.”
Someone else penned: “What’s up with the sound? I got a bigger fright when the ads came on than the explosion.”
Slamming the show, another fumed: “The sound quality is garbage, mumble, mumble and here comes another ad break!”
Others were more forgiving, with one writing: “Why is literally everyone complaining about The First? It’s an amazing storyline so far and it’s so gripping.”
During the show, astronauts boarded the space shuttle to Mars, in a bid to become the first craft to land on the Red Planet.
But when the spaceship took off into the atmosphere it exploded in the air, instantly killing everyone on board.
The scene stunned viewers, many of whom shared their disbelief about the explosion on Twitter, with one saying: “They didn’t last two secs! This is the start! OMG!”(sic)
“Did NOT see that coming! I mean, it’s the first episode and lots gone to s**t already,” another exclaimed.
A third viewer mentioned: “Get the feeling they are not going to Mars any time soon,” meanwhile a fourth gasped: “Well that was over quickly.”
Discussing the horrifying scene, show creator Beau Willimon told Radio Times it was important to show how challenging a mission to Mars would be.
“If everything had gone off without a hitch from the get-go, I don’t think we would have felt really the amount of anger that’s involved in an endeavour like this,” he recalled.
The First continues on Channel 4 next Thursday at 9pm.