After the movie ‘The Silence’ (2019) or series like ‘The Society’ (2019-) Netflix bet again on the fantastic post-apocalyptic in which, like the aforementioned, there is a world without adults. ‘Daybreak’Unlike the latter, it has much less prejudice and relies heavily on pop culture for its teen comedy format that only relocates the classic conflicts of such programs in a scenario of science fiction and terror.
The proposal is simple: after a worldwide biochemical attack, apparently the entire adult population has been killed or turned into a horde of zombies-mutants. Only teenagers have survived this apocalypse, which gives Netflix another chance to explore a world without adults by radically changing the tone of ‘The Society’. To accompany us through these badlands we follow the main trio composed by Josh (Colin ford), Angelica (Alyvia Alyn Lind) and Wesley (Austin Crute) that intertwine ties to form a kind of dysfunctional family in a post-apocalyptic world.
The club of five
Based on the prestigious independent comic from Brian Ralph‘Daybreak’Is more like the New Zealand series‘The tribe’(The Tribe, 1999-2003) in which the proposal to mix‘ Lord of the Flies ’(Lord of the Flies, 1963) with the universe‘ Mad Max ’(1979) took the classic high school soap opera, with a lot of tribes and factions and plot (and visual) details nailed, such as settlement in a commercial center, recycled from George Romero. Here are gangs with exaggerated and hilarious stereotypes such as Steve Jobs geeks.
There are punks, Kardashian fans, athletes, and other itinerant groups based on the bikers of ‘Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior’ (The Road Warrior, 1982) to which the series is full of tributes. In addition there are innumerable conscious winks, shouted references to the viewer – or graphically pointed on the screen -, since frequently the characters break the fourth wall and they address the public as the protagonist of ‘All in a Day’ (Ferris Bueller's Day Off, 1986) on which he bases his faltering style and the entire character of Josh.
He does not try to hide this at any time, of course, and therefore includes in his distribution a Matthew Broderick acting as director of the institute, that is, Ferris's greatest enemy in his own film. There are many other references to the cinema of John hughes, mainly to 'The club of the five' (The Breakfast Club, 1985) in which it is impossible not to think when the three protagonists they are locked in the mall with a nerd and a semi-zombie which acts as a strange gothic.
The 'Deadpool' effect
That style, quite novel and little used today, is of take or leave. It is a way to make the dynamic series, to create a distance with its dramatic themes and make the public complicit that it is a series that laughs at the tropes itself that it uses and reuses, participating in those who, for example, already know the tricks of cliffhanger more rocky series like ‘The Walking Dead’ (2010-) serving as parody of all of them without neglecting its internal logic and his emotional themes, from which he does not shy away despite its thug surface.
Despite its surroundings of zombies and post-apocalyptic, none of the threats in the world are dangerous to create a tension of similar works. Dangers are assumed and monsters are resources to use when a good gag or some plot is convenient. A world arises in which extreme violence has been assimilated very quickly. There are action scenes and monsters with blood and very efficient on a visual level – with some practical effects, such as “the mouth” of the second episode, grotesque and well integrated.
But most memorable moments they come from the interaction of the characters. There are episodes based entirely on a character and more experimental ones that serve as a change of pace, and although the story of the general arc slows down a bit in the middle, there is always something fun in each episode. ‘Daybreak ’does not reinvent the wheel, nor do you need to. It is a series that enjoys creating a language in his own intention to break the scheme and is smart to know how to keep and reveal his surprises up his sleeve.
The secret is in the characters
Of course, your tonal mixtures are not simple, not perfect, and for many you can make a ball by his epatante intention. If what bothers you is the sly style of not taking anything seriously, it's not easy to like it. For many the problems with ‘Daybreak’Lies in his insistence on seeking to be surprised by his humor, his satire, and does not hide it. Whether or not they like each other, what they cannot be denied is do something different from what's now on television, although his comic book breaks are more visible than the idem.
In fact, one of his narrative resources is the flashbacks, which give an idea of who were all the characters before of the bomb exploding. We see relationships that have fractured since everything happened and we can understand a little better how they got to where they are once we know them. These scenes provide some great emotional moments, as well as some other fun and make it clear that if something works in the series are its characters, especially Angelica, with whom there is a great desire to spend another season.