Based on the DC comic book series by Jeff Lemire, SWEET TOOTH is now a hit TV show and all 8 episodes are available to watch on Netflix from 4th June 2021.
Ten years ago “The Great Crumble” wreaked havoc on the world and led to the mysterious emergence of hybrids — babies born part human, part animal. Unsure if hybrids are the cause or result of the virus, many humans fear and hunt them. After a decade of living safely in his secluded forest home, a sheltered hybrid deer-boy named Gus (Christian Convery) unexpectedly befriends a wandering loner named Jepperd (Nonso Anozie). Together they set out on an extraordinary adventure across what’s left of America in search of answers— about Gus’ origins, Jepperd’s past, and the true meaning of home. But their story is full of unexpected allies and enemies, and Gus quickly learns the lush, dangerous world outside the forest is more complex than he ever could have imagined.
PLOT AND STORY
Sweet Tooth is a comic I have never read so I will be purely reviewing this series on its merits as a TV series with no comparisons to the comic. The show has been co created and written by Jim Mickle and Beth Schwartz who bring varying levels of experience with them. Jim Mickle is a name I was not very familiar with but is producer and director on the show Hap And Leonard and the movie In The Shadow Of The Moon. Beth Schwartz is a name I know all too well from her time working on other DC Comics shows Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow.
The structure to this series reminded me of Lord of the Rings in the way our main characters Gus and Jepperd are walking from point A to Point B and every episode involves them encountering a new group of characters. We learn in this almost post apocalyptic world that some people are good but most of them are bad. I really enjoyed the flow to this series with every episode almost being self contained while season long plots stretch out throughout. We simultaneously see parallel stories of a few other characters trying to survive in this new world and although predictable they come together in an interesting and clever way.
The series has a 12 age rating meaning its not as graphic or hard hitting as other comic book adapted series but what it lacks in mature themes it more than makes up for with emotional and heartfelt moments. Gus is a completely adorable character who you fall in love with from the opening episode and I found myself on the edge of my seat at times watching some difficult moments he got himself into. What surprised me the most was the indirect humour layered throughout. This show by no means is a comedy but it’s written in a very clever way that puts characters in humorous situations or tension is broken but a subtle look on someone’s face. Dr Aditiