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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
A complex or scary situation can be managed with teamwork, clear communication and courage in the face of fear. It takes perseverance to achieve a goal that seems impossible.
Positive Role Models
The characters who survived the fall into the La Brea tar pits must face an unknown world underground by using teamwork, communication, and courage to make it back to their families. Those on the surface must use perseverance to keep up the fight to be reunited with their loved ones.
The cast is multicultural with actors of color playing characters that don't dive into stereotypes. For instance, Dr. Sam Velez is a hands-on medic from the armed forces who quickly falls into the leadership role among the survivors. Ty Coleman is a therapist, but is facing mental disturbances of his own, leading him to feel suicidal. Even though he is suffering from a mental issue, his pain does show that he is a fractured man with a huge capacity for empathy. Scott Israni (Rohan Mirchandaney) is an annoying slacker who claims to use marijuana for his anxiety. Dr. Sophia Nathan (Virginie Laverdure) is a scientist with Homeland Security and while couple Tony Greene (Pacharo Mzembe) and Billy Fisher (Stephen Lopez) are just introduced without much backstory as of yet, they look like they are also characters that act against type for men of color. Tony and Billy are also a non-white interracial couple, and interracial couples that don't include white characters aren't often shown on television. There are other secondary characters who are also people of color, but haven't been fully introduced yet.
The show also introduces one of the few disabled main characters on television. Izzy Harris (Zyra Gorecki) is a physically disabled character properly portrayed by a disabled actress. The character provides a meaningful portrayal of disability that isn't rooted in stereotype or played by an abled actor. Thankfully, Gorecki can bring her own lived experience to the character.
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Violence & Scariness
Major destruction, wild animal attacks (with one attack resulting in a death), gunshots, a scene when a character nearly dies by suicide.
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Exclamatory uses of God ("Oh my God," "Jesus"), swear words ("hell," "ass"), use of the word "crazy," which could be seen as ableist.
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Products & Purchases
A Ford car is briefly shown.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One scene featuring a character drinking from a flask. Descriptions of being "high," taking medicinal marijuana, and drinking. A car is shown with a duffel bag full of heroin.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that La Brea is an action/adventure science-fiction show about a massive sinkhole trapping citizens in an underground world. The series features few swear words, but has a few scenes describing drinking and taking drugs, with one scene explicitly showing a character drinking. Parents should note there is a scene in which a character nearly dies by suicide. The destruction shown in the first minutes of the show could also be scary to younger viewers, especially since the event happens in a real place.
Is It Any Good?
This series is great for turn-your-brain-off viewing; giving just enough thrills, mystery, and intrigue to keep audiences entertained. La Brea riffs on the idea of the King Kong mythos, which envisions a prehistoric world at the center of the earth. But instead of the world existing near the earth's core, La Brea's world exists right underneath Los Angeles. Thankfully, the show is entertaining, with enough intrigue to keep viewers interested. The cast is also multicultural and it appears that the show's writers are intent on providing viewers with characters who don't fall into common racial or cultural cliches. Also great is casting Zyra Gorecki, a disabled actress, to play Izzy, who lost her leg in an accident. It's all too rare that disabled actors get to play well-rounded characters, and hopefully Gorecki's casting will be part of Hollywood's reckoning with its ableist outlook.
With that said, some of the characters' decisions are perplexing, such as the weirdness behind Eve (get it?), Sam, and Ty (Chiké Okonkwo) deciding not to get into an ambulance and drive back to their encampment once they see a sabertooth tiger stalking them, but instead decide to run. The decision makes even less sense once you know the three tracked down the ambulance to get supplies to save Eve's son Josh, who was attacked by a wolf earlier. Instead of merely getting the supplies from the truck, they could have driven the entire truck back so Josh could properly lie down while taking his necessary medication to heal. Most characters also act a touch unrealistic considering they all experienced a traumatic experience -- if most people imagined themselves in the characters' situation, they would probably imagine themselves crying uncontrollably and freaking out, not immediately jumping into action. But since this is an adventure show, some unrealistic reactions are, unfortunately, par for the course.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.