22nd Nov2019

‘Daybreak’ Review (Netflix Original)

by Rhys Payne

Daybreak is a Netflix Original series set in a post-apocalyptic future where only the young people have survived and the older generation is dead or turned into zombie-like creatures.


This is not your typical zombie survival story like The Walking Dead or World War Z but it is a unique and humorous take on a genre which people have been watching for years. This is a dark and twisted series that contains extreme violence, drug use, strong language and sexual acts which means it is not appropriate for a younger audience. When I first saw that the episodes are on average are 45 minutes long I had my reservations but the fun nature of the show makes this time fly and on top of this the show has been designed and developed in such a way that it is perfect for casual viewing when you find the time without you feeling confused when you return to the series.

Although Daybreak is set in a post-apocalyptic world it is still based on real-world that the audience is familiar with. The show is led by a teenage boy and as I have already explained teenagers make up the majority of the survivors. Certain inclusion is based on major crazes of the 21st century, for example, one of the regions is based on the Kardashianʼs and there is a storyline involving drugs in slime (which is another trend in this modern world.) The series includes the concept of sexuality but makes itʼs a minor idea in the grander scheme of things this based on the liberation of sexuality and gender which we are currently going through. All this was done to make the show believable and to distinguish it from other shows. In general, the show gave me vibes similar to the likes of Neds Declassified Survival Guide crossed with The Walking Dead, which is a combination I never thought I needed but Iʼm glad I found it.

The first few episodes obviously establish characters but also introduces some important ideas that reappear at the end of the series and help the heroes to save the day. This was fabulous to see because it shows the developers had thought carefully about the series but also the viewing experience of the audience. I personally get very annoyed when new ideas appear from almost out of nowhere or at the end of the series a character suddenly can fly etc., instead this series builds logically and takes ideas from the beginning and adapts/brings them back at multiple points in the series. This was remarkable to watch and the producers should be highly praised! We also had fourth wall breaks , voice overs and graphics in the screen (which were done on brand) to add to the experience. As I will discuss later, each episode of Daybreak features a different perspective of the story from different characters. Again the producers clearly understood each character perfectly as their perspectives themes to fit who was the storyteller. For example the character of Turbo had subtitles as he doesnʼt speak and Wesley had an ninja voice over/comic book style introduction which suits his character excellently. These use of different techniques and methods showed the audience that the creative team had clearly thought a lot of the series as a whole and itʼs characters which makes for a much more enjoyable series and makes it easier for the audience to understand what the whole show is about.

Unlike most zombie survival series Daybreak keeps the focus off the actual zombies and instead gives an in-depth and concentrated perspective on many of the surviving characters. The creators had come up with many interesting and well-rounded characters each of which brought something different to the series as a whole. The first character we are introduced to is Josh and he provided the narration for this episode. He was played by Colin Ford who was incredible charismatic and fitted the character perfectly. At its heart the story is about chasing a lost love and Colin looked as if he would have been a normal student but could be a strong person if something did happen. Colin face an incredible realistic and believable performance as the loveable lone wolf that would do anything for the chance to save the love of his life.

Debatably the greatest character in this series is Wesley Fists who is introduced as a strange street samari who is on a journey of redemption to work off the bad things he did as a student while this would have been interesting enough that series decided to have Wesley to be gay but not in a disrespectful way. The way the audience learn that Wesley is gay is not through a big coming out story with a secret affair or whatever but instead it is just dropped into conversation. Having his strong character to be gay and not fit any of the stereotypes people have about gay people is fantastic for representation and empowerment of the LGBT viewers. Austin Crute, who played this character, is incredible and managed to blend the strong and powerful aspects of Wesleyʼs character which the softer side that had the sympathy from the audience. I believe that Wesley is an iconic character the likes of which I havenʼt seen in a long, long time.

The women in this series are also very important to the story and play a pivotal role in the narrative – such as lead character Angelia Green, played by Alyvia Alyn Lind, who is incredibly strong young girl who has lost her parents. Her main mission is to discover how to save her mother from the radioactive attack. This character is based on a person that everyone knows. We all know a young person who uses strong language and is mentally older than they are. But at the same time, the creators have included a more childish side of her character where her origin story starts with her just wanting to be popular and also her love of her parents which helps to make her character really relatable.

There is a character in Daybreak who is referred to as Ms Crumble who is played by Krysta Rodriguez. This must have been a very strange role to get a brief about while auditioning as ‘Ms Crumbleʼ is one of the only surviving adults but has turned into a sort of hybrid zombie/human. As the series progresses ‘Crumbleʼ becomes more and more human and sparks a close friendship with Angelica. Rodriguez played this character perfectly and managed to play the more chaotic zombie aspect of her character as well as the more human side of ‘Ms Crumbleʼ at the same time which is exactly what the character needed. These two help show an important message about sisterhood and friendship that has sympathy from the audience due to the love these two character share.

Samaria Dean (played by Sophie Simnett) is a character pursued by Josh, through is incredible important in the representation of women. This character is vital as she makes a point to discuss many negative concepts associated with women. Throughout the story Sam dispels the ideas of Damsel in distress trope , the Madonna complex and at no point no women in this series does a women says “oh no, what are we going to do now?” Which are all common ideas of women in TV and film. So for this show to make a clear point to abolish all these idea is obviously fantastic for the representation of women, and at the same time making his show stand out. The people who designed these characters clearly made a great effort to make realistic and true representations of women – which is incredible to watch. Also another detail that some people may not notice is that the women in this series fight against and alongside men which again is great and empowering for all female viewers.

Overall, Daybreak is a fantastic series that is jovial and comical but also deals with some very important themes in a easy to understand way. It harks back to shows from my childhood while also providing somethingʼs I have never seen. This is an excellent series and I would recommend that everyone catch this show on Netflix (if you are old enough) and I really hope Netflix plan a second series. I think the trailer for this show is very misleading but donʼt let it sway you opinion as this is an incredible show not to be missed!

***** 5/5


Comments are closed.