Life in the apocalypse is just what you would expect in Netflix’s “Daybreak”

Aoibhín Meghen

What’s life like in the apocalypse?

According to “Daybreak”, it’s like a mash-up between Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Mad Max.

Netflix’s latest teenage series, released on October 24th is a comedic post-apocalyptic story that combines a teen drama and a gory horror film.

The series is based on a series of graphic novels with the same name by Brian Ralph, who has had cartoons in the New York Times. Although, it appears that the TV show has little in common with its original novel beyond the basic plot line.

In this post-apocalyptic world, a biological weapon has wiped out all the adults. Any that were left behind have been turned into ghoulies.

Ghoulies are zombie-like creatures that eat human flesh and constantly repeat the last sentence they were thinking before the explosion. “I should cancel my Facebook account. It’s too divisive.” and “Is it La Croy or is it La Croix” mumble some of the Ghoulies as they stumble around in search of someone to eat.

This has left all the children and teenagers under the age of 18 alone without anybody to guide them. All the rules that used to define their lives have gone out the window.

Josh Wheeler (Colin Ford) leads us around this post-apocalyptic world. He lives in the town of Glendale in Los Angeles, depicted as arid, desert-like suburbia it gives the show a perfect Mad Max backdrop.

Josh is a self-proclaimed outsider, introducing himself to everyone he meets as “Just Josh”. Unfortunately, this means that his character meets almost every trait of a stereotypical misunderstood, white male hero.

He is all alone in the apocalypse, unlike all the other teenagers who have divided into social clans such as, Jocks, Cheermazons and STEM Punks. Josh’s mission is to find Sam Dean (Sophie Simnett), the girl he is completely infatuated with.

On his journey, Josh reluctantly joins forces with 10-year-old child genius Angelica and jock turned Samurai pacifist Wesley.

The story although not particularly clever or original is a fun watch.

References to cult classics such as Ferris Beuller’s Day Off (the show even includes Matthew Broderick as Glendale’s school principal) and Star Wars are scattered throughout.

Although at times it feels as though they are forced in to make the show appear clever.

This could also be said for the character of Sam Dean. She is the classic girl next door, the most liked person in Glendale. Sam even describes herself as “the human sorting hat” when she meets Josh on his first day in Glendale.

Her character is outspoken and opinionated. She is designed to challenge the damsel in distress label that Josh puts on her throughout the series in his mission to “save Sam”.

However her feminist musings, which are supposed to appear profound, about a patriarchal society where men treat women as objects for their admiration, completely miss the mark.

It seems as though somebody should have told the show’s creators (Brad Peyton and Aron Eli Coleite) that less is more.

Sam’s statements are blunt and cliche, Peyton and Coliete tell the audience about these unequal gender roles instead of showing them.

Perhaps Josh Wheeler and his quest to rescue a girl is not what this series should have focused on.

This is certainly clear when the episodes from Wesley and Angelica’s point of view prove to be more creative and a much more interesting watch.

The series does, however, do a few things very well. Despite its leading man, it is extremely inclusive, talking about issues relating to gender equality, race, sexuality, and disability.

It is not an incredibly intellectual piece but that’s not what it is supposed to be. It’s a story about teenagers, written for teenagers.

There is a lot of fun within the storyline, making it an easy watch. If you are looking for something lighthearted then this is certainly a series for you.

Aoibhín Meghen

Image Credit: Netflix