Shows are often compared to “Lost,” but the obvious influences here are possibly more striking than ever—one of my kids even said at one point, “And there’s the Sawyer character.” As a fan of “Lost,” some of its mimics, and B-movies in general, I’ll admit that I found the premise of “La Brea” more intriguing than most of the 2021 broadcast network offerings. And while the pilot doesn’t have the immediate adrenalin rush of the first “Lost” (almost nothing on TV does), it does set up just enough to keep viewers engaged. This is one of those tough situations where a network sent only one episode for review, and the show is one that could really go in either direction. The concept is engaging enough that a writing team could unpack it and produce some fun, B-movie thrills, or they could get weighed down with the thin writing and cheap effects that feel like they constrain the pilot. Only time will tell.
“La Brea” is a show about time in a sense. It’s also a show about a giant sinkhole, the one that forms in the pilot’s opening scene (credit for not wasting any time with character set-ups before “getting to the good stuff”), dragging in people and cars. One of the people is Claire (Natalie Zea), whose daughter Izzy (Zyra Gorecki) remains in L.A. while her son Josh (Jack Martin) tumbles into the sinkhole with her. Surprisingly, Josh and Claire don’t wake up in a deep hole but in a vast field. Signs of life aren’t plentiful, until the wolves show up. Where are there? WHEN are they?
Meanwhile, Izzy gets in touch with her father Gavin (Eoin Macken), who seems to have some inexplicable connection to the people on the other side of the sinkhole. He has visions and knows things that the men in black don’t like him knowing. “La Brea” already has some suspicious G-men who seem to be hiding their knowledge about what’s happening in Los Angeles. The show is clearly going to divide its time between the survivors of the sinkhole collapse and everyone else on the surface that’s trying to figure out how to get them back.