Another week, another chewy new Netflix show, and this time we dive into Dawn, a ten-episode post-apocalyptic comedy-drama series based on Brian Ralph’s graphic novel of the same name.
The action takes place in Los Angeles – Glendale to be precise – following a catastrophic attack. Biological weapons have wiped out most people over the age of 18, and adults who have managed to avoid death have suffered a much worse fate: they have been transformed into zombie-like creatures nicknamed “ghouls.”
They repeat the last thought they struggled with before the explosion – “I should cancel my Facebook account. It’s too confrontational” – and feast on human flesh and mutant animals roaming the once thriving metropolis.
Alexa, play “Teenage Wasteland”.
But the vast majority of children and teens mysteriously survived the blast, and without adult supervision and the restrictions placed on them by school, it’s a free-for-all. The cliques become gun-wielding tribes and the city is split into gang territories: Disciples of Kardashia, The Jocks, The STEM Punks and countless others.
It’s a typical American high school on steroids. (Or more steroids, we’re guessing, in the case of the Jocks.)
But three people find themselves without a clan: protagonist Josh Wheeler (Colin Ford), Canada’s newest kid who thrives on wilderness survival skills learned by her father, Angelica Green (Alyvia Alyn Lind), a 10-year-old girl. . Mensa level genius and arsonist passionate about Molotov cocktails, and Wesley Fists (Austin Crute), a former tyrant turned pacifist samurai.
Fate brings the trio together, their differences proving both difficult and effective in their fight for survival.
As the main man, it’s Josh’s quest, and a significant part of the story is told from his perspective. But Angelica and Wesley each have an episode to tell their stories, imbued with their personalities and their spirit, which stops. Dawn to become the “Josh show” – a smart move given that his driving motivation is … a girl. Sam Dean (Sophie Simnett). Blond. Petite. The typical Hollywood “girl next door” – hardly original.
She is missing and he is desperate to find her and put their happiness back on track.
We need Angelica, Wesley, and the myriad of other characters to tell the story of what Josh’s journey to true love doesn’t do: something different.
The series redeems itself, however, in its final scene by reversing that romantic clichÃ© with a moment that many won’t see coming.
But that payoff requires sifting through overly long episodes stuffed with narrative fluff and character stories that, while important and welcome, get too much attention. Sometimes less is more.
The writing, too, struggles in places. Dawn desperately wants you to laugh, and on occasion it does. But it can also have the opposite effect, by trying too hard to gain your approval. He also wants you to pick up every pop culture reference from Ferris bueller To Star wars, which sometimes makes him frantic and too ambitious.
During the series’ deepest moments – Sam discusses the demonization of female sexuality in a world where men are praised for having a vast sexual appetite – the script does not do these grand statements justice, lacking nuance and lack of nuance. ‘address.
Dawn will undoubtedly attract a young crowd, but specifying everything in black and white underestimates their intelligence.
Nonetheless, he is to be commended for his willingness to address a range of important topics – gender inequality, race, sexuality and identity. He simultaneously manages to poke fun at himself – he’s nothing if not fully aware that this is a TV show, breaking the fourth wall and referencing Rotten Tomatoes – while doing some heavy lifting in progress. of road.
The backlash against the “revival” continues to rage as some neighborhoods reject marginalized voices and their stories, making the pressure to continue these conversations more important than ever.
The main threat in Dawn is not, as you would expect, the ‘ghouls’, which might disappoint some viewers if you were hoping for something similar to Black summer Where Dead set. They barely show up and when they do, it’s like a quick, convenient way to move the series forward – or a moment of slight relief.
Watching an adult male crawl into a squirrel while talking about âcheat daysâ will have that effect.
In this story, their greatest danger is more familiar.
Not only do teens need to watch out for their hyper-violent peers, there are two main dangers choking the city:
Turbo Bro Jock (Cody Kearsley) rules with an iron fist and forces his prisoners to play American Ninja Idol – think American Idol but no one wins, the competitors being instead thrown into a cage where they are devoured by ghouls.
Then there’s the villainous Baron Triumph, who patrols the streets on his motorbike in search of children to capture and eat.
But while the threat posed by the former quickly wears off – there are only a few times brutal violence can make a statement – the latter, in particular, grows in importance as the The story unfolds, proving a deadly and calculated foe that makes viewing entertaining.
Some viewers may think Baron Triumph is aggrieved towards the end of the series following an alarming revelation that could go somewhere, but doesn’t.
The geopolitical situation surrounding the attack is also only briefly discussed, as is the extent of its effects. Either creators Brad Peyton and Aron Eli Coleite have refused to fully engage in these aspects because they just aren’t interested, or maybe they want to address these big questions in season two.
We don’t know yet if Dawn will return, but the stage is set if he wishes, and there is certainly more life to this tale.
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