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American TV giant fakes its new show 'Siberia' (and censors us watching it, too)

By The Siberian Times reporter
30 June 2013

NBC is banning Siberians from watching online trailers and a pilot of its new 'thriller' called 'Siberia'.

Welcome to Tunguska, Manitoba. Picture: Engine Entertainment 

The well hyped 13-episode series features 16 reality show contestants airlifted into remote Siberia where they must survive the harsh winter hoping to win a half million dollar prize. So far so good, except things are not as they seem, in more ways than one. 

Perhaps this is why they don't want Siberians to know about it? For example, US viewers are conned into believing the action is in Siberia, which is after all the name of the show. In reality, this faux-reality show was filmed on the other side of the world, in a Canadian prairie province. 

Not that most viewers will realise this as they watch this negatively-slanted portrayal of Siberia.

At first, the heroes in the show, which opens in the US on 1 July, display 'unbridled enthusiasm', stripping off to swim in the great 'Siberian' outdoors, but then they realise they have been deposited in the area where the Tunguska Event occurred in 1908, the meteorite crash that levelled 2,150 square kilometres of Krasnoyarsk forest. 

Here they are to be billeted for the winter in an encampment 'first settled in 1908 by fur traders who mysteriously abandoned it never to be heard from again, a plot point reminiscent of the Lost Colony of Roanoke on North Carolina's Outer Banks'.

Welcome to Tunguska, Manitoba. 

Siberia show NBC


NBC Siberia show

US viewers are conned into believing the action is in Siberia, which is after all the name of the show. In reality, this faux-reality show was filmed on the other side of the world, in a Canadian prairie province.  Pictures: Engine Entertainment 

'I was hooked the moment the Adonis-like Aussie host explained that the players would be housed in a settlement from which the inhabitants had mysteriously vanished 100 years ago, leaving food on tables and fires burning,' cooed one reviewer. 

Yet in keeping with the US stereotype of Siberia, mixed with a cocktail of Hollywood horrors and then frozen in a Cold War time warp, 'strange things' soon start to happen with 'creepy, growling sounds from the woods' like something out of 'The Blair Witch Project', said another review, which is all we have to go on since people in the real Siberia are gagged by the TV giant from watching the trailers and the pilot episode purporting to show the 'reality' of their motherland.

'We're sorry, but the clip you selected isn't available in your location,' says the video gag.

'Hand-held cameras show a desperate cameraman's point of view as what sounds like a dinosaur chases him through the woods. Or something,' says the account in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Dinosaurs?

Siberia show NBC

The US television giant NBC is banning Siberians from watching online trailers and a pilot of its new 'thriller' called 'Siberia'. Pictures: Engine Entertainment 

'Emotions in the group run hot when a fire spontaneously breaks out and sparks of lust are ignited among several contestants,' tv.broadwayworld.com tells us. 'Jeopardy and anxiety heighten with the acute need for food and protection from the Siberian wilderness as Natalie (Natalie Ann Scheetz) and Anne-Marie (Anne-Marie Mueschke) claim to have seen a tiger nearby'.

Tigers?

It must have escaped from a Canadian zoo because Tunguska would be some three time zones west from the habitat of the nearest Siberian tiger. 

And the buildings and props. One image that slipped through the censorship shows a house with no similarity to what you see in the taiga, made of logs and small windows.

The trees? Let's just say they don't look right for this part of majestic Krasnoyarsk territory. 

Sadly, even the highly-respected Los Angeles Times finds it all 'convincing', specially the 'things that rustle and howl in the dark' which, of course, is all that happens in the real Siberia. 

'There aren't too many shows that provide good old-fashioned scare tactics', it states before warning: ''Siberia' may wind up going bloody and gross'.

It is not real in another way, too. The people. 

Siberia show NBC


Siberia show NBC

'Jeopardy and anxiety heighten with the acute need for food and protection from the Siberian wilderness as Natalie (Natalie Ann Scheetz) and Anne-Marie (Anne-Marie Mueschke) claim to have seen a tiger nearby'. Pictures: Engine Entertainment 

Of course, it has the usual stereotypes for such shows, we're told, like 'the conceited, obnoxious country boy (Johnny Wactor), the snooty model (Esther Anderson), the helpful environmentalist (Tommy Mountain), the friendly geek (Daniel Sutton) ...etc. 

In this reality-that's-not-reality show, the contestants are actors playing the part of normal people.

'It's very possible people will wind up being tricked into believing it's all real, or at least as 'real' as this sort of exercise gets,' warns Daily Variety. 

Which all means that it is Siberia's image in the world which takes another hit. Just at a time when it is rightly recovering a more positive image around the world, with inward investment and foreign tourism growing significantly. These investors and tourists come in search of the real modern Siberia, unlike the makers of this TV fake.  

This clearly is of no interest to NBC and those who made this series in Manitoba, namely Infinity Films Productions in association with Sierra-Engine Television and the appropriately named Welldone Productions. Well done, NBC.

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Comments (27)

Well, when they ran out of jungles, deserts, ancient temples, and space aliens, they looked at the map of the planet, and said, "THERE! No-one's filmed THERE yet. Or anything about that place. Let's sell it to our masses."
:)
Gupse Daghestani, Amman, Jordan
18/12/2013 22:21
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Hey, Siberia doesn't "give a negative portrayal." Almost the entire plot is based off of YOUR Tunguskan folklore. If anything, Siberia has made me want to study more about the Tunguska event, the Evenki tribe, or the "Valleymen," in the so-called "Valley of Death."

