‘Daybreak’ review

Chuck Sipps, Arts and Life Editor

“Daybreak,” a meta look at a post-apocalyptic world, is a Netflix original that is more hit than miss. While at times its teenage cast speaks with the voice of a 40-something TV writer rather than an actual teenager, it borrows heavily from pop culture and there are plenty of laughs, surprises and emotions to go around. 

After a partially explored biochemical attack is launched across the world, seemingly all of the adult population has either been killed or turned into a horde of zombie-like ghoulies. Only teens have survived this apocalypse, which gives Netflix another show to explore the question: But what if like, all the adults were gone? We follow the main trio of Josh (Colin Ford), Angelica (Alyvia Alyn Lind) and Wesley (Austin Crute) as they discover what it means to be a family in a post-apocalyptic world.

Josh has lost his love, Sam (Sophie Simnett), and he is on a hero’s journey to get her back. Angelica, a ten-year-old mad genius, is searching for acceptance in a world that has otherwise rejected her. Wesley is seeking redemption as a wandering ronin, looking to atone for an undisclosed misdeed from his past. Each of the trio has been liberated by the end of the world, the apocalypse wiping their proverbial slates clean. While they feel a sense of freedom in their new normal, there is also a longing for the world that was before, particularly in terms of familial and romantic bonds. 

Unfortunately for them, it would appear that “Mad Max” is just as popular in 2019 as it was in its heyday, as roving gangs of jocks are basically ripping off the biker gangs of “The Road Warrior.” The show is full of homages, some subtle, others not so much, and frequently addresses the audience as a living being. It is an all-in style that you will either love or hate.

Despite its zombie-ridden and post-apocalyptic setting, the show is more of a farce than a thriller. That is not to say there aren’t dramatic beats. The show has plenty of heart, but none of the “threats” of the world ever feel that threatening. There were also some frustrating character choices that didn’t quite add up. Not to get specific, but there were multiple instances when a character’s past misdeeds were seemingly forgotten or forgiven despite them being truly horrific in nature. The show also posits a world that descends into extreme violence very quickly. We are only six months into the apocalypse and it feels like no one gave peace a chance.  

The show is filled with violence and vulgarity, almost like an angsty teenager when mom and dad aren’t around. There are some enjoyable fight scenes, but most of the memorable moments come from character interaction as opposed to over the top violence. However, there are a few experimental episodes that serve as a nice change of pace, and while the story drags a smidge in the middle, there is something fun in each episode.

“Daybreak” doesn’t reinvent the wheel, nor does it need to. It is a bombastic series that has a few surprises up its sleeve and sets the stage for an intriguing second season. It is a good blend of soapy teen drama with an apocalyptic flair, even if it isn’t the most original.   

“Daybreak” is awarded 5318008 potatoes on the Sipps’ Potato Scale.