La Brea, NBC’s latest science-fiction drama that pushes the suspension of disbelief, just landed a season 2 renewal only a handful of episodes into the season.
This drama follows a group of people who fall into a sinkhole and end up in Los Angeles at the dawn of man and their loved ones back in the modern ages. While the sinkhole survivors try to come together to survive amidst a dangerous environment, those left behind try to solve the mystery of the sinkholes to rescue the survivors.
La Brea focuses on governmental conspiracies and how interpersonal relationships affect survival in the stranding wilderness, scenarios not uncommon among television and movies. If this show’s premise pushes you to the edge of your seat and one episode a week isn’t enough to scratch that itch, check out these 10 shows that remind us of La Brea.
Terra Nova is the ancestor to La Brea, following a group of refugees who settle in the Cretaceous period, traveling even farther than the sinkhole survivors. Out of any of the other series on this list, this show is most like La Brea, possibly even leading people to wonder if Terra Nova inspired the creation of the idea behind the freshman NBC show. Also featuring families trying to repair their own bonds while trying to survive, fans of La Brea are pretty much guaranteed to enjoy Terra Nova. Even with the close similarity, the small differences such as the setting and in-show leadership ensure you won’t be bored by repetitive plots. Plus -- Terra Nova performances are a step above La Brea’s, and one season isn’t much of a commitment.
Manifest feels like La Brea and that’s probably due to the similar sci-fi mechanics used to tell a family-centric story. This series tells the story of passengers on a plane that disappears for five years and then returns as if nothing had happened. The main difference, structurally, between the two series is the pacing of its fantasy. La Brea shows a family fighting to return to each other while Manifest focuses on a family trying to stay together after reunifying. This show is great for fans of La Brea who love passionate characters solving high-stakes mysteries for their families. Manifest’s Josh Dallas’ Ben Stone is cut from the exact same cloth as Gavin Harris (Eoin Macken) to take the similarities a step further. With three seasons streaming and a fourth and final season picked up by Netlfix (after a high-profile un-cancellation campaign) there are plenty of good reasons to watch this show.
Lost in Space
Lost in Space exhibits a wildly different setting than La Brea, but this show still features survival in harsh environments — it’s even in the show’s name! Lost in Space follows a family trying to survive after plans to settle a colony are interrupted by an unexpected robot attack. The young boy bonds with the robot and the rest is history; the audience is in love and wants to empathize with the boy's robot friend. This series is fun and thrilling with complicated character dynamics, the perfect combination for a science-fiction action series. With great effects and heart-wrenching performances, Lost in Space is different enough from La Brea to feel new, but similar enough to feel the same intrigue and investment that La Brea rewards its viewers with.
The 100’s premise isn’t too different from La Brea, just reversed. Whereas La Brea takes its characters back in time, The 100 is set in an apocalyptic future, where a group of teenagers is sent to a radioactive Earth to see if the planet is still uninhabitable. The teens on this show meet the survivors of the nuclear meltdown, mutated creatures, and harsh conditions while dealing with their own drama and angst. The youth and backstories of the characters make The 100 passionate and emotional, solidifying itself as a great show for fans of teenage drama and science fiction lovers alike, especially in the earlier seasons. With its ever-evolving world-building and lore, this show is engaging and an easy binge. Though if you’re going to try this one, it makes a lot more sense if you stop after Season 6. Trust me on this.
Even though COVID-19 halted and canceled a Season 2 already promised to fans, The Society is still an exhilarating watch. Like La Brea, this show centers on a mystery that changes the world of the characters, but this time, a group of teenagers returns to their town after a field trip to find everyone else is missing. When they can’t leave, the teens are forced to make their own rules and society, not unlike the survivors of La Brea’s sinkhole. This show turns up the dial on conflict, typical of most young adult dramas, but the circumstances of their new reality push them to new lengths, notably similar to how Eve Harris (Natalie Lea) abandons Sam Velez (Jon Seda) in La Brea. The Society is a heart-pounding and gasp-invoking show to watch on a lazy Saturday while you’re waiting for La Brea’s next installment.
With one season streaming and the second one on the way, The Wilds is the gendered iteration of the stranded survival story. It's like if Lost only had female characters and was actually an elaborate experiment about the hypothetical loss of the patriarchy (and it promises to do the same thing to the matriarchy in Season 2). The Wilds is designed to pull women from all different backgrounds in a similar way that La Brea features opposing personalities among the sinkhole survivors. Character choice is everything for a survival story, and The Wilds picks its characters well, introducing many plot twists (no spoilers here!) along the way. Although this show isn’t exactly science fiction, The Wilds does take a close look at the bonds made during trauma and how connections are make-or-break. This is a great show to add to your watch list while still having more to look forward to.
The CW’s Nancy Drew took some time to hit its stride, but once it does in season 2, the series becomes gripping. Solving mysteries about the spirits in Horseshoe Bay ticks of the mystery box that will draw La Brea fans to watch this series, but the found family in this show (initially pushed together after becoming suspects in a murder case) keeps its audience coming back. Even the opening main romantic relationship doesn’t seem too deep in the beginning, but by the currently-airing season 3, that gets much harder to say. Each character gains complexity throughout the series, keeping the audience gripped and wanting to know more about each character in an authentic way that La Brea hasn't quite attained yet. Nancy Drew is a different type of spooky than La Brea but it's the skeleton of these two shows that will have La Brea fans loving this adaptation of Nancy Drew.
If you’re looking for a weird show, then The OA is your final stop. This short-lived series follows the story of Prarie Johnson (Brit Marling), who returns home after going missing for 7 years. This show is definitely a science-fiction mystery, featuring unique lore concerning near-death experiences and the multiverse, but this show stands out due to the bond between the characters, especially between Prarie and the teenagers she opens up to, about her time missing. These characters have a rocky start (like most people in high school) but the slow-burn of a found family is a draw for La Brea too, paving the way for La Brea fans to also enjoy The OA, even though the show’s life was cut too short.
Roswell, New Mexico
Who doesn’t love a good alien story? Roswell, New Mexico adapts the original source material, “Roswell High,” by Melinda Metz, and follows a family of stranded aliens and the mysteries around them that start to unravel when their former classmate returns to town. While the mysteries are a mix of supernatural and science-fiction, this show feels a lot like La Brea with the character dynamics and high tension as the characters follow mysteries and events plaguing their town ever since the events that made Roswell known. This show has a lot, a lot of tension, mistrust, and shifting loyalties, making Roswell, New Mexico a binge easy to undertake. It even has the plus of an early season 4 renewal. So, if you’re looking for a new supernatural drama, don’t wait for another alien crash to check one out!
12 Monkeys is the little sci-fi that could. A completed four-season series loosely inspired by the movie with the same name, this series is time-travel perfection. 12 Monkeys sees a man from the future travel to the past to prevent a deadly virus, but for those who have seen too much COVID-19 in their TV shows, don’t worry — this plot arc morphs into an all-out battle for control of time itself. While not as stationary as La Brea, 12 Monkeys does see the ripples of time, and over its 47 episodes, builds the story of a family pivotal in the conflict to envelop humanity. 12 Monkeys may be more serialized than La Brea, but if it's time travel you’re looking for, 12 Monkeys is the next show you should be watching.
KEEP READING: 'La Brea' Showrunners on What to Expect From the NBC Sci-Fi Disaster Series and the 'Lost' Connection
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