TV Show Review: La Brea (Episode One)

Mild spoilers ahead!

LA BREA — “Pilot” — Pictured: (l-r) Zyra Gorecki as Izzy Harris, Natalie Zea as Eve Harris — (Photo by: Sarah Enticknap/NBC)

I’m a sucker for disaster films and television shows. Earlier this year, I went on a disaster movie kick and reviewed a number of films within the genre. As it happens, NBC just launched a new, highly-hyped television disaster (with a sci-fi twist!) show called La Brea.

Yes, it’s network television. I still watch network television in 2021, if it catches my eyeballs!

The basic premise is that a gigantic sinkhole opens in Los Angeles, separating a family of four; two are left in, uh, normal Los Angeles and two are in, uh, Ice Age? Other dimension? Los Angeles.

So, the four characters are: Eve (played by Natalie Zea, who I enjoyed quite a bit in Justified), whose description on Wikipedia cracked me by calling her a “helicopter mom”; Gavin (played by Eoin Macken), who is Eve’s estranged husband having visions of the sinkhole place; Izzy (played by Zyra Gorecki, who is legitimately an actress with a disability, so that’s awesome, as that’s a feature written into the show; she lost part of her leg in a car accident) who is their daughter; and Josh (played by Jack Martin), who is their son.

Eve and Josh are the ones who fall into the sinkhole, where Josh promptly gets attacked by a wolf. Izzy and Gavin are left in regular Los Angeles to figure out what’s going on. Izzy thinks Gavin is just seeing things again and being unhelpful, but he’s legitimately seeing visions from wherever Eve and Josh are.

Primarily from the teaser of what’s to come from this season of the show, it certainly seems like Eve and Josh and the others who fell into the sinkhole are in Ice Age Los Angeles. In addition, there’s literally a place in Los Angeles called the La Brea Tar Pits that’s an Ice Age-era museum. When adding in that the father is seeing real-time visions of what’s going on in the pit, I’m not quite sure what to make of what’s going on. I don’t have any strong theories just yet!

Meanwhile, the chief scientist of the Department of Homeland Security, which apparently is a real position and not a fiction of the show, so today I learned, and another agent with DHS, know that there is some mysterious green light that leads to … something. However, like true government agents, they are lying to the public by saying everyone is dead from the giant sinkhole. Apparently, a similar green light was first seen in the Mojave Desert.

Like I said, I’m a sucker for the disaster genre and the opening sequence of the gigantic sinkhole swallowing up humans, vehicles and even buildings was awesome. The CGI wolf, not so much, but I don’t mind. Add in some sci-fi and mystery intrigue and welp, I’m having fun.

Yes, again, it’s network TV and yes, that means some of the acting, script-writing (particularly the dialogue) and so forth is a bit cardboard and wooden (mixing descriptions here), but the disaster, sci-fi and mystery are enough to make me intrigued to keep watching. Plus, it’s a first episode! Most TV shows, network or not, are shaky on their first episode as they find their footing.

I was particularly bemused that a police officer stuck in the pit already outed herself as a shady character trying to steal energy bars. Dang cops.

Finally, when looking at what other people said about the show, I saw a lot of comparisons to this being NBC’s gambit to find another Lost-level success. Even if true, how is that a bad thing? If you were a fan of Lost, don’t you want the networks trying to create another fun show like it? I sure do! And I say that as someone who hasn’t even seen Lost. I just thought that was an odd complaint.

Anyhow, if you’re like me and already are predisposed to the disaster genre and particularly are open-minded to network shows, then I’d recommend giving this a whirl! It’s mindless fun and sometimes, we need that in our lives.

LA BREA — “Pilot” — Pictured: (l-r) Zyra Gorecki as Izzy Harris, Eoin Macken as Gavin Harris — (Photo by: Sarah Enticknap/NBC)

4 thoughts

  1. Granted, we demand a lot from a 40-42 minute (less breaks) pilot. Still, while I love the premise, I’m disappointed with LA BREA’s much vaunted debut episode. When the LOST passengers crashed on the beach, they were sandy, filthy, bloody, and scraped up, running around in tattered clothes. The Angelino’s who fell a thousand feet and 15,000 years into a giant sink hole–along with several city blocks and all the stratta supporting it–look like they just waltzed out of Bon Marche. Spotless. Then there’s the characters; right after the trailer, I couldn’t name a single one. Because I didn’t buy the act, I didn’t connect with, or root for, any of them. And why did no one say, “Hey, that’s a Dire Wolf. They’ve been extinct for 14,000 years.” Yes, I’ll watch Episode Two just to see if the writers can pull something together, but the dialogue and character development better be 4 stars or better, or I’m gone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you about not connecting to any of the characters so far. But I do think there’s something to the mystery of the fact that the survivors in the sinkhole aren’t scratched up.

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