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Case Number 27112: Small Claims Court

Buy Siberia: Season One at Amazon

Siberia: Season One

Lionsgate // 2013 // 484 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // March 21st, 2014

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All Rise...

Judge Brett Cullum finds Siberia far safer than The Bachelor.

The Charge

What happens when a reality show goes terribly wrong…

The Case

Siberia is a fusion of Survivor, Lost, and The Blair Witch Project, with reality show contestants trapped in the woods of Siberia fighting each other and the elements for their lives.

In 1908, something terrible happened in the territory of Tunguska, and yet it has now become the location for sixteen strangers to compete for $500,000. At first, when strange things start happening the wary contestants simply assume the producers are trying to scare them into playing a game. Soon things get weirder and weirder and there is no way out. The producers are nowhere to be found, and the game is one of surviving despite the desperate odds.

Siberia: Season One should simply be called "the whole series," because the show only lasted one year. The reviews were good, the ratings averaged about two million people a week, yet it wasn't enough to keep it going. Like Lost, the show raises far more questions than it ever answers in the eleven episodes we have here. You just have to enjoy the creepy atmosphere, and roll with the narrative holes and unanswered mysteries.

Siberia has a nice visual quality since it feels exactly like a glossy reality show much in the same vein as Survivor. It is shot with a high-definition sheen to exploit its faked exotic locale (Siberia is actually Canada). The actors are all unknowns, but they do seem too "actor-ish" to come off as reality show contestants. There is a sense of heightened drama that gives the gimmick away right off the bat. It's an easy-to-spot mockumentary, so no worries anybody will fall for the idea this is found footage.

Lionsgate's Siberia: Season One release is barebones. The standard def 1.78:1 widescreen transfer is solid, and the picture is pristine. The sound treatment is a full five-channel surround that is done well. There are no bonus features to explain anything, and that seems a shame. You wonder as the whole thing progresses how filming was approached, and how much was scripted or improvised. Of course, they could have offered some ideas on the resolution of everything. You wonder where Season Two would have gone.

There are huge plot holes here. Like how do the camera men survive this whole thing, managing to get people to do "testimonials" even as the crap hits the fan? Of course, that's really the least of the big gaping narrative flaws this series manages to rip open. Siberia is a glossy mockumentary that feels a little too calculated to fool anybody, but it is still a very cool idea. I give it points for the concept, but have to downgrade it in the final analysis for doing exactly what Lost did. It poses far too many questions, and never seems to bother wasting time answering anything before it all implodes under the weight of mystery piled on top of mystery.

The Verdict

As rough as the land that inspired it.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 78

Perp Profile

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• None
Running Time: 484 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Adventure
• Mystery
• Reality TV
• Suspense
• Television
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• None


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