Daybreak's Wesley and His Samurai Obsession Is TV's Smartest Take on Cultural Appropriation Yet

TVGuide.com | 12/9/2019 | Krutika Mallikarjuna
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"The apocalypse was the best thing that ever happened," is what Josh Wheeler (Colin Ford), an average and unremarkable 17-year-old LA transplant, says to kick off Daybreak. One of the best genre entries of the year, Netflix's post-apocalyptic dramedy about teenagers living through the end of the world starts with an invitation to have a goddamn good time. But as this unusual cluster of survivors battle through gang territory (demarcated by high school cliques), rampant ghoulies (this universe's version of zombies), and a horrifyingly eclectic mutating landscape (pugs the size of a house, anyone?), Daybreak offers up much more than remix of favorite fandom tropes. Beneath a boisterously fun viewing experience lie complex narratives exploring the gray areas of identity and cultural appreciation.

As is the case in every teen show worth its salt, "any really good coming-of-age story is about trying on different identities, about the search for who you are," said Aron Eli Coleite, showrunner of Daybreak, in an interview with TV Guide. And Daybreak's characters are in the thick of reconciling who they are with who they'd like to be. There might be a boss **** waiting to actualize underneath that lonely academic; perhaps a kind-hearted and empathetic leader waiting to blossom from within a high school bully who finally understands the consequences of his actions. And as with any period of discovery and growth, the teens of Daybreak begin their journeys mostly as tropes.

Coleite - Dungeons - Dragons - Fan - Pilot

Coleite, a massive Dungeons & Dragons fan, crafted the pilot with an instantly recognizable framework. "You need a mage, you need a healer, you need a tank, etc," said Coleite. "We [needed to] understand who was complementing each other and that they had different skill sets." The core trio — Josh, Wesley Fists (Austin Crute), and Angelica (Alyvia Alyn Lind) — are respectively "the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TVGuide.com
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