‘La Brea’ on NBC is getting high viewership, but it’s a disappointment

Mild spoilers for La Brea below
NBC just released their streaming numbers for their fall shows and the new show La Brea, with Natalie Zea, Karina Logue and Ione Skye, is the number one new show in the 18 to 49 demographic. The viewership is so big it’s smashing records for NBC. That could be due to the success of the Peacock streaming platform, and also the publicity that NBC has invested in this show. La Brea takes place after a giant sinkhole opens up in Los Angeles near the La Brea tar pits, causing people and cars to get sucked in. People on modern day earth assume they’re all dead, but they’re actually transported to prehistoric times at the same location. This is the setup for a character driven survival show, including encounters with prehistoric predators. Some on modern earth sort-of believe the lost people are alive, based on some sketchy details given by a guy who has psychic visions, and are setting up a rescue mission. I’ve seen the first 2.5 episodes and have some thoughts on it which you can likely predict from the title. First here’s Deadline’s writeup on how well this show is doing.

The premiere episode of the series, which stars Natalie Zea, has more than doubled in total viewers since its September 28 launch, from 6.4 million viewers, per Nielsen overnights, to 15.6M. The latter figure includes live and delayed linear viewing as well as digital viewers on Peacock.

The show, from David Appelbaum, has become the best launch of any new NBC show on the network’s sister streamer, though the company didn’t break out the stand-alone digital figures.

While NBCUniversal is evidently happy with its total performance, both on linear and digital – it is the No. 3 new show of the season in total Live+3 viewers after NCIS: Hawai’i and FBI International – it is particularly pleased with its performance among younger viewers…

The premiere has more than tripled in the 18-49 demo from 0.77 to 2.72 — growth of more than 250% — and it is the No. 1 new show of the season in that demo across overnights, L+3 and Live+7.

The show, originally pitched as Lost-meets-Land of the Lost, comes from Keshet Studios in association with Universal Television. Keshet Studios president Peter Traugott told Deadline that he was pleased with the amount of marketing support surrounding the show, which took a long time to make it to air as a result of the pandemic — it was in the middle of producing its pilot when Covid hit and was picked up straight-to-series in January 2021.

[From Deadline via JustJared]

The fact that this was pitched as Lost meets Land of the Lost makes so much sense. I’m sure it will be as satisfying as Lost too. Right now I’m midway through episode three, having given up because I find it frustrating. When three characters tried to outrun a saber tooth tiger instead of taking shelter in a giant vehicle they were standing next to, I started questioning this show. I love stupid shows with ridiculous premises putting people in impossible situations (see: 911 and 911: Lone Star) but this just takes it a little too far. Dustin at Pajiba agrees with me! I should probably stop watching La Brea before I get mad at it, but at least I know there will likely be a second season. Will they answer the mystery at the core of the show? Doubtful.

photos via Instagram/NBC

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19 Responses to “‘La Brea’ on NBC is getting high viewership, but it’s a disappointment”

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  1. jbyrdku says:

    You guys, I couldn’t. I don’t know if it was SUPPOSED to be this bad, but I couldn’t make it past the premiere. Some of the worst acting that I’ve ever seen and laughable special effects. If they did that intentionally, yikes.

    • Laura-Lee says:

      Same. I stuck with Flash Forward, Lost, and Heroes, but I just couldn’t put myself through this one.

      • BlueSky says:

        This is good to know because I hadn’t started watching. I tried to start watching Manifest on Netflix and I gave up after the 3 or 4th episode I think. Everyone was getting on my nerves and I was tired of how the wife and daughter were acting. I loved the premise but the execution was a disappointment

  2. Case says:

    I absolutely refuse to watch these network shows that start off about a single event (natural disaster, plane crash, supernatural phenomenon, etc.). I feel like these stories would make wonderful limited series but are always created to be long-running TV shows that often get cancelled before reaching a satisfying conclusion. Even worse, it feels like a lot of these shows start without the writers even having an ending in mind.

    • AmelieOriginal says:

      Yes thank you! I was invested in Lost for six seasons and I don’t think I’ll ever get invested in a show like that again. We universally agree the Lost finale was one of the stupidest in the history of TV. Lost was a very uneven show, some seasons were amazing and some were not great. It was clear that the writers were never going to be able to wrap up all the mysteries that they introduced because they tried to do too much. The mythology of the show got so convoluted that I need to refer to the online Lost encyclopedia to remember most of the mythology. If you were super into it, you could read all the fan theories/Lost Wiki which collated all the info in one place but most casual viewers don’t do that.

      Any other shows trying to replicate Lost’s formula usually don’t make it and there’s so many I won’t try to list any. I guess you could say The X-Files was a bit like Lost and predated it, it was on the air for about a decade or so (another show I was a huge fan of but watched once the show was off the air). This is why I was on the fence about diving into Manifest which I haven’t done yet. I keep saying La Brea on Hulu and wondering hmm, what is this about? But I’m happy this post saved me from wasting my time.

    • Deering24 says:

      Yep—the X-Files syndrome. Once of that “plot-hints-and-foreshadowing-that-goes-nowhere” mess was more than enough for me.

  3. Terri says:

    My son is 12yo, and has been a scout since 1st grade. We live in a little town nestled inbetween 2 state parks, and we have taught them NOT TO RUN from wildlife since they were old enough to listen.

    so, in short, a 12 yo is screaming at the tv and marching off in disgust at them running from a saber tooth tiger when the ambulance is RIGHT THERE.

  4. Mireille says:

    I might be in the minority here, but I’m watching and I think it’s OK. The plot doesn’t make any sense but it’s fluff stuff to view after a stressful day at work. Is this show any more ridiculous than the over-the-top dramas that are medical, police, fire department, spy TV shows on network TV right now? No. I will say that the writers better not drag this out and have them stuck in the past for the next year or so or they will start to lose viewers. Or they may start to lose them sooner — considering how the next few episodes go. I am surprised on how well its doing. I also like Natalie Zea and that she’s the lead.

  5. ThatsNotOkay says:

    It’s…sooooooo bad. It’s more like AIrplane! meets Land of the Lost, with the psychic guy pilot not being able to get over Macho Grande, but everyone counting on him. Looks like I picked the wrong day to give up amphetamines.

  6. Marigold says:

    I wanted to love this show but is dumb AF. Which would be fine except that it is also boring.

  7. Katie says:

    I don’t want to laugh at insanely stupid dramas. I want to laugh at fun and smart network comedies. Why is that the dying breed? With Brooklyn 99 done, the options are getting sparser and sparser.

    • olliesmom says:

      Yeah, where did the good half hour sitcom go? they are far and few between. Love Brooklyn 99.

    • Courtney B says:

      Have you seen Ghosts? It’s based on a British show and is really cute and funny. It’s on cbs. Also Only Murders in the Building on Hulu.

  8. olliesmom says:

    The special effects are terrible but the acting is worse. I watch it now to make fun of it and I suspect other people are doing the same thing.

    And what is wrong with Natalie Zea? She is the lead “known” actor on this show and she’s been on a ton of good shows and was a decent actor. She has only one emotion/facial expression on this show – surprised with her mouth open.

  9. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    This show will absolutely get cancelled. Even if every actor were replaced, you’d still have to hire special effects and writing. It will go the the way of Terra Nova, that Dome thing, Revolution and countless others. Believe me, I’d love nothing more that more sci-fi/fantasy series, but they really do need to be good lol.

  10. Dee Kay says:

    This show is sooooooo dumb but my H and I are watching it. We like to keep one slot in our TV rotation for something light, something we can kind of ignore while we eat or talk or shop online or whatever, and this fits the bill right now.