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Imagine being in high school, where time passes slowly, and everything is either overly dramatic or stupendously boring. Suddenly, the apocalypse arrives, giving you the freedom to reinvent yourself and leave behind everything you hate. The new Netflix original, Daybreak, released the last week of October and quickly gathered a following. Based on the comic from Brian Ralph, Daybreak is the story of the kids and staff at a California high school who survive a nuclear explosion.
Unlike most zombie apocalypse flicks, the Netflix series is relentlessly positive and irreverent. The only thing that the creators take seriously is the first-class homage to 80s films. Matthew Broderick plays the school principal with a perfect mix of nerdiness and incompetence. Colin Ford plays the main character, Josh Wheeler, who breaks the fourth wall regularly in a nod to Broderick’s famous role as Ferris Bueller. Most of the 80s references are subtle but easily recognized if you’re familiar with Broderick’s former roles. “Things move pretty fast in here,” Josh says. “If you stop and look around, you might get eaten.”
The breakneck twists in point of view keep the series rollicking along, exploring how teens survive and adapt the disaster as they build alliances and form cliques after the event that killed or zombified all of the adults. It’s full of irony, political statements, and pop culture references that sometimes hammer you over the head and a few that land perfectly. The story is funny and appealing on many levels. Gen Xers will like it for the references; Gen Z will enjoy how easily the teens live in a world without consequences or adult interference.
The series racked up enough viewers to spawn a podcast and already has fans asking for a second season. Netflix hasn’t committed to season 2 yet, but show creators Aron Eli Coleite and Brad Peyton say that writers are already at work in anticipation of the order.
Megan Southard is a writer, mom, technology enthusiast, and movie junkie. She dreads the day her kids have to explain gadgets to her and is old enough to say, "I was the remote for our TV growing up."
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