One Showrunner of ‘La Brea’ Saw the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic as an Advantage

Most producers and directors in Hollywood would never credit the filming shutdowns caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with helping a TV series they’re trying to get off the ground. That can’t be said for David Applebaum, one of the showrunners behind NBC’s wild new series La Brea.

A production still from NBC's 'La Brea' shows Zyra Gorecki as Izzy Harris.
Zyra Gorecki as Izzy Harris | Photo by: Sarah Enticknap/NBC

The wild storyline of ‘La Brea’ benefitted from the delays caused by the pandemic

When most of the world shut down in 2020, those working on projects in Hollywood feared the worst. When would their series finish filming? Would they finish at all? TV series like Netflix’s The Society received renewals but then canceled after the pandemic hit. Other shows like Stranger Things have had to push back their upcoming premiere dates, much to the disappointment of its fans.

However, Applebaum said the delays allowed him and his team to really think about the track they wanted La Brea to take going forward. He recently sat down with TV Insider to discuss the show’s future and what he hopes audiences get from it. 

“It’s incumbent upon the writers and creators to think ahead and to plan, because what you’re doing in episode 1 is hopefully setting up something that you’re going to see in a later episode. And one of the real benefits that this show had was a really long development process. I pitched the show to NBC over two years ago, and since that time we started shooting a pilot and we were shut down by the pandemic…. So, we’ve had a lot of time to really think about where we’re going, which is really exciting and helps ground everything from the beginning. Having a sense of, ‘Oh, this is where we’re going to be taking it.”

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It’s not just a series about a giant sinkhole

La Brea only premiered on NBC in September, but already people are talking about the bizarre concept of the series. A massive sinkhole opens up in Los Angeles and several people fall into what appears to be an ancient world. Those still up top worry about what happened to their family members and happening to the world in general. If giant, prehistoric birds can fly out of the hole, what else is down there?

But Applebaum wants audiences to know that a family that’s been physically torn apart by this sinkhole is really what’s at the heart of the story. Eve Harris, played by Natalie Zea, and her son Josh (Jack Martin) were two of the people who tumbled down into this new world. Eve’s estranged husband Gavin (Eoin Macken) and daughter Izzy (Zyra Gorecki) are back up top, grappling with the loss. Gavin, however, knows something isn’t right. He’s determined to locate Eve and Josh with the help of his psychic visions.

RELATED: Is NBC’s ‘La Brea’ a Revamped ‘Land of the Lost’ and Is it Worth Watching?

How to watch ‘La Brea’

The premiere episode of La Brea ended with a giant saber-tooth tiger staring down a group of people in the world inside the sinkhole. As far as everyone knows, those have been extinct for millions of years. It’s quite the cliffhanger with lots of mysteries still needing answers. Those hooked on La Brea can watch on NBC on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET. It’s also available to Hulu subscribers the next day.