Annie Barrett
July 08, 2013 AT 12:00 PM EDT

On tonight’s second installment of NBC’s “scripted reality” experiment Siberia, demon-shroom victim Victoria warns solo cave explorer Daniel that all of the fake contestants are about to lose their lives. Ooh, please? When?

I’m probably watching this the wrong way — I keep favoring the reality TV perspective instead of watching it as a drama. As a result, the bad acting KILLS it because it zaps the fun out. I’m guessing watching it as a drama wouldn’t be too exciting either, but I should probably give it another chance. In theory, the show seems like a decent idea. In execution it just seems so earnest and inherently unfunny all-around.

Amidst all the fakery — magic mushrooms almost killing Victoria, Johnny chopping off his finger, Daniel yelling “HELLO!” into a scary cave after finding a bloody mess in the woods — I’d want to stick around and give it another shot if there were even one curveball in the mix. Like, maybe a producer could walk out into the open and declare a game-changer, one that would genuinely surprise the “contestants” (though I don’t even think it would work — we still wouldn’t believe that they were shocked!) Or the “monster” with the huge paw (?) print could become a sentient character and we’d get to go behind the scenes with him into his lair or something. I mean, both of these twists sound awful, obviously. There is no hope!

Basically the show would have to veer more into straight-up reality or straight-up fiction in order to gain credibility or intrigue. It’s attempting to balance right on the line between the two, and the problem is there’s nothing at stake. The high wire is just sitting on the ground. A lot appears to be happening, but it’s so boring.


–Daniel wandered further into the woods after Tommy had apparently just ‘DIED’ in there and found Sabina speed-walking out of the aforementioned scary cave. “Thankfully, I ran into her,” said this dope. Something is UP with this girl! Perhaps this lady who knows how to handle a gun and can teleport to caves is not to be trusted on this scripted reality show.

–The actors “found” a shack stuffed with perishable rations and proceeded to fight over whether to eat everything now or save everything for later. The Russian jar labels were a nice touch. YOU ARE IN CANADA.

–The gun they found is missing bullets.

–Johnny accidentally sliced off part of his trigger finger, then bravely decided to stay in the game: “I’ll get a fake finger with $500,000 in my pocket.”

–Esther (pictured) encouraged Victoria to eat poisonous mushrooms and then stood around playing dumb — at one point blaming some local butterflies — as the others wondered why she spent the night thrashing around in bed and screaming things like “It’s green, and there’s fire.”

–A girl in Goth-y clubbing clothes (perfect for the woods) named Annie stuck her fingers down Victoria’s throat until she barfed up one giant mushroom mass.

–When Daniel chased down Victoria (who quit at the end of the episode), she let him in on a secret: “You guys are all gonna die.”


–A guy named George opted out of the game, collecting a cool $5,000, which he’ll presumably spend on more coral jackets.

Are you compelled to stick around? Have you been able to watch it as a drama?

Read more:

Siberia’: What’s the difference between ‘real’ and ‘fake’ reality?

NBC’s ‘Siberia’ trailer: It’s ‘Lost’ meets ‘Survivor’

Follow @EWAnnieBarrett

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