Gregory Kasyan, Colin Ford and Alyvia Alyn Lind in "Daybreak". Picture: Ursula Coyote/Netflix
Gregory Kasyan, Colin Ford and Alyvia Alyn Lind in "Daybreak". Picture: Ursula Coyote/Netflix

'Daybreak' doesn't know who its audience is

By Jamal Grootboom Time of article published Oct 23, 2019

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“Daybreak” is a new Netflix original show set in a post-apocalyptic future in Glendale, California. 

In this world, on Homecoming night a nuclear bomb goes off causing most of the adults to turn into goo and the survivors into zombie-like creatures known as ghoulies. The teenagers, who are left to fend for themselves, form several tribes, which fight for control over the city. 

When it comes to young adult shows, “Daybreak” is a breath of fresh air in the post-apocalyptic genre as it doesn’t take itself too seriously and references several other movies. “Daybreak” is a YA amalgamation of "Ferris Bueller", "Mad Max" and the "Borderlands" video game series. 

We follow our main protagonist Josh Wheeler, played by Colin Ford, as he fights for survival as a lone ranger. He breaks the fourth wall throughout the show, giving context for other characters. It's used as a mechanism for flashbacks of the world before the event. 

Ford is a very likeable actor and he does anchor the show along with his co-stars, Austin Crute, Alyvia Alyn Lind and Gregory Kasyan. Unlike the truly moronic teens in "The Society" - another original Netflix YA show - these characters make mostly logical choices and quickly create a sense of order in the world.

When it comes to the tone the show strikes a reasonable balance between the comedy and dramatic elements. However, while watching the show I was very confused as to who “Daybreak” was made for. 

The references in the show have a heavy reliance on millennial nostalgia for many of the tropes used. But it’s set in a world filled with Generation Z teens.

Who, if I’m not mistaken, have started to do away with the idea of labels such as jocks and nerds which makes it a bit confusing watching these kids making these very early 2000s high school tropes for their respective tribes. 

I’ve also realised that I’m at the age where not everything is made for me - a late twenties millennial - see the Tick Tock app as an example. But even if a show is not for my age group I can usually pinpoint who a show is made for. After watching the first five episodes, I’m still not sure who exactly this show is for. 

"Daybreak" had the potential to bring something new to the over-saturated slew of zombie post-apocalyptic entertainment we have been fed these last couple of years. However, the lack of having a specific audience while making this show is where it misses the mark. 

I’ll most likely still finish the rest of the show, but there are other shows that I’m looking forward to binge-watching in the next couple of months. I’m looking at you “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” season 4.

"Daybreak" starts streaming on Netflix on Thursday, October 24. 

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