Fictional Reality… Genius or TV Gone Too Far? A Review of NBC’s “Siberia”


A Review of NBC’s “Siberia?” by Tiffany A. White

Fictional Reality. Now that’s an oxymoron.

Siberia has also been called a “scripted reality” TV show. Either way, this series is not real and it might as well be called a drama like everything else on television today. Only this series doesn’t have any recognizable actors or actresses.

My confusion with this series started before the pilot episode aired. It all began when I saw a commercial less than one week before its premiere. Why hadn’t I heard anything about this before? Great promotion, NBC… Then after watching the teaser, I had to rewind the commercial a few times and watch it over and over. Was Siberia a reality show? No, it kind of looked like a scripted drama with people running for their lives and dying with Blair Witch-like cinematography. In other words, my cup of tea! So then I did what I always do, I scanned through my TV guide and found the listing. But from the description, Siberia totally sounded like a reality program. At this point, I set the series to record. I mean, why not? Clearly the confusion had me intrigued…

So what was Siberia? A scripted drama? A reality program? I’ll tell you what it was. A mess. That’s what.

Sixteen contestants are dropped in the Siberian forest. Their goal? Survive the wilderness for half a million dollars. Everything at this point seems like a typical reality show. The participants were given their first challenge—find the cabins they would live in throughout the duration of the contest. The last two to arrive would be eliminated.

Sounds like a normal reality show, right?

But then everything changes.

When does everything go south? Well, for one, when a cameraman comes back to camp with a mysterious injury. Oh, and when the host arrives to announce one of the contestants was involved in a fatal accident—that’s right; a player is dead.


It gets better (or worse…).

At this point in the game, the host then decides to give the remaining players a choice—to continue (yeah, right; if someone really died in a mysterious manner, I doubt production would go on….) or quit and walk away with $5,000 cash on the spot. Only one contestant left and took the money.

Within minutes, the game carries on like nothing ever happened. A few players are even concerned with having sex with the other contestants at this point… not with the fact that someone just supposedly died.

Now, I like reality TV. I love Survivor, Big Brother, MTV’s The Challenges, and Hell’s Kitchen. Don’t get me wrong; I realize that not everything is really real on “reality” TV. Trust me; it’s not. I know this for a fact. I’ve had a friend, two actually, that appeared on a reality TV show and lasted through several rounds. And while the events we see do actually happen, editing is king. Viewers see what production wants us to see. TV audiences at home feel about certain contestants the way production wants us to. Period.

But this? Siberia? Yikes.

Bottom line? I don’t know why I’m still watching Siberia. Maybe it’s because I’m a glutton for punishment and I have a hard time quitting things? Even TV shows… Blech doesn’t even begin to describe it; yet, I will probably still watch a few more episodes to see if it gets any better. Remember. Glutton.


Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2013 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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