What have you been watching? Including La Brea

LA BREA -- Pictured: "La Brea" Key Art -- (Photo by: NBC Entertainment)

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

Surprisingly, last week’s huge flurry of new shows seems to have been the extent of the Fall season in North America. I assumed it would be bigger and longer than… a week. Maybe there’ll be more this month, but that would involve me looking to find out. Sounds like work, doesn’t it?

I prefer to just bump into new shows these days. Did you know IMDb TV is going to be a thing? I’d heard a bit about it and knew there was a new Judge Judy show on it, but that’s about it, so figured it was just reality TV.

But now I’ve just stumbled onto the fact that apparently, they’ve rebooted Leverage with the entire original cast and Noah Wyle but not Timothy Hutton (for very, very obvious reasons). And here’s a trailer for Leverage: Redemption, which is going to start in just a few weeks. Isn’t that some good stumbling?

I also stumbled across Fires, which is ABC (Australia)’s retelling of last year’s wildfires in Australia. Remember when that was going to be the thing of 2020?

Anyway, that’s just started but is verboten in this house, on the grounds it’s about something real and miserable.

That meant the only new show I have to share with you is this piece of rubbish.


La Brea (US: NBC)

A massive sinkhole mysteriously opens up in Los Angeles, separating part of a family in an unexplainable primeval world, alongside a disparate group of strangers.

Rob says: ‘Lost meets The Lost World = Twice as Lost’

It’s pretty obvious right from the outset of La Brea that this is going to be an awful TV show. All the standard tools for character compression get thrown out like balls from a tennis practice machine, with us clear within the first minute of a random car journey to school that the three characters have moved house, are a family, one has lost her leg somehow, have left the father somewhere else for ‘reasons’, the mum (Natalie Zea) is feeling guilty of being a ‘helicopter mom’ and more. Not for a moment is it natural dialogue.

By minute two, a massive sinkhole has opened up and we’re having car chases on pavements in reverse, people running out the way, buildings falling and more.

Never for one second are you expected to be bored or to have to use your brain. Don’t worry – you won’t need it.

Before you know it, half our family are in a grassy wonderland that looks a bit Canadian that’s apparently under LA somehow, the other half are stuck up above and think the first lot are dead. But fear not, they’ve just fallen down some kind of portal into a primeval dimension, filled with CGI wolves, sabretooth tigers and sort of vultures.

Meanwhile, Air Force dad (Eoin Macken from Nightflyers) turns out to have been diagnosed with schizophrenia but – oh wow, isn’t this handy and coincidental – has actually been having visions of what’s happening in this parallel world and can now see that his wife and all these other helpfully diverse people (surgeon/Navy SEALs, psychologist with guns, heroin smugglers) are all still alive! And must be saved! Please believe him!

One of the characters references Lost. I presume that’s as a sort of preemption to prevent people from accusing it of being Lost. “We’re not going to point out the similarities if we actually are just doing Lost are we?”

It is Lost. Sorry. That little ruse didn’t work for Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct; it won’t work here either.

But it’s also The Lost World. That’s a really hard one to portmanteau with Lost, isn’t it? Shall we just say it’s twice as Lost?

Clearly, it’s The Lost World. Maybe even Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Or more likely that thing with Doug McLure.

Anyway, it’s terrible. Everyone’s stupid. There wasn’t even one moment of plausibility in the whole thing, even before the sinkhole opened up. The effects are poor. The set-up is dumb. Even Natalie Zea can’t save this one.

And, of course, it’s an NBC show with a central ‘secret’ that will be eked out across multiple seasons and then cancelled before there’s any real resolution, unless Netflix saves it (cf Manifest). And this one is going to get cancelled very quickly. That means there are even fewer reasons to watch it.

The regulars

Otherwise, it was just the regulars. So, first up, I’m not going to be reviewing What We Do In The Shadows any more. For starters, I’m getting a bit bored of it, so I’m not sure there’s much point. It’s a bit funny every week, but that’s about it. There’ll probably be one awesome episode this season, which seems to be the tradition, but one awesome episode isn’t really enough to sustain reviews.

It’s also a comedy and as with Modern Family, which I did watch until the final episode but stopped reviewing at about season 4, there’s only so much you can say about an episodic comedy anyway before there stops being a point. So I’m going to keep watching What We Do In the Shadow but not review it.

Only Murders in the Building gave us more of Selena Gomez’s character, but as usual, Martin Short steals the show with his podcast antics.

The Cleaner was a more interesting affair, since it was basically Greg Davies (old bloke) meeting some young guy who’s obsessed with both social media and the 80s and Davies educating him about what the 80s was really like. But the two also came to a sort of interesting rapprochement that I quite enjoyed, so it wasn’t just an old guy going ‘Tsk, tsk! The kids today, hey?’

But what did you watch?


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

    View all posts