Early reviews for La Brea aren’t just disappointing, they are downright stinking….
The NBCU series around a giant sinkhole opening a portal to another time, was filmed in Victoria.
In Australia this will come to 9Now.
In the first two episodes given to critics for review, La Brea is all breathless narrative momentum. In addition to the big, obvious question of WTF is going on with the sinkhole, La Brea seeds a bunch of smaller mysteries and urgent mini-crises around its lush green fields: Will this character survive an animal attack? What’s with the Mustang full of heroin? Are those po-faced girls (Lily Santiago and Chloe De Los Santos) part of a religious cult or something? What is that angsty therapist (Chiké Okonkwo) trying to hide? Is that one dude (Stephen Lopez) ever gonna find his glasses? On the one hand, all this heavy plotting makes La Brea go down smoothly. If you get bored investigating one particular oddity, there’s always another just around the corner. As great as the series is at raising new questions, however, it’s not at all clear how good it’ll be at answering them. A storyline in episode two about a cop (Karina Logue) searching for a missing man turns out to be less an actual subplot than an instance of the show obscuring basic information for maximum dramatic potential. And when there are significant reveals — like clues about where exactly this pristine wild land really is — the show tends to repeat them over and over, as scattered characters in both worlds come to the realization at different times.
When “Lost” premiered in 2004, there was truly nothing else on TV quite like it. Almost 20 years later, there have been so many attempts to recapture its singular alchemy that they barely even register anymore. (Unless, as in the case of NBC’s recently canceled “Manifest,” it ends up striking a chord on Netflix.) So on the one hand, “La Brea” creator David Appelbaum is smart to acknowledge his predecessor. On the other, pointing out the superficial similarities between “La Brea” and “Lost” inevitably calls to mind all the crucial differences, too. Whereas “Lost” was content to (and/or got the room to) luxuriate in the unknown, “La Brea” offers up plenty of answers by the end of the first episode. Perhaps that will keep some otherwise distracted viewers on board for the next, but more or less knowing what’s happening does suck some of the intrigue out of the air.
The Globe & Mail (Canada)
The series is so wretchedly bad, it is gripping in its awfulness. It is a show about a disaster and what emerges in the first hour is a disaster of epic proportions. Rarely has the inanity of network TV been so nakedly exposed…….La Brea is one of the strangest, most painfully insipid first episodes I have ever seen. A lot of money was spent on it and yet it has no texture, no intrigue at all. The characters are clichés, the dialogue ludicrous and the acting is shockingly bad. If you want to see how low network TV has sunk, just watch it. It’s very instructive.
This show is bad. There is no beating around the bush. folks. From truly weak dialogue to third-rate computer effects, it is astounding that this series made it to air. Compared to Lost, to which this series shares more than a passing resemblance, the FX here is beyond dated and looks like something you would see in SyFy’s early 2000s output. You can tell in the first five minutes, embedded above, that this is not written to be an Emmy contender for Best Drama Series. If anything, this show opens with an hour that barely hides the fact that it takes every twist, turn, and character development from other, better shows.
The signs of multi-dimensional time travel and seething government conspiracy begin appearing at once, and it’s apparent that La Brea is going to be another one of those sci-fi shows like Manifest or Fringe or, yeah, Lost, that’s high on concept, low on planning, just dawdling along toward nowhere in particular until its fans rise up in fury and disembowel the producers with shards of their own cell phones. (This very last bit hasn’t actually happened yet, but I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy.)