TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Daybreak TV Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Post-apocalyptic charmer is too bloody for tweens.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 25 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Communication and teamwork are demonstrated by characters who must work together despite their differences to realize a seemingly impossible goal. It's worth noting that both underdogs and those in power use violent methods to gain their ends, which muddles the messages somewhat. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Many characters at first seem to be stereotypes (beautiful but empty heroine, dumb jock, bratty tween) but are humanized by storylines that emphasize their individual hopes and fears. Josh is a competent teen -- he can fish, hunt, rig solar panels, fight -- and a loyal friend. "Your superpower is your honesty," Sam tells him. Sam's character is less well drawn, generally seems to be a foil for Josh. Wesley is an unusual character who seeks redemption for past misdeeds: "A ronin seeks forgiveness through action," he tells Josh about his willingness to help others. Show does contain some gender stereotypes: "Golfers don't rate as athletes -- they've got tiny balls," says one character. At another point, boys mock a man for using a female character in a computer game. 


Violence is frequent and bloody, but tone is light: the bloodiest injuries and demises are reserved for villains and faceless zombies, and characters often battle verbally and physically at the same time. Some gory visuals: A teen is attacked by a zombie who bites into his neck, gouts of blood; two characters battle and one gets half his hand hacked off; a character cuts off his finger, which flies into the camera; a missile hits a teen and debris, including body parts (not bloody), rains down. A zombie grabs a squirrel and bites it (we see bite but no blood); a nuclear mushroom cloud is seen several times and characters cower in the destructive winds. A 10-year-old girl wields a flamethrower. A child is trapped in a cage, screaming, by a villain that we hear "catches kids and purees them into hummus." 


A teen boy's love for a girl drives much of the plot; expect flirting, dating, romantic complications. A boy says that a girl has "great tits"; another boy says that "Love is more important than boobs," and another answers that "Nothing is more important than boobs." Jokes can be rude, like when a boy says a gang will have a "circle jerk" and the gang agrees: "Gender norms don't exist anymore," says one. 


Language is frequent, and colorful. Along with conventional curses ("f--k," "f--king," "s--t," "ass," "a--hole," "damn"), characters use profane words to describe/insult each other. Angelica, 10, has particularly blue dialogue, calling others such things as "sphincter stain" and "s--t dips." Language can have a sexual edge, like when characters are called "p---ies" (meaning cowards) or a character says that a gang has a "hard-on" for him (wants to kill him). A boy restrains himself from using the word "bitch" because he doesn't want to use "bad words to describe young women -- I'm part of the solution." 


Brands are mentioned: Urban Outfitters, Lululemon. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens imbibe drugs and alcohol, like in one scene when Wesley lights up a joint, talks about his love of "chronic bubonic," and seems willing to give Angelica a drag when she asks for one. In another scene, a teen drinks what looks to be a fancy cocktail with an umbrella in it. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Daybreak is a series about high schoolers struggling to survive among the murderous gangs and rampaging zombies left over after a nuclear explosion. Violence is nonstop and bloody, even if the tone is light. Expect lopped-off body parts that fly into the camera, sudden deaths, bloody zombie bites, and other over-the-top visuals, including a 10-year-old girl who dispatches zombies with a flamethrower. We also see the immediate aftermath of a nuclear bomb, scary mutated animals, and teenagers trying to kill each other in various colorful ways. Sexual content is less frequent, but a romance anchors the action, so expect lots of talk about "true love" and romantic complications. Language is mature -- along with the usual curse words ("f--k," "s--t," "a--hole"), language can have a sexual edge ("t-ts," "boobs," "hard-on," "pr--k," etc). Angelica, age 10, is particularly apt to use profane insults, calling others things like "s--t dips." A teen boy declines to call a girl a "bitch," saying he's "part of the solution." At other moments, gender stereotypes predominate, like when it's implied that the school golf team isn't really tough because "golfers have tiny balls." Teens also drink alcohol and smoke marijuana. Communication and teamwork are visible in characters' actions, but violence from heroes and villains alike muddles the messages. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byIdkwhattodo November 1, 2019

Great show

I think this was a very good show. Entertaining and funny.
Adult Written byEmilySmith1 November 30, 2019

Cool show

It’s really good
Teen, 14 years old Written byBrooke Chandler November 12, 2019

pretty good

OK, I have alottttt to say. First, it's hilarious. The jokes are kind of immature but that is also why they are kind of amazing. Like Starkid content, or a... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byjustarandomteenager November 23, 2019

Depends on the maturity level of the child/watcher.

I think that the show has a wonderful plot line and has wonderful diversity, both racially, and sexuality-wise. This show is definitely targeted at teenagers, b... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on the graphic novel series of the same name by Brian Ralph, DAYBREAK takes place in Glendale, California, a few months after a nuclear bomb has turned everyone over 18 into either "goo" or ravenous zombies known as "Ghoulies." But an army of teens remain, and what were once the cliques of Glendale High have solidified into murderous street gangs, intent on wiping out rival survivors. Josh Wheeler (Colin Ford) survives by keeping to himself, until one day when he runs afoul of Glendale's former golf team and gains two companions: his former bully Wesley (Austin Crute) and go-for-broke tween terror Angelica (Alyvia Alyn Lind). Can this team of three make it through Glendale's wasteland, avoid the gangs, and find Josh's missing main squeeze, Sam (Sophie Simnett)? 

Is it any good?

Like a post-apocalyptic Ferris Bueller's Day Off, this energetic series is overflowing with verve, charm, and quotable lines, but it's too bloody for preteens. Colin Ford makes a likable every-guy hero, greeting menace with quips and a broad smile, skating (literally) on the borders between the now-armed cliques of Glendale. Really, the zombies and gang conflicts are just a backdrop for the kinds of hijinks viewers will recognize from other high school-set movies: obstacle-beset romance, pranks, chase scenes, and big showdowns -- though these showdowns are likelier to end with hacked-off limbs and dead bodies. 

The tone is light enough that the mayhem isn't a big bummer, and Josh's heroes' journey is easy to follow and relate to, particularly with his two sworn companions Wesley and Angelica in tow. Intent on moral redemption after a regretful high school bully stage, Wesley is positively huggable, while tough-as-nails Angelica feels like a riff on Kick-Ass's Hit Girl but is fun to watch anyway: How many 10-year-olds get to wield a flamethrower and spit four-letter words? And how many action shows make room for a tween girl, anyway? If Daybreak is humanity's last stand, we could have a worse epitaph. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the level of violence in Daybreak. Is it more or less violent than you expected? More or less violent than other shows or movies set after an apocalyptic event? How can you tell the difference between the "good" and "bad" characters on this show? Is the violence in this show enjoyable? What impact does media violence have on kids?

  • Families can also talk about the character of Angelica. Was the idea of a skilled, confident 10-year-old girl hero cool, or disturbing? Or both? Why? Is she a role model, or a cautionary tale? What responsibility do the movie studio and the filmmakers have to the young actress involved in a mature show like this?

  • How do the characters in Daybreak demonstrate communication and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Our editors recommend

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