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SYFY WIRE Daybreak

NYCC 2019: Netflix's Daybreak shows what high school's like after the nukes fall

By Jacob Oller

Daybreak, Netflix's upcoming and utterly post-apocalyptic Brian Ralph adaptation, got its first New York Comic Con panel today. The nukes dropped, much of Glendale made it out unscathed (kind of), and SYFY WIRE was there when all the details were spilled about how high school works when it becomes a Mad Max madhouse of warring clans. Survival is key, and that's a rule even when going to class is the biggest worry of a teen's day.

The show released a trailer earlier this year, but we got to see the full premiere episode at NYCC. After that, castmembers Matthew Broderick, Colin Ford, Sophie Simnett, Austin Crute, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Jeanté Godlock, Cody Kearsley, and Gregory Kasyan took the stage, alongside executive producers Aron Eli Coleite, Brad Peyton, and Jeff Fierson,

While this certainly isn't an official review of the first episode, here's a rundown of what went down during the introduction to the school cliques from Hell. When most people over 18 turn into stumbling, radiated, blood-munching non-zombie zombies, the school kids reign.

The show flashes back and forth between pre- and post-apocalyptic, all told through Colin Ford's fourth-wall-breaking direct address. After the bombs drop, Ford and the rest of his school friends all separate into gangs controlling turf. There's a swearing child with a flamethrower, a jock-turned-ronin, and plenty of mutant animals. Rats, pugs, and more. The jocks are in full spike-and-gears mode, going Fury Road after finding the main character.

The show, which is a reference-heavy comedy, goes a lot of places over its hour premiere — including planting the seeds for romance and developing found family. Soon the crew heads to the mall to find the hero's lost love...but they're stopped by a masked villain that may or may not be their former principal.

Then the talent-packed panel gathered to spill all the gory details about the out-there teen drama, which would put Riverdale to shame.

Apparently the first-person narrative changes from episode to episode, taking the Zombieland meets Ferris Bueller's Day Off show to a different place. The showrunners teased that from episodes two to three, the shift goes from the direct address aesthetic to a more Goodfellas-like voiceover structure.

Simnett explained that her love interest unfolds slowly through different perspectives. "As the season goes on, we see different sides of her — that she's a real person," the actress said of her character, who's pushed as a bit of a one-dimensional cliche in the pilot. But remixing elements is par for the course for what this show hopes to do, with plenty of '80s movie elements thown in, as Netflix hopes to find another Stranger Things to resonate with that audience.

Season 1 of Daybreak hits Netflix on Oct. 24.

Click here for SYFY WIRE’s full coverage of New York Comic Con 2019, including up-to-the-minute news, exclusive interviews, and videos.