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Daybreak on Netflix: Mad Max Meets Lord of the Flies

BY Shannon Entin

Published 3 years ago

Daybreak on Netflix: Mad Max Meets Lord of the Flies

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.

The cast of Daybreak at NYCC
The cast of Daybreak at NYCC

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.

One of the "tribes" that emerges in Daybreak
One of the “tribes” that emerges in Daybreak; Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/Netflix

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.

Alyvia Alyn Lind, Austin Crute, Colin Ford, Gregory Kasyan in Daybreak
Alyvia Alyn Lind, Austin Crute, Colin Ford, Gregory Kasyan in Daybreak; Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/Netflix

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.

Colin Ford stars as Josh in Daybreak
Colin Ford stars as Josh in Daybreak

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.

Alyvia Alyn Lind plays rebel without a cause, Angelica, in  Daybreak
Alyvia Alyn Lind plays rebel without a cause, Angelica, in Daybreak

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.

Austin Crute shines big as Wesley in Daybreak
Austin Crute shines big as Wesley in Daybreak

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 and Matthew Broderick in Daybreak; Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/Netflix
Sophie Simnett and Matthew Broderick in Daybreak; Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/Netflix

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.

Colin Ford and Sophie Simnett play the high school couple trying to reunite in Daybreak
Colin Ford and Sophie Simnett play the high school couple trying to reunite in Daybreak

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.

Gregory Kasyan plays Eli in Daybreak
Gregory Kasyan plays Eli in Daybreak

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.

Jeanté Godlock plays Mona Lisa in Daybreak
Jeanté Godlock plays Mona Lisa in Daybreak

Daybreak’s Executive Producers are Aron Eli Coleite, Brad Peyton and Jeff Fierson.

The producers of Daybreak
The producers of Daybreak

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.

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