La Brea Is A Lost-Esque Thrilling Epic Adventure

"La Brea" Key Art (NBC Entertainment).

NBC drama series La Brea delivers a thrilling epic adventure that will have audiences asking questions and wanting answers sooner than later.

When a sinkhole forms underneath the La Brea Tar Pits, it pulls hundreds of people into its never-ending deaths. The Harris family is at the center of this series, both in present day and in the dangerous land. When an adventure series such as this one has you asking questions, you know it’s working. Credit to series creator David Appelbaum and everyone else working on the series. We don’t know what happened but Gavin Harris (Eoin Macken) thinks he knows something–he’s been having visions for a number of years now. What was once an empty field is now populated with his estranged wife, Eve Harris (Natalie Zea), and son, Josh (Jack Martin). Their daughter, Izzy (Zyra Gorecki), is the only family member to not fall through the sinkhole. Whether anyone will listen to him is a different story.

Tonight’s jam-packed episode follows up on last week’s thrilling series premiere. Honestly, a show like this needed a two-part series premiere because there’s so much going on. Last week introduced us to all the main players but tonight follows through on more of the mysterious intrigue. The series premiere may have answered the where but we need to know the when. It usually takes a few episodes before a series is able to find its footing. I want to see what happens over the course of the next few episodes but the first two episodes offer enough to keep me engaged.

After two episodes, I feel that La Brea is right up there with Lost and other event-type series. Creator David Appelbaum isn’t afraid of acknowledging the hit ABC series with one character remarking that he falls like he’s in an episode of Lost. He isn’t wrong but at least we start getting some answers early rather than wait until G-d knows when. Unlike Lost, La Brea enters a world that might not allow the series to survive. More on this in a few.

Like her character in the series, Zyra Gorecki had her leg amputated in real life. In being cast on the series, she becomes one of the rare amputee leads on a broadcast series. Hollywood is a work in progress but this is huge. They could have easily have made her character just another able-bodied human but they didn’t. There is a flashback scene in the second episode that depicts her character pre-amputation so I’m assuming it was a stunt double shot from behind.

As viewers, we see what is happening as it unfolds. This is more than those who inhibit the world of La Brea. What they need are answers. What is at the bottom of the sinkhole and where did everyone end up? Where do Gavin’s visions come from and what do they mean for everyone? The second episode premieres tonight and while I’m not about to really dive into the specifics of both episodes, I have a lot of questions. Will the Harris family be able to reunite by the end of the season? Or will ratings bring about La Brea‘s demise before we can get those answers? The initial series premiere ratings aren’t helpful but this also speaks to the evolution of television. What defines a hit for broadcast in an era when so many are tuning into streaming services?

Every now and then, NBC will deliver a drama like this series. The question is whether it will achieve the ratings needed to keep it on the air. This is the thing with series: the networks are not releasing them in a way that you can watch all the episodes at once. Even though Peacock is right there and episodes are available the next day, La Brea can only survive if the audience tunes in every week. And again, this series enters the world where people want to watch in a binge setting. This is a difference between La Brea and Lost. Lost didn’t enter a world where streaming was the big thing. This isn’t a cheap series to make and it shows in what we see on the screen. Opening up a massive sinkhole in Los Angeles is not an easy feat by any means.

NBC bet a lot of money on this series by promoting it during so many TV spots including the Summer Olympics. With this sort of investment, one hopes they are willing to let it find an audience. We’ll see what happens but this is the thrilling entertainment we need right now.

La Brea will answer our questions little by little but this series requires patience with its weekly rollout.

CREATOR: David Appelbaum
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: David Appelbaum, Bryan Wynbrandt, Steven Lilien, Avi Nir, Alon Shtruzman, Peter Traugott, Rachel Kaplan, Ken Woodruff, Adam Davidson, Arika Lisanne Mittman
CAST: Natalie Zea, Eoin Macken, Jack Martin, Zyra Gorecki, Jon Seda, Chiké Okonkwo, Karina Logue, Veronica St. Clair, Rohan Mirchandaney, Nicholas Gonzalez, Lily Santiago, Chloe De Los Santos, Josh McKenzie

La Brea airs Tuesdays (9-10 p.m. ET/PT) on NBC.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.