And... as for the fact that it was filmed in Manitoba; what did you expect? It was filmed independently, They don't have the money to fly all the way to somewhere like Tunguska... plus, Tunguska is TRULY secluded. What if someone was actually injured on set?

I really think you should stop being so negative and realize that here in America, we have a show that's based on your folklore! That's huge publicity! Try to be more positive when Season 2 comes around.
Alex, United States
03/12/2013 22:55
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Looks like it was censored to protect the aliens, lol

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avr31l0rEpc
Tim Oneill, Ft Hood, TX, USA
18/09/2013 07:16
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Oh, c'mon! Just because the name is "Siberia", doesn't mean it's actually about the real Siberia. It's obvious that the name is supposed to represent a foreboding, mysterious place, not any real place. Anyway, I think the show is brilliant.
Anthony, US
13/09/2013 09:55
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This article is a tad funny. They call out the show for being filmed in Canada when the show is about Siberia as if this is some great discovery/shock. In reality, many shows are filmed in locations different from the place the show supposedly takes place in. Shows about one US city are filmed in another city, etc. They are usually filmed where it is the cheapest to film, and since Canada is a tad closer than Siberia it makes sense. The article then makes the claim that NBC is trying to censor people from Siberia from watching the show. Again, in reality, I am most certain that all NBC shows are censored. It is similar in most places abroad. When I lived in Asia for 5 years, I had to "cheat" the system and make NBC.com and other stations believe I was in the US to watch American TV. There are programs you can download for free that allow you to do that.
John, USA
21/08/2013 08:28
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Ok people, I love this show just as much as you guys do, Its awesome! But lets be real, IT IS FAKE.


I mean seriously just look up every person in the show, They are all actors and have stared in previous movies/shows, If this was real, they just happen to hire all actors? Cmon people be real.
Anony, Virginia/USA
19/08/2013 07:04
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I love this T.V show so much even if its fake.
Jennifer Aguilar, San Jose USA
14/08/2013 05:52
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1) The show is a (fictional) drama about a (fake) reality show. The audience knows it is scripted and that, like many shows, it is probably not filmed on location, and the credits that run at the end of the show clearly indicate that it's filmed in Canada. In order for the show to be interesting, the location has to be a challenging and isolated one, and I'm sure there are parts of Siberia that would fit the bill. Plus I think they are relating some of the weird phenomena to the Tunguska event (again, in a fictional way for entertainment value), so that's why they picked that location. Not as any insult to the region of Siberia or the people who live there...

2) Claiming that it is censored in Siberia specifically so that the people there won't know about it is ridiculous. Because of media rights, I'm sure anyone in a country other than the US will get that message if they try to watch it on the NBC website (NBC is an American television station). It's like if I'm travelling abroad, my Netflix account won't let me stream video because of media rights being different in different countries. Your claim is either ignorant or intentionally misleading, neither of which is something anyone with journalistic integrity should aim for.
Thalia, USA
14/08/2013 04:20
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On NBC .com, at the end of every episode, they say that JOYCE is an actress, also known as corilina, so this proves they do hire actors
Bob face, United States
12/08/2013 11:28
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The show is meant to be a realistic spoof on the current trend in reality competition shows. I believe they are also taking advantage of a different trend in supernatural programing. It seems harmless, slightly amusing and even interesting. I do not believe that anyone will believe this is a real competition. Also, it's clearly not filmed in Siberea, as with most productions from Hollywood, it is filmed in Canada. Extra points if you spot the Canadian Geese in every episode.
Tracy, Savannah, Georgia USA
01/08/2013 07:20
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Anyone with half a brain knows this show is a fake reality show. Also, it is really common for TV shows to shoot in a location besides where it is supposed to take place. No one is watching this show to be educated about Siberia. It is for entertainment and no one is being tricked into thinking this show is real. It is obvious after five minutes it is a scripted show. Come on now, I know we are Americans but give us a little more credit.
Kate, US
23/07/2013 07:53
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Are they saying that people are dying and getting sick just for ratings? Or do some of these contestants actually work for the show? If they get everyone to leave they don't have to pay anyone the big payout. There's no way that something like this could happen on a TV show, as far as I know it hasn't happened on any other reality show, I think it will be canceled or this will be the only season.
Geena, Reno USA
11/07/2013 22:36
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I'm in the USA ("America" is two continents) and I know where Siberia and Tunguska is. That I'm aware, this is not a USA production and it looks fake as all hell. I didn't finish the second episode it's so bad. The screen is now dominated by some Neeko clown spewing nonsense, looks like a lot of fake acting, etc.. This thing is a real stinker, I turned it OFF. If the people of Siberia are offended by this, I don't blame them one bit.
Duke Mantee, Georgia, USA
09/07/2013 14:25
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Um...I'm pretty sure plenty of Americans (even out here in the West - where, no, we don't ride horses to work) know where Siberia is...the false advertising is the fault of the network...not Americans in general.
dizzybee, Montana, USA
09/07/2013 11:18
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Omg!!!! Foreal!!! Dinosaurs??? Wtf
jsly, stL missouri
09/07/2013 10:26
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12

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