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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.


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,' 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'.


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.


Comments (30)

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
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
Omg!!!! Foreal!!! Dinosaurs??? Wtf
jsly, stL missouri
09/07/2013 10:26
This is a really messed up way to get someones attention. I mean faking someones death is a hell of a way to get ratings
krystal, TN
07/07/2013 09:22
This show promises to be a major dud. Reality shows in general like Survivor offer little entertainment for anyone with a life. This "mock reality" production is not an improvement.
Drew Dixon, Mojave California, USA
06/07/2013 12:51
Do you hear about people from Bermuda complaining about movies with the Bermuda triangle in it? come on, its a show. its just a show!! FACT -Tunguska had a mysterious event, embrace it and let this attract tourism for the sci- fi lovers that will visit. And you shouldn't believe the propaganda that the US network won't allow Siberians to watch, do your research, networks that license rights to a series have limited internet rights, limited to the country they broadcast in.
Rocky, los angeles
04/07/2013 23:48
If they were actually going with Cold War stereotypes of Siberia, then the show would be filmed in winter and set in a supposed penal camp. Also don't get the idea that NBC is specifically blocking Siberians from seeing their trailers. Canadians can't see them either. It's lazy website programming to keep people from outside of their advertising zone from watching their shows on the website. Lastly, while one of the characters claims to have seen a tiger, she totally will not have seen a tiger. That's her overheated imagination fueled by the killings.
David Johnston, Sexsmith/Canada
02/07/2013 23:43
WTF? You mean this is my Siberia? Oh, c'mon, guys, make a series about grasshoppers on your backyards, it will be better.
Bear with beard, Omsk
02/07/2013 02:32
Don't worry, most Americans watching this television show will have no idea where Siberia is located.
Bill, Miami, Florida, U.S.
01/07/2013 20:15
I enjoy your magazine and turn to it weekly but I found in one headline a perhaps unconscious Russian attitude toward Americans, as if they are the perpetrators. I read "Americans censor (and fake) Siberia" when in fact a major television network did it, not Americans in general.
John, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
01/07/2013 19:00
Truly, truly pathetic. But then you wouldn't want them decending on the real Siberia and spoiing what is so wonderful about the real thing by bringing millions of American tourists in their wake, would you?
Martin Barlow, Wales, UK
01/07/2013 17:47
cheap and silly but what did you expect? most of the audience would anyway have no idea of where/what Siberia is
Polina, Germany
01/07/2013 00:50
Winni Peg, to some extent ;))
Ksusha, Omsk
30/06/2013 20:28
for that the Americans will not get Snowden ;)
Alexander, Novosibirsk
30/06/2013 19:40
Does this make me a Siberian?
Winni Peg, Manitoba
30/06/2013 19:15

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