Well, looks like we’re going back indoors again. Board your windows, raid your supermarkets and renew your streaming accounts. It’s lockdown season! There’s rough days ahead of us. It can be disheartening to go through this process all over again. Luckily, we believe Netflix gave us just the thing we need to weather through this time. If films like 2009’s “Up” and video games “God of War” and “The Last of Us” have taught us anything is that the father-child-roadtrip trope has plenty of milage. Say what you want about the predictability of the formula, you can’t deny though that it’s allowed for some terrific stories to be told. From Disney’s adorable “A Goofy Movie” to the horrific reality of “The Road”, it’s here to stay. Enter Netflix’s “Sweet Tooth”, a fantasy post-apocalyptic heartwarmer that sees a precocious wide-eyed boy tag along an older, grizzled man through Wasteland America!
Based on a comic book series under DC’s Vertigo imprint, “Sweet Tooth” is set in a world after a deadly virus has ravaged humanity. It’s wiped out large swathes of mankind while leaving in its wake a new breed of creatures. Mutant children known as Hybrids. After nearly a decade, these Hybrids have become hated and reviled among the human survivors. Spared from the horrors of civilisation’s end and Hybrid persecution is a gentle, Hybrid boy named Gus. A half-deer-half-human raised in the Nebraskan woods in isolation alongside his father. When tragedy strikes though, Gus comes across a wanderer, Tommy Jepperd. Together, the both of them will embark on a journey across the country. They’ll make plenty of friends, enemies and memories along the way.
As fans of writer Jeff Lemire’s work, we are happy to say that “Sweet Tooth” manages to stay largely faithful to the spirit of his work. The only major difference is how creator Jim Mickie and company approached the tone of the series. The tone of the series is significantly lighter and more jovial in comparison to the grimmer aspects of the book. There was always a dark foreboding dread when it came to Lemire’s work. That’s absent here though. Does the series, at times, veer into the cutesy territory at the expense of fleshing out the gravity of the apocalypse? Yes, oh definitely it does. The trade-off, however, is a warmer and more approachable take on Lemire’s twisted fantasy.
This subversion is rather similar to how Netflix adapted “The Umbrella Academy”. They played down the more fantastical elements of the source material for more character-driven subplots and explorations into trauma. “Sweet Tooth” plants the narrative squarely on Gus’ relationship with Tommy and we thought it was a brilliant decision! Foregoing lengthy expositions on the nature of Hybrids and slowly parcelling out info as we trek through with our adorable duo. It follows the golden rule of storytelling: show, don’t tell.
Each episode packs plenty of heartwarming moments and brushes with danger to keep you entertained throughout this 8-episode long journey. “Sweet Tooth” is well aware that it occupies a genre that is established and leans into its strength. Its characters. The writing between Gus and Tommy is altogether emotionally resonant, candid and truly hilarious at times. There are a couple of moments of contrivances that will have you rolling yours eyes at some of Gus’ antics but their few and far between. Most of the dialogue between the duo is strong throughout the series. Beyond the two, there are plenty of interesting characters like Bear, a human who protects Hybrids, and Dr Aditya Singh peppered throughout the plot.
None of this would be possible without our two leads Christian Convery as Gus and Nonsi Anozie as Tommy. They are the beating Hybrid-human heart of the entire show. Convery’s Gus is just such a naive and rambuncious kid. Living his entire life isolated with his father, he’s finally free to roam and explore. Yet at the same time, there’s a void and a pain inside of him. So much of who he is as a person is linked to his father. His skills, his perception and his morals. Then there’s Anozie’s Tommy a grizzled hunter looking to run away from his past. Much like Gus, he’s been raised to be a loner. In spite of that, something draws the two of them together.
Convery and Anozie have such great chemistry on screen. At first, there’s tension between them as either Gus or Tommy pull back from each other. Then you see these small and intimate acts of kindness that slowly disarm their suspicions. There are these moments of joy and pain that hit you right in the feels. Where “Sweet Tooth” lacks in innovation, it makes up with plenty of heart in its performances.
Right, now let’s talk creature design. Much like the mutations found in Hybrids, they vary in results. So far, there hasn’t really been a moment in “Sweet Tooth” that left us in awe of the Hybrid design. A lot of the Hybrid kids look like they’re wearing simple prosthetics. The ones with more extensive mutations that rely on CGI, like Bobby, simply don’t look right. There’s a plastique polish to them that break immersion from the reality of the series. As for action setpieces, there’s not a ton of skirmishes or large scale battles to look forward to. The ending of the first season does set up some high stakes that fans can look forward to in the second season. Which we’re confident will be announced any moment now.
Netflix’s “Sweet Tooth” is exactly what you want in good family-friendly fun! An open-sky adventure brimming with child-like wonder tempered by enough real-world edge to carry weight. Powered by amazing performances by actors Christian Convery and Nonsi Anozie, this series will have you laughing, crying and cheering for our lovable heroes all the way! By the end of it, you’ll be left begging for more. Even if you’re well acquainted with the source material, the performances alone should be enough to keep you engage throughout its run.
You can now catch the first season of “Sweet Tooth” on Netflix!
So what do you think of Netflix’s “Sweet Tooth”? What’s your favourite father-son film or series? Be sure to let us know in the comments!
Netflix's "Sweet Tooth" Season 1 Review
Netflix's "Sweet Tooth" is exactly what you want in good family-friendly fun! An open-sky adventure brimming with child-like wonder tempered by enough real-world edge to carry weight. Powered by amazing performances by actors Christian Convery and Nonsi Anozie, this series will have you laughing, crying and cheering for our lovable heroes all the way! By the end of it, you'll be left begging for more.
- Netflix's "Sweet Tooth" Season 1 Review