"Summer" and "NBC" are generally two words you don't want to see in the same sentence, but that could change with its next new series. The network is no stranger to stocking up on odd little shows to fill up its summer, and the most interesting entry this year is Siberia, a late addition to the schedule. The genre show is a thriller about a reality show gone wrong, and it seems perfectly suited for bored eyeballs looking for something to watch, but is it actually worth an hour of your time? I've seen the first episode and I can honestly say... maybe! Let's walk through what Siberia is all about.
Siberia... what is this, one of those Planet Earth things?
No! It's a reality show. But it's a FAKE reality show! It's a scripted drama about a fake reality show! It's a supernatural drama about a fake reality show! It's layered as all heck, because it's about 16 contestants on a Survivor-like show who head to an old meteor crash site in Siberia with one mission: Survive the season while participating in elimination games. But things go wrong. Very wrong. Like "maybe monsters" wrong.
Who created the series and who's in it?
Unless you are the parents of Siberia's actors, you aren't going to know any of these names, but here goes anyway. It was created by Matthew Arnold, and stars a bunch of unknowns—Sabina Akhmedova, George Dickson, Berglind Icey, Tommy Mountain, and others. But that's part of the charm of the series: You aren't supposed to recognize any of these people because Siberia is supposed to be a reality show full of regular stereotypes.
When does this fake reality show begin?
Siberia starts Monday, July 1 at 10pm. I never get sick of pointing out NBC's bone-headed scheduling decisions, so I'll gleefully do it again here: Siberia, a barely promoted, 13-episode supernatural summer series, will air directly opposite Under the Dome, CBS's heavily promoted, 13-episode supernatural summer series, and it will do so a week behind its competition. Siberia will undoubtedly get creamed in the ratings department, but has a shot to land on people's DVRs. (Under the Dome drew more than 13 million viewers in its premiere last week, and became the biggest summer hit in a long, long time.) As far as I know, Siberia is also meant to be a single-run miniseries with no shot at a second season.
Who is going to like Siberia?
Sickos who want to see reality contestants get mauled by unknown beings (which is everyone, right?). But mostly, fans of the new-wave of found-footage horror (Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, ABC's The River).
What's hot about Siberia?
This show clearly verges on fun parody, and it does a fantastic job of recreating the atmosphere of a reality show. The entire pilot is presented as a reality show, but who knows how long it will stay like that once sh*t starts going down. The reality contestant archetypes are a hoot; there's the older man, the jerk, the model, the geek, and more, but the show adds some unique characters, like the chick who might know a lot more about what's happening than everyone else. But the real attraction here are the things that go bump in the night, the mysteries that linger in the woods, and contestants dying!
What's cold in Siberia?
The biggest problem with Siberia is that it's trying to come off as a real reality show and a horror movie. This is super-duper apparent during extended bouts of typical reality shenanigans, like when female contestants bicker over who's getting the last of the limited beds and who's sleeping on the floor. But we all know it's a fake reality show, so why would we care about stupid stuff like that? Though Siberia does a decent job with the budget it has, there are moments when it is very obviously a low-budget project. At times It's almost like a fancy web series.
So... should I watch it?
On Mondays, you should watch Under the Dome instead. But Siberia isn't a bad show to have on your DVR for Tuesdays. There's a chance it could get really thrilling down the line as mindless summer entertainment, but there's an equally good chance it could get really stupid. I'm definitely willing to watch a few episodes to find out, though.
I'd like to see a trailer, please.
Actually, if you want you can watch the whole first episode right now! Otherwise, here you go:
What should I drink while watching Siberia?
Well since it's a fake show, how about a fake drink? Virgin daiquiri!
Siberia premieres Monday, July 1 at 10pm on NBC.
AIRED ON 9/16/2013
Season 1 : Episode 11