A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Siberia is a mock reality show that morphs into a Lost-like horror/fantasy show. This conceit may be particularly frightening to younger viewers, who may think that they're watching a typical reality show in the vein of Survivor -- and then be surprised and terrified when things start to go wrong. The set-up that these are real people involved in a manufactured competition does add to the horror element and make it scarier. Viewers will see a little blood and gore, as well as supernatural goings-on and deaths both on- and offscreen. What appears to be real people are frequently in mortal jeopardy. The showrunners amp up the horror quotient with a lot of scary music, too. Viewers will also hear a few curses -- "I whipped everyone's ass" -- and some bleeped words, too. Cast members also admit to being willing to lie and cheat to win.
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What's the story?
In SIBERIA, 16 contestants are set loose in a remote wilderness, with only the clothes on their backs. Their goal? Living through the winter, with a prize of $500,000 to split between every contestant who doesn't give up and go home. But all isn't as it seems in what first seems like a clone of Survivor-like reality shows but then turns into a supernatural horror show in which cast members are picked off one by one by forces they don't understand. Who will win the $500,000? It's more a question of who's going to make it out alive.
Is it any good?
Reality competitions in which contestants undergo a certain amount of torture for the promise of cash are old hat by now, so viewers not in on Siberia's twist can be forgiven for watching most of the first episode with only half their attention. Contestants fighting over food and beds, one dude lying around and tanning, a chick who gets what she wants by flirting with the male contestants -- ho hum. It comes off as blah but also reads as real. Well, real faux reality that is, which makes the scary happenings, when they start happening, all the scarier. It does appear as if the cameras have caught a reality far more interesting than the competition they were supposed to be filming.
Siberia could move along a little more briskly. It looks and sounds a lot like Lost, but things are a bit slower and talkier. Nonetheless, if only for surprising a jaded bunch of viewers with an interesting idea, Siberia deserves a look. But if you let older tweens watch, make sure to sit with them so they're not unduly surprised by the show's twist -- or by the ominous music and Blair Witch Project-like quick camera cuts and eerie noises in the night.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether Siberia's surprise is really a surprise. Did you think you were watching an actual reality show? Did it scare you when you thought things were going unexpectedly wrong? Do you feel fooled by this show or excited to have had your expectations subverted?
Have you seen people on other reality shows who look or sound like the "contestants" on Siberia? Do you think the show was making a point by casting reality show "types"?
Siberia is set in what's described as a very remote wilderness. Does that add to the scare factor? In what way? Why are people afraid of being in a natural setting far from other people?
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