Josh vs. the Apocalypse: Part 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Schmuck Bait! – | Review Score – 3/5
The Slime Queenpin – | Review Score – 3.5/5
MMMMM-HMMMM – | Review Score – 3/5
Homecoming Redux – | Review Score – 3/5
5318008 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Canta Tu Vida – | Review Score – 3/5
Post Mates – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Josh vs. the Apocalypse: Part 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
FWASH-BOOOOOOOOOM – | Review Score – 3/5
Stuffed with overlong flashbacks, musical montages and repeated moral and societal messages, Daybreak is a show that shines bright early on but fizzles out long before its lacklustre finale. This post-apocalyptic romp is the perfect example of a show outstaying its welcome and while the series can easily stand alone as a singular narrative across these 10 episodes, the door is certainly left open for a second season. With a mix of cultural humour, plenty of film and TV references and a smattering of fourth-wall breaks, Daybreak is a show that oftentimes thinks it’s smarter than it actually is.
The story here revolves around Josh, a teenager having the time of his life in post-apocalyptic America. After a nuclear explosion decimates 99% of the adult population, the remaining surviving kids find themselves torn into factions and ruling over various different suburbs of California. Desperate to return to his lost love Sam, the 10 episodes see loner Josh begrudgingly join forces with street samurai Wesley, pyromaniac Angelica and a whole host of other misfits as they go up against two separate antagonists across the season. The early episodes sees King-of-the-jocks Turbo becoming the dominating villainy force while Baron Triumph lurks in the shadows.
When the true identity to this character is revealed, the dynamic of the show is changed somewhat to bring him to the forefront as the main antagonist. Without giving too much away, the identity of the Baron is something that’s teased for a while as a big mystery but to be honest, most people will figure out who this is very early on. It’s yet another example of the show trying to be clever but underestimating its audience at times.
Stylistically at least, Daybreak does well to keep things interesting, with a myriad of different visual cues and ideas dotted throughout the series. Some work really well, including the early expository text on-screen and high-school notebook segments but late on some of these feel needlessly pretentious. From a silent 20 minute opener in the finale to numerous overlong musical montages and flashbacks, Daybreak is quick to pad out its episodes with these segments to try and hammer its points across. As a case in point, one episode late on takes 35 minutes to explain one point in a character relationship with the rest feeling like filler.
As a fun 6 episode romp Daybreak would work far more effectively than this 10 episode season and if I’m honest, the show never quite reaches those early season peaks again, despite some nice twists and reveals late on. There’s a lot of societal commentary here too and at times it’s difficult to know whether this is genuinely used as a message to us or played out satirically. We’re told numerous times about a gender-neutral Homecoming Person, a whole group called the Cheermazon’s have a pledge to kill all males while the other archetypal groups all stick to their usual tropes. However there’s never any real development or movement on any of these ideas, as the same messages are repeated throughout the season.
While I like the idea of this playing out as a comedic, fourth-wall breaking zombie series, the ghoulies rarely feature in the season and their threat is diminished pretty substantially early on thanks to inconsistent world-building and rules. Whether it be the real threat of the ghoulies or who the main antagonist is, through to electricity coming and going depending on whether the script calls for it or not, Daybreak polishes up its script with fast-flowing, witty dialogue but fails to do the same for its world this all takes place in.
Overall, Daybreak is a fun but illogical zombie romp that shines bright early on but quickly fizzles out before the end. With some inconsistent world-building, a plethora of archetypal characters and mixed societal messages throughout, Daybreak is a show that never quite hits its stride or evolves in a way that builds on its early foundations. Whether this one is renewed for a second season remains to be seen but for now, Daybreak fails to really stand out among the numerous other zombie series out there.