NBC’s Siberia premiered last night to rave reviews by Twitter fans (at least according to their commercial).
The show is a scripted drama parading itself as a reality TV show in the vein of Survivor. The premise is that 16 or so people (I don’t remember cause I don’t really care that much) are dropped in Siberia and have to live there with basically no rules AND THEN something terrible happens. The show then becomes a combination of Survivor meets any of those found footage movies like The Blair Witch Project or REC, but just not as good.
The creators should have spent a little more time watching the predecessor of this type of mock reality show gone wrong called Dead Set. Dead Set was a British series set during eviction night of Big Brother and also a zombie outbreak. Everything about Dead Set was perfect - the casting of the reality show ‘types’, the set, all the behind the scenes stuff that we all know must go on during the real taping of a show like Big Brother, and of course the zombies.
The satirical possibilities are abundant, and “Dead Set,” which was nominated for a Bafta (British Academy) award for best drama serial, deftly makes the connections between reality television and zombification. The screaming crowds that gather for the show’s “eviction” episode, waiting to taunt whichever cast member is voted out, become the zombies desperate to eat the housemates’ flesh. The show’s hateful producer (Andy Nyman) uses “Big Brother” psychology to manipulate a cast member into joining his escape plan. (“Do you know what they call you when you’re out of the room? Gollum.”) (via)
Maybe I’m jumping the gun here since it’s only been one episode, but everything Dead Set does right (even it’s first episode) Siberia does wrong. The attempts at humor are just that - attempts. I don’t care about any of the 16 ‘contestants’. The potential for smart commentary on Survivor or Survivor-type shows may still be coming, but I really don’t think so.