What Is Reality Anyway?




I recorded NBC’s new show ‘Siberia’ Monday because I’ve been a bit busy and, let’s face it, I record everything and rarely watch TV live anymore. So last night I sat down to watch a few of the shows I had DVR’d. I heard about ‘Siberia’ and had seen a few promos for it. The show had me intrigued so I decided to give it a shot.

Some of you may know I am not the biggest fan of reality or reality competition shows. Survivor, The Bachelor/Bachelorette, American Idol, Big Brother etc… are useless to me. I think most of that programing should be taken of the air. It won’t because it is way less expensive to produce than a scripted show. Granted there are a few ‘reality’ shows I watch; Deadliest Catch (I know someone who works on that show), Counting Cars (The Count is a great guy, plus the cars look awesome), The Voice (I watch until the public starts voting, then it is just a popularity contest. I do watch the finale to see who won and to see if I was right), and Iron Chef America (I watch several cooking shows. That is more educational than anything) are some of my exceptions.

Siberia cast photo

Siberia cast photo

I took a shot with Siberia because I had a feeling this was different and I was right. The marketing was decent for this, they touted it as a reality competition show where they take 16 people, drop them off in the middle of Siberia with only the clothes on their backs and send them off to a recreation of an old Russian settlement. The rules are simple: there are no rules. There is no one voted off. There is no rose ceremony. There is no national call in to determine who should stay and who should go. No, here all you have to do is survive. If you can’t take it anymore, you cross a line and go to the extraction point, hit a button and a helicopter comes to take you home. If you happen to be the last one standing you get 500,000 buck-a-roonies. There are no other rules than that. Simple right?

Not so fast. It is set up to look like a reality competition show, but in actuality this is a scripted drama made to LOOK like a reality competition show. It isn’t real. So now we have a TV show about these people left to their own devices in the middle of the Russian wilderness in a camp where all the settlers disappeared under mysterious circumstances and have never been heard from again. What happened to them? Did someone or something kill them all? No one knows… or do the “Producers” of the show know and they set all these people up to be slaughtered?




You will just have to tune in to find out for sure. I know the initial ratings for ‘Siberia’ weren’t the greatest. It averaged a 1.1 in the key 18-49 demographic translating to around 3 million sets of eyeballs. It is a good premise for a show… a really good one; a damn good one. I may be biased because it was my idea!

A shot from the first episode of 'Siberia'

A shot from the first episode of ‘Siberia’

I had the same idea several years ago to do a fake reality show. I got the idea from my dislike for reality shows and watching the original ‘Joe Schmo Show’ in 2003. There they took a guy, made him believe he was a contestant on a reality competition show like ‘Big Brother’ but everyone else were actors. It was a good parody of reality shows and enjoyable. From watching that I came up with the idea to have a fully scripted show that was a reality competition show but the eliminations were real. Ah well… Such is life. “Siberia’ is good. People need to watch it so it stays on longer than two weeks. Come on NBC give this one a chance!!



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