If John Hughes had ever written a teen-centric story set within the aftermath of the apocalypse, it would’ve regarded one thing like Daybreak. The post-nuclear warfare highschool comedy might not have the precise Hughes to assist craft its end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it state of affairs, nevertheless it does owe the late filmmaker an infinite debt of gratitude.
A cheeky teenage comedy set in a weird Southern California following a nuclear assault, Daybreak wears its style inspirations on its sleeve. That method is clear in all the things from its casting of Matthew Broderick because the high-strung highschool principal Burr to its mashup of assorted parts of standard tradition; specifically, the zombies and irradiated mutants and hyper-violent tribes of survivors who terrorize the not-so lone survivors of the apocalypse. In that regard, Daybreak may have exercised higher self-restraint in selecting which parts it needed to incorporate in its literal teenage wasteland. Instead, the nuked-out SoCal setting feels at instances like a glib pastiche of parts drawn from the work of George Romero, George Miller, and Richard Matheson — amongst others — solely to then be filtered by means of the fourth-wall-breaking, terribly self-involved lens of 1 Ferris Bueller.
In this case, the Ferris Bueller analogue is Josh Wheeler (Coin Ford), a completely common C-student and up to date switch to Glendale, who, regardless of being largely forgettable addition to his highschool, finds he excels within the day-to-day survival of the top of the world. Josh’s direct deal with to the viewers turns into the first gadget by means of which sequence creator Brad Peyton introduces this specific world, turning the protagonist into a mixture between a would-be main man and a tour information of the apocalypse. For his half, Josh is all too completely satisfied to take part. In the six months because the world ostensibly got here to a screeching halt — an finish that’s attributed to a sure world chief’s unhinged Twitter tirades — Josh has grow to be one thing of a lone wolf, transferring from shelter to shelter, avoiding harmful gangs, gigantic mutated pugs, and the bloodthirsty rage monsters (not zombies, precisely) nearly each grownup has changed into, whereas turning the viewers into his solely buddy. That is, till he kinds an unlikely tribe of his personal, as he searches for Samaira “Sam” Dean (Sophie Simnett), his crush who disappeared within the fallout of the nuclear blast.
Nothing in Daybreak makes a lot sense. The present has an nearly gleeful disregard for logic, which is comprehensible as motive would get in the best way of what it’s largely involved with: a well-recognized model of ‘00s-era withering snark and eye-rolling disdain towards anybody not in on the joke. The method eschews issues like a backstory for Josh (no less than straight away), and as a substitute has him spouting considerably hackneyed bromides about how highschool life is so much just like the apocalypse. (Though, to be honest, a joke about what number of youngsters in his highschool are named Jayden is fairly humorous.)
This method truly works within the present’s favor, as Daybreak seeks to match a closely pop-culture impressed imaginative and prescient of the top of the world to a closely pop-culture impressed imaginative and prescient of highschool. The comparability is apparent to the purpose of being generic, however, fortunately, it’s not with out sure charms. Those charms come largely in a compact, presumably psychotic package deal often called Angelica — as a result of even names are laced with irony on this world — a pint-sized terror performed by Alyvia Alyn Lind, who winds up becoming a member of Josh on his quest after falling sufferer to a gaggle of violent, obnoxious dorks previously often called the varsity’s golf crew.
Angelica is a chaotic counterpoint to Josh’s extra methodical, even-handed information to residing within the apocalypse. Meanwhile, Wesley Fists (Austin Crute), Josh’s letterman jacket-wearing bully has gone full samurai — maybe in one other ironic nod to the sequence’ consciousness of issues like cultural appropriation and whitewashing — adorning himself within the apparel of his pop-cultural obsession. Like Angelica, he joins a reluctant Josh on his quest to seek out Sam, and, effectively, carve out some form of sustainable existence within the new world order.
Daybreak’s intent is to have enjoyable with its style excesses, nearly to the purpose of being a spoof of the very movies and tv reveals it’s so closely impressed by and/or continuously making reference to. In that regard, it’s arguably extra entertaining and profitable than Netflix’s current The Society, which additionally pitted teenagers in opposition to each other in a topsy-turvy world. For one, Daybreak is deliberately making an attempt to be humorous. The success of that endeavor will seemingly range significantly amongst these watching, as snark, it may very well be argued, has supplanted punning because the lowest type of wit.
But, very similar to its protagonist, Daybreak doesn’t declare to be good — a type of preemptive protection in opposition to inevitable criticisms — as a substitute it revels in its appropriation of acquainted style concepts and cliches about highschool cliques and teenage tribalism. It’s not a completely unsuccessful mixture, as Daybreak excels in one other space, one acquainted to Netflix subscribers: that of being bingeable above all else.
Daybreak season 1 premieres Thursday, October 24, solely on Netflix.