Daybreak on Netflix: Mad Max Meets Lord of the Flies
BY Shannon Entin
Published 3 years ago
Daybreak is a new Netflix original series that follows 17-year-old Josh (Colin Ford) as he searches for his missing girlfriend, Sam, in a post-apocalyptic Glendale, California. We had the opportunity to watch the first episode and learn more about this show in a panel with the cast and producers at New York Comic Con.
In Daybreak’s version of the apocalypse, most people over the age of 18 died or were turned into zombies – except this show calls them “ghoulies.” We learned that the distinction is that these adults are not “undead,” they are just really irradiated.
As Josh navigates this new world, he has to steer clear of not just the ghoulies, but the warring tribes of teenagers that have taken over his town. You’ve got the Thunderdome-like jocks, the cheerleaders turned Amazon warriors, and the very dangerous golf club, among others.
Josh initially tries to survive alone. But he eventually realizes some friends would be helpful and he joins forces with former bully Wesley (Austin Crute) and pyromaniac, 12-year-old Angelica – played by Alyvia Alyn Lind, who looks to be the breakout star in this series.
Daybreak has elements of Mad Max, Lord of the Flies, and a bunch of Ferris Bueller references (Matthew Broderick himself co-stars!). Netflix describes it as a genre-bending series that is part samurai saga, part endearing coming-of-age story, and part Battle Royale.
Daybreak is based on the comic series by Brian Ralph and it’s rated TV-MA.
The Cast of Daybreak
Colin Ford as Josh Wheeler
Although everyone gets their shot at “carrying the episode,” it’s clear that Josh is carrying the show. You may recognize him from the role of Joe in the Stephen King-inspired series, Under the Dome, but he’s potentially the new Ferris Bueller.
Alyvia Alyn Lind as Angelica Green
Alyvia (pronounced like Olivia) comes from the Alyn Lind acting sisters – her sister, Natalie, was notably seen as Lauren Strucker in the now defunct series, The Gifted. She’s a firecracker on screen and off.
Austin Crute as Wesley Fists
Austin, originally from the Atlanta area, has star magnetism. He’s always wanted to have a shot at being an action star but his football jock-turned-pacifist samurai role could be a breakout role for this next generation Chris Tucker.
Matthew Broderick as Principal Burr
It’s no accident that Matthew Broderick is playing a character similar to the much maligned principal in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And the show plays off of that.
Sophie Simnett as Sam Dean
This British actress captivates the screen and the heart of Joe but we’re warned that the way he sees her may not be entirely accurate.
Gregory Kasyan as Eli Cardashyan
Yes, he’s a Cardashyan in the show but NOT a Kardashian. Although we didn’t see his face in the first episode, we think he’ll be a renegade powerhouse in the series.
Jeanté Godlock as Mona Lisa
Do you ever watch a show and wish it had more fierce women of color? Well, you’ve got it with Jeanté playing the badass that Tina Turner wishes she was in Beyond Thunderdome.
Daybreak’s Executive Producers are Aron Eli Coleite, Brad Peyton and Jeff Fierson.
Is Daybreak Worth Watching?
Based solely on the synopsis, this is the kind of show Shannon would love and Fadra would hate. But after we watched a sneak peek of the first episode at New York Comic Con, we had a surprising reversal of opinion! Here’s what we thought of Daybreak.
Shannon: I thought it felt a little goofy. Daybreak is trying to be too many things, maybe taking the “genre-bending” too far. While I don’t usually mind “breaking the fourth wall” (when the actors narrate/talk directly to the viewer), I think this first episode was too heavy on that tactic. I liked the actors though, and I will watch another couple episodes before I make a final judgement. If you’re looking for something different, and you like teen dramedy, then you should check out Daybreak.
Fadra: When I asked the cast who this TV-MA teen dramedy is for, they replied that there’s something for everyone. It’s definitely on the more mature side – language and blood aplenty. I think it will definitely pull in the teen crowd but their goal is to bring the parents in as well. Plenty of easter eggs for those who love nostalgia (the opening sequence has a classic Ferris Bueller moment) and Matthew Broderick is a huge draw. I know I’ll watch it but it remains to be seen if it’s something for the older crowd.
Watch the Daybreak Trailer
It’s NSFW but then neither are we.
Daybreak Season 1 premieres on Netflix October 24, 2019 with ten, one-hour episodes. Learn more at Netflix.com/Daybreak.