Thursday, October 24, 2019

REVIEW: 'Daybreak' - Josh Outlines the Social Hierarchy of the Apocalypse in 'Josh vs. the Apocalypse: Part 1'

Netflix's Daybreak - Episode 1.01 "Josh vs. the Apocalypse: Part 1"

Sure, Los Angeles is now a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but it's not all bad. In fact, for C-student survivor Josh Wheeler, it's a big improvement. 

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of Netflix's Daybreak.

"Josh vs. the Apocalypse: Part 1" was written by Aron Eli Coleite & Brad Peyton and directed by Brad Peyton

Josh Wheeler truly has one thing on the mind during the apocalypse. He needs to reunite with the girl he has a crush on, Sam Dean. He believes he has this epic mission and origin story. He has to go on a quest to rescue the girl. Nothing is going to stand in his way. However, the show is essentially a deconstruction of that very familiar storytelling trope. Josh insists that he belongs in a post-apocalyptic world better than the normal world. Previously, he was a C-student who didn't stand out in a notable way. He may still be a loner now. However, he has the skills to survive. He didn't die when the blast hit or all the adults turned into bloodthirsty creates called Ghoulies. In fact, he has the supplies that everyone else may be envious about. He knows how to make the best out of a dire situation. He doesn't want to be part of a clique. He doesn't fit squarely into the social order of the world. He wasn't easy to define in the prior world. And now, the apocalypse may allow him to have more fun while the stakes are so much higher. The douchebags are encouraged even more in this world because they wield the power. Josh may get his pick of a house to live in. However, that objective is no longer as crucial as it initially seems. Sure, the animals are mutated and even more dangerous now. But people believe that their right to survive and exist is suddenly more valid than those who don't conform to their standards for the world. Again, high school cliques are running this society. There is no explanation for how a nuclear blast led to the annihilation of adults as they are currently known. It means Matthew Broderick and Krysta Rodriguez may be relegated solely to the flashback structure of the narrative. However, it seems like the show has a strong command of tone and what it aspires to do. Again, it's a somewhat familiar story. But the narrative rightfully points out that Josh and Sam did have an honest connection that was headed towards romance before the apocalypse began. They got lost in the aftermath. He still believes she is alive and worth fighting for. He just hasn't reunited with her yet to see if there truly is something incredible between them. It was her mission to figure out where he belonged after transitioning to this California high school from Canada. He feels like the outsider who doesn't fit in. He's not a traditional outsider that has frequently been seen in projects like this either. He is simply average with an amusing take on the world. And yet, this is his story as he narrates it. He is the one who breaks the fourth wall to over-explain everything that is currently happening to the audience. He believes in the power of this narration. He believes his story has suddenly become the most interesting in the apocalypse. That may not be true. Everyone has undergone a radical amount of change. The jocks rule the world as a Mad Max-style gang. That is truly terrifying. Josh and his new allies - Angelica and Wesley - may have the upper hand with their supply of blood. That's an outrageous action sequence that is still terrifying because of the threat that comes from the Ghoulies. Answers may be on the horizon as to the mythology of this world. However, the focus remains fixated on Josh and his quest. He sees Angelica and Wesley as disruptions to his mission. Angelica is emboldened because she gets to play with fire legally now. Meanwhile, Wesley has become a pacifist who wishes to do better in this new world. They too may not fit in anywhere else. That ensures that the rigid structure of high school may not be the entire definition of how one lives their life. People are fundamentally capable of change. It just sometimes takes the end of the world to highlight the many ways in which they are special. Josh gets that message even though he is constantly running into trouble and barely making it out alive.