**This review encompasses only the first five episodes of season one given to critics by Netflix**
The idea behind Daybreak is a sound one. It takes place in a post apocalyptic world where only the kids/teenagers survived, leaving the rest of the world turned into ghoulies—AKA zombies. Those remaining kids splintered off into Mad Max-esq tribes. You have the jocks, the golf club, the 4-H club, the Kardashian obsessed, and many more. In a broad sense, it is quite literally a high school coming-of-age story set in a Mad Max reality—mixed with some seriously offbeat humor.
There’s nothing wrong with the story presented to us, at least not on paper. The show follows Josh Wheeler (Played by Colin Ford) as he navigates this post apocalyptic world looking for the love of his life: Sam Dean (played by Sophie Simnett). It’s a classic tale weaved in a tapestry of offbeat lunacy. It has the makings of a really fun and entertaining story. Sounds good right? You’d think so. But somehow Daybreak manages to be anything but fun.
Nearly everything across the board falls flat. For most of the five episodes I received, I couldn’t help but constantly cringe, sigh, and simply avert my eyes. It’s not good. It’s like a Disney Channel Show tried really hard to be better and more relevant—yet still fell flat on its face. I know that may seem harsh, but I stand by it. There are little hints of things that may have worked pretty well if they had been done well. I mean the whole premise is one oozing with potential. Potential that is never even close to being fully realized.
One of the most prominent aspects that doesn’t work is one you’ll notice right away: the acting. It’s one of those things where you’ll hold out hope that it will get better, but it just never does. There’s not a single stand out performance, with nearly all of them bordering the line between mediocrity and just plain bad. With it being not great across the board, one can’t help but wonder if the writing and/or direction is more to blame—not that’d it give the performances a full pass anyhow.
Then there’s the comedy. A key supporting pillar of the entire premise of this idea is its comedy. With how out of the box everything is, if the humor and the way the show carries itself doesn’t work, then everything starts to crumble. That’s what is sadly on display here. The jokes just aren’t funny, and constantly hit with a resounding thud. On top of that, lots of the humor is simply outdated and/or out of touch. One of the differences between ghoulies and classic zombies is that once “dead,” they are constantly repeating the last thing they said before they die. This may have led to a faint chuckle the first time, but boy does it get stale. That’s just one of many examples of things that simply don’t work.
There’s a lot of post apocalyptic stories out there, and sadly Daybreak is not one I can recommend. Nothing about it clicks, and it’s simply not a fun or entertaining journey to go on. I really do wish it had all come out differently. I, like many of you I’m sure, were hooked on the idea thanks to the trailer. It’s a shame we don’t live in a world where the final product stacked up against its trailer.
You can catch Daybreak when it premieres exclusively on Netflix on October 24th, 2019.