Do you have a plan for the apocalypse? Neither did Josh Wheeler, but that didn’t stop him from having the time of his life! Based off of a 2011 graphic novel by Bryan Ralph, Daybreak tells the story of Josh (Colin Ford: Under the Dome TV series) as he navigates the end of the world after the U.S. was attacked by an unknown country. While Josh may have an upbeat attitude, there are other dangers that he’s constantly looking out for.
For example, Ghoulies are a constant threat. Ghoulies were once adults, but are now vicious creatures stuck saying their last words over and over as they savagely attack anything not infected. Even the animals change, becoming real threats.
While the Ghoulies are nasty, they’re not the main threat. Most of the kids formed gangs consisting of their former cliques. The most dominant gang happens to be the jocks, who’ve styled themselves into a Road Warrior-esque group. Think Mad Max but with acne.
While this is going on, Josh has one goal: find his girlfriend, Sam Dean (Sophia Simnet: The Lodge TV series). He and Sam were separated after the first attacks. This love story encompasses the majority of the episodes.
While Josh is on this journey, he befriends former enemies Angelica (Alyvia Alyn Lind: Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors 2015) and Wesley Fist (Austin Crute: Booksmart 2019). Angelica is a MENSA level genius and anarchist looking for somewhere to belong, and Wesley is self-styled samurai on the path to redemption. The trio’s skills allow them to overcome their enemies and the mysterious Baron Triumph.
Almost every character is layered, and what you see isn’t always what you get. For example, Josh is a slacker, but he’s also a skilled tracker whose talents come in handy more than once. Wesley was once a stereotypical bully, but is revealed that he is a sensitive and caring person. He’s also a bit of a film buff, having a passion for old school kung fu movies that drive his philosophies. Other characters are given equal treatment as well, including Sam, Eli Cardashyan (Gregory Kasyan: Hawaii Five-0 TV series), and Turbo Bro Jock (Cody Kearsley: Riverdale TV series). Even the most hated characters will make you feel something after you finish the series.
Daybreak was adapted for Netflix by Brad Peyton and Aron Eli Coleite. Both the graphic novel and series draw inspiration from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), even borrowing Ferris’s ability to communicate through the fourth wall. What’s also funny is that Ferris himself, Matthew Broderick, is in the cast as Principal Burr, a man seemingly dedicated to the kids. Give this show a shot just for him, but remember what I said about layers. That’s important!
While Daybreak begins as a comedy, it slowly transforms into a true drama. One minute, you’re laughing at Josh’s ineptitude on an obstacle course. The next, you’re crying because Wesley and Angelica are trying to protect Josh from his own determination. Deep down, they all need each other, which is the driving focus of the series. While they may all come from different walks of life, their bond proves increasingly strong.
The only criticism I have is a lack of strong fight scenes. Other than that, I had a blast watching Daybreak!
Overall, Netflix has a winner with Daybreak. The cast is amazing, and the story is riveting. I’m sure fans will be pissed if the show doesn’t get a second season. So Netflix, if you’re reading this, pay attention!