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12 Best Shows Like La Brea That Are Worth Watching

"La Brea" is one of those sci-fi TV shows that seems to be completely untethered from logic in all the best ways. A high-concept series with a large ensemble cast and a bizarre plot involving time travel (and a surprising amount of seventh-grade geography), "La Brea" won't let a little thing like an abysmal Rotten Tomatoes score get in the way of a good time. The story begins with a massive sinkhole opening on a road in Los Angeles around the La Brea tar pits. But instead of ending up in a mass of twisted metal and mud, everyone who falls into the sinkhole finds themselves stuck in about 10,000 B.C. with giant ground sloths and saber-tooth tigers as their new neighbors.

Before long, they begin to encounter communities of time travelers from other eras, other sinkholes, a modern tower, and even a cow. It's the kind of show where nothing makes sense, and somehow, that's exactly what makes it such a blast to watch. If the mystery of the time-traveling sinkholes leaves you wanting more, here are a bunch of other shows like "La Brea" you should add to your must-binge list.


A loose adaptation of Stephen King's 2005 novel "The Colorado Kid," "Haven" is full of mysteries layered on top of mysteries from the very beginning. Set in the small fictional Maine community of Haven, which has a lot in common with Twin Peaks and is appropriately replete with ambient lighthouse images, the story finds seemingly typical FBI agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) getting sucked into a supernatural mystery that she seems to be connected to personally. Plagued by a condition they refer to as "The Troubles," many of the townspeople suffer from supernatural afflictions that surface during difficult or emotional moments. Each sufferer has a unique manifestation of the condition — moods that influence the weather, stress eating that causes food to go bad, reanimation of dead animals, and drawings that come to life are just a few examples.

As Audrey remains in Haven, some of the townspeople claim she has been there before, returning every 27 years without aging to help them until The Troubles pass again. The five-season series has an enjoyable episodic storytelling style with a complex and well-developed mythology driving the overarching tale. According to Digital Spy, Stephen King gave plenty of input to the project, making it a must-see both for King multiverse devotees and fans of iceberg mysteries that keep the viewer guessing. The New York Times called it "a cozy, lived-in mystery with some quirky characters in a pleasant setting."

12 Monkeys

Anyone who loves a good brain-bending time travel story should add "12 Monkeys" to their watch list. Co-created by Travis Fickett and Terry Matalas, who have worked together on The CW's "Nikita" among other shows, the series is a four-season reimagining of the 1995 film of the same name starring Bruce Willis. Like its source material, the series revolves around a plot to send a prisoner named James Cole (Aaron Stanford) back in time from an apocalyptic future where humanity has been all but wiped out by a deadly pandemic. But, the harder he tries to stop the virus from getting released, the more he begins to realize that he seems to be trapped in a causality loop that he paradoxically started.

With a time-traveling cult, a powerful love story, and occasional Scooby-Doo meets "The Walking Dead" shenanigans, the series ticks all the "La Brea" boxes. Despite some of the sillier elements, the show earned widespread praise from critics — its satisfying third and fourth seasons each earned a perfect 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Under the Dome

Based on the 2009 Stephen King novel of the same name, "Under the Dome" finds the small town of Chester's Mill suddenly and unexpectedly cut off from the rest of the world when a mysterious invisible dome suddenly appears around it. What begins like any other ordinary day in this sleepy community suddenly descends into chaos when an earthquake precedes the arrival of the wall. The mysterious barrier slices through everything in its path, whether it's buildings or animals — if you don't want to see a cow get sliced in two, close your eyes when the dome arrives.

The wall, which appears to be completely indestructible (something made apparent when an airplane crashes into it), cuts off all radio and satellite transmissions they might otherwise use to communicate with the rest of the world. Much of the story revolves around the community's efforts to govern themselves while cut off from the world and unravel the mystery while scientists, reporters, and the military amass at the dome's edge. The show's recognizable cast includes Rachelle Lefevre ("Twilight"), Jeff Fahey ("Lost"), Dean Norris ("Breaking Bad"), and Mare Winningham ("St. Elmo's Fire"), among others.

Terra Nova

Although it only aired for one season, leaving fans with a frustrating cliffhanger, "Terra Nova" was a promising family-friendly adventure during its short run. Like "La Brea," the time-travel series revolves around a large group of people who find themselves stranded in the distant past — in this case, the Late Cretaceous era, about 85 million years ago. But rather than a mysterious accident, the travelers' journey is intentional as they seek refuge from a bleak future where pollution and overpopulation has made the planet virtually uninhabitable.

Chosen to travel to the past from 2149, the so-called pilgrims are selected for their ability to contribute to society. Far wackier than just a survival story among the dinos, the series includes sub-plots about genetic memory manipulation viruses, corporate mercenaries, and warring factions. The Steven Spielberg-produced series stars Jason O'Mara as a future cop imprisoned for having too many kids, an ensemble cast of recognizable TV stars, and a neighborhood full of dinosaurs.


When it comes to sci-fi stories with complicated mysteries that seem to keep piling on more questions than they answer, "Manifest" takes the cake. To say the series is about a plane full of passengers who land five years later than they're scheduled to without aging is to grossly oversimplify this utterly bananas tale. There's also the fact that the 191 passengers return experiencing voices and visions compelling them to take specific actions. And then there's the fact that the wreckage of the plane is recovered, leading the passengers to wonder what the heck they landed in.

Disappearing planes, earthquakes, angels, death dates, magic sapphire dust, cancer cures, dad bods, and Noah's ark — this show has a little of everything, and it certainly keeps viewers guessing with plenty of room for speculation. Are the passengers actually living in a computer simulation, as one fan speculated on Reddit? Whatever the truth is behind Montego Air Flight 828, if you're looking for a wild ride of a sci-fi series, "Manifest" is just the ticket.

The 100

At first, "The 100" seems like a pretty straightforward post-apocalyptic story. The series begins in space, where a bunch of survivors are stranded following a nuclear apocalypse on Earth. Almost a century later, their descendants — now living in a combined space station called the Ark — are running out of oxygen as the warranty on their life support systems has apparently run out. Out of desperation, they send 100 juvenile delinquents imprisoned for crimes ranging from minor to murder down to Earth as test subjects to see if the planet is survivable again. Predictably, the kids immediately run wild with their first taste of freedom, but it soon becomes clear that this show isn't just "Survivor" in a sci-fi setting.

Besides toxic yellow fog, luminescent butterflies, and river monsters, the Ark's "Sky People" soon encounter radiation-immune locals called Grounders, who live in warring tribal factions and have developed a completely new language in the 100-year time span. They also come across drug-fueled cannibals called Reapers and an equally sketchy community of Mount Weather shut-ins. Over the course of the series, the story gets progressively wilder with plots that include a sentient AI, simulated reality, a second nuclear apocalypse, subterranean gladiators, intergalactic travel, hallucinogenic air, and ancient aliens. The show's outstanding cast includes genre favorites like Henry Ian Cusick ("Lost"), Alycia Debnam-Carey ("Fear the Walking Dead"), Alessandro Juliani ("Battlestar Galactica"), and Ricky Whittle ("American Gods").


A near-future post-apocalyptic tale, "Revolution" finds a world living in the wake of a terrifying global event — the end of the Internet, air conditioning, and (shudder), streaming video. After a global blackout permanently shuts down all electronic devices including planes, trains, and automobiles, the ensuing mayhem led to governmental collapse and a general lack of order that the world hasn't recovered from 15 years later. Instead, many areas of the United States are run by competing militias and stratocracies like the Monroe Republic. Over the course of the series, the original cause of the blackout is eventually revealed to be powerful weaponized nanotech designed to drain power from every electronic device.

Part Western and part apocalyptic adventure, the series ran for two seasons. A third season was very much in the pipeline at the time of the show's cancellation, according to creator Eric Kripke, who also produced "Supernatural" and is perhaps now best known for Amazon's hit superhero satire show "The Boys." In a 2014 interview with Buddy TV, Kripke expressed his hopes to eventually give the show a satisfying ending as a tribute to its devoted fandom. As if that wasn't reason enough to watch, the talented Giancarlo Esposito ("Breaking Bad") and Elizabeth Mitchell ("Once Upon a Time") are among the cast.

Y: The Last Man

Based on a popular comic book series, "Y: The Last Man" is a fantastic post-apocalyptic sci-fi show that was canceled after only one season despite a strong reception from critics and an avid group of fans hoping for its renewal. According to Deadline, the show's demise was due in part to unfortunate timing and pandemic-related production delays. The good news is that if you love the show and you want to know what happens next, you can always continue the story by picking up the comic book series.

In the show, the world is left largely without men due to a mysterious event that wiped out every animal and human with XY chromosomes, including the many women who were born with XXY chromosomes. Only two XY carriers seem to have survived; an awkward professional illusionist and escape artist named Yorick Brown (Ben Schnetzer) and his best friend, a Capuchin monkey named Ampersand. For various reasons, several groups want to get hold of Yorick, whose DNA could mean humanity's only hope for survival beyond a generation. The series features a large ensemble cast, warring survivor factions, and plenty of post-apocalyptic danger to keep things interesting.

The 4400

First airing in 2004, "The 4400" was a sci-fi mystery that saw a group of 4,400 individuals suddenly appearing near the foothills of Mount Rainier, Washington, accompanied by a mysterious light. The group is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security National Threat Assessment Command (NTAC) after responding law enforcement agencies soon realize that every one of these individuals had been reported missing at some point from 1946 going forward, with each of them originally disappearing in an ethereal green beam of light. To further complicate things, none of the 4400 has aged and neither can they remember what happened to them in the interim, which makes for some difficult family reunions.

As the story progresses, it becomes evident that some of the returnees have developed special abilities like precognition, healing, resurrection, telepathy, and telekinesis, while one returnee even turns up mysteriously pregnant from her abduction. Although the series (which stars the likes of Mahershala Ali and Jacqueline McKenzie) was short-lived, it did manage to wrap up a few mysteries before it was axed, including the nature of the returnees' abductions. It was rebooted by The CW in 2021, but the new version was canceled after just one season due to low ratings.


One of the most ambitious sci-fi dramas ever told, "Lost" follows a large group of plane crash survivors who crash-land on a mysterious island where unexplainable phenomena seem to be the standard operating procedure. When Flight 815 from Sydney to LAX hits some freaky electromagnetic turbulence and gets torn apart mid-air, the survivors find themselves forced to work together on the beach they wash up on. That would be taxing enough under the circumstances, but they find far more than just palm trees and sand on this island.

There's a deadly smoke monster, wild polar bears, malevolent inhabitants who kidnap and kill their people, giant birds, resurrected corpses, hidden hatches where scientific experiments are carried out, and a computer that requires a set of numbers to be input every 108 minutes or else something really bad will happen. And then there's the book club. Told through flashbacks that give insight into the main characters' lives and frequently ending episodes on a cliffhanger, "Lost" is one of the most addictive and complex sci-fi series ever produced. The ending was highly divisive (and pretty confusing), but it's still worth going along for the ride.

Persons Unknown

The 1960s was a great time for fans of science fiction, with a number of seminal shows hitting the airwaves. This was the decade that the original "Star Trek" series hit the airwaves, and we were first introduced to the British institution that is "Doctor Who." Another brilliant British show from this decade is the so-called spy-fi thriller "The Prisoner," which centered around an unnamed man waking up in a mysterious village where the residents are free to live their lives under the watchful eye of a ubiquitous high-tech security system. There's CCTV and a drone called Rover, capable of capturing or even killing anyone who attempts to escape. Bearing delightfully uncanny similarities to this outstanding series, 2010's "Persons Unknown" finds seven strangers waking up in a hotel in a small '50s ghost town with no recollection of how or why they are there.

Like "The Prisoner," the strangers soon realize that their hotel — along with the entire town — is wired for sound, with a mysterious group or entity watching and listening to everything they say and do. It's a fascinating premise and the show boasts a hugely talented cast — this eerie series includes the late Marvel star Chadwick Boseman as a Marine named Graham McNair, while Kandyse McClure ("Battlestar Galactica") and Alan Ruck ("Ferris Bueller's Day Off") also feature. The show "takes a fresh approach on the long red herring road, making us really want to know the fortunes in those cookies," The Telegraph said in its review.

The Crossing

A wonderfully intriguing sci-fi tale with a disappointingly short run, "The Crossing" dealt with a group of refugees claiming to have traveled backward in time from 180 years in the future. The story is set in the Pacific Northwest, where a large group of refugees suddenly begins washing ashore. Apparently, things didn't go according to plan, as many of them drowned in the crossing from their time to the present day, and the 47 remaining survivors have quite the story to tell.

Just shy of two centuries in the future, humanity is getting wiped out by a group of superhumans called Apex, who seem to have evolved from the human race. And as it turns out, this isn't the first group of refugees to have come through the passage. Although it's not the most innovative sci-fi series on the block, "The Crossing" has its share of intriguing mysteries to ponder and will likely go down well with fans of "La Brea."