Everyone I know loves a good night’s sleep or a quick power nap. Good thing, too, because it’s a necessity.
Without sleep, the mind crumbles under the stress of constant activity with zero rest. After 24 hours of no sleep, emotional instability and physical stress set in. After 48 hours come the hallucinations. After day 5, the body shuts down completely.
What happens if sleep is the killer, and the only way to survive is to force yourself to stay awake by any means necessary? Rooster Teeth explores this terrifying concept in their dramatic series, Day 5.
When people begin mysteriously dying off in their sleep en masse, communication goes dark around the globe, and humanity comes to a grinding halt. Survivors do whatever it takes to stay awake, from caffeine and nicotine to IV-administered drug cocktails and over-the-counter pills. While most people struggle to survive, a few search for the cause of the incident or even for a cure.
In pursuit of these two goals (survival and seeking answers), our heroes meet. Jake survived while on an all-night drug-fueled bender and bonded with Sam, an intelligent teen with ADHD. Ally took the night shift at a hospital and searches for a cure. Ellis piloted an overnight commercial airliner and is tracking down the source of the outbreak. Together, they form a mutually beneficial relationship bordering on friendship forged from their harrowing circumstances.
I’m not saying much more about the plot, because the stories told in this are some of the most well-rounded and engaging stories created by Rooster Teeth and need to be seen to fully appreciate.
While many stories in this genre would focus solely on the survival journey and the action, the writers take an approach similar to The Walking Dead and delve deep into the characters while hitting the same action beats. Each character confronts loss, love, sacrifice, and the true edges of humanity in their own way.
The story does occasionally feel stagnant during the middle of the season, but these slower moments serve as excellent word-building moments that fit into the overall narrative.
For people familiar with Rooster Teeth, Day 5 is an enormous departure from their traditionally comedy-driven content. It’s grounded and terrifying, with occasional moments of levity that sometimes hit the mark.
The company has also reached a point where they don’t have to rely exclusively on in-house talent, which lends itself to the high caliber of Day 5. It’s a professional choice showing that they’re a production company that can create meaningful stories, not just ‘Rooster Teeth does the apocalypse’. For the hardcore fans, don’t worry. Fan favorites still make plenty of cameos or credited appearances, and episode 4 showcases one of Rooster Teeth’s founders in a heart-warming, gut-wrenching performance that could knock in-demand Hollywood actors off their feet.
Day 5 is a dark and gritty triumph for Rooster Teeth. There are only six episodes, so stop by their website, prepare yourself for a wholly unique version of the apocalypse, and don’t fall asleep.
If you’ve seen Day 5, let me know what your thoughts are.
I’m always looking for new stories, no matter the medium. If you know of any great books, movies, or video games that you absolutely love, let me know in the comments and, if I haven’t checked it out, I’ll add it to the list!