Daybreak Review- Another Post - Apocalyptic Setting But This Time...

Daybreak Review- Another Post - Apocalyptic Setting But This Time...

A teenage dramedy, Daybreak explores life after an unlikely apocalypse descends on California. Surprisingly complex, the series has a lot to recommend it.

...it's about teenagers. Yes, the apocalypse happens, and all the adults get turned into brainless zombies while all the kids are fending for themselves in a world gone mad. But don't get it twisted, this isn't some gritty, angry, exploration of teenage angst It's a hilarious take on the post-apocalypse that's more fun than scary. As far as Netflix comedies go, it's not a bad sort, once you get used to it. Although to be entirely fair, anyone looking at the preview for the series can immediately tell what demographic it's directed to.

The Setup

The series is set in California, specifically the suburb of Glendale, where nuclear bombs have landed and caused untold death and destruction, turning everyone (we assume) above the age of eighteen into mindless zombies. Those under the age of eighteen have formed tribes that correspond to the club groups at Glendale High School and spend the post-apocalypse trying not to die while eking out a living amongst the rubble. The show's approach to the widespread destruction is light-hearted, as we follow protagonist Josh Wheeler (Colin Ford) and his trusty companions Angelica Green (Alyvia Alyn Lind) and Wesley Fists (Austin Crute) as they set out to locate Josh's pre-apocalypse girlfriend Samira 'Sam' Dean (Sophie Simnett). However, it's not long after we're introduced to the characters that we realize that they all have different motivations.

Wesley, trying to atone for his sins at Glendale High for being an accessory to bullying, decides to take up arms as a wandering Samurai, a throwback to his childhood watching Chinese Kung Fu flicks. He believes that atoning requires him to serve others, and by helping Josh find Sam, he'll answer for his bad behavior. On the other end of the spectrum, Angelica isn't concerned with answering for her sins. She's terrible, and she's accepted that she's awful, even so much as to realize that she's a master manipulator. But what she wants most is a tribe to call her own. She's been thrown out of all the others because of her attempted manipulation of those in power. Compared to the others, Josh's goal is simplistic - he just wants to find Sam before something terrible happens to her, provided she isn't already dead.

The two "big baddies" of the post-apocalypse are a super football jock (and Wesley's former teammate/lover) Turbo Bro Jock (Cody Kearsley) who lost his ability to speak when the bombs went off. Gathering the sporty types under one banner, they reign as the most physically daunting obstacle to other tribes. On the other hand, the kids' former principal at Glendale High Michael Burr (Matthew Broderick) has become so disgusted with kids that he has used the post-apocalypse as an excuse to start killing and eating them.

Friends in Strange Places

Ms. Crumble, Wesley, Angelica, and Josh

Josh has his share of allies as well, some of them unlikely. Josh initially gets a tip that Sam ran to the mall to escape the explosion, and on getting there, he's realized that not only has the mall survived mostly intact, but it still has electricity. most importantly, it's run by just one person - Eli Cardashyan (Gregory Kasyan). Sharing the mall with him is an adult that isn't entirely brainless, the kids' former teacher Ms. Crumble (Krysta Rodriguez). Combined with the collected force of foreign exchange students he freed from under Principal Burr's control, Josh finds himself leading a merry band of misfits, even though the only thing he wanted to do was find Sam.

Betrayal and Backstabbing

As with most teenage dramedies, there's bound to be some backstabbing, lying, and drama to keep things interesting. Angelica lies to Josh about Sam being dead, and Wesley tries to kill him to get back into Turbo's good books. Both are banished, and Josh decides to go it alone, leaving the tribe he founded (who call themselves 'Daybreakers') to fend for themselves as well. While those betrayals are eventually righted, they set the tone for the finale, and the twists and turns in the series are well worth watching.

Who Does this Series Appeal To?

Daybreak - A Day In the Life of the Post-Apocalypse

For those of us who enjoy teenage drama, as well as a healthy helping of humor, this series ticks all the right boxes. However, it's a lot more than just a bubblegum-candy, throwaway series. It has deep themes of friendship, trust, betrayal, and finding oneself. And while the setting is fantastical, the messages apply to everyone. If you're a little nostalgic for series like Saved by the Bell, then maybe you should give this one a try. If, however, your version of the post-apocalypse is more along the lines of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, you might want to avoid this altogether. It'll be too sweet for your taste.

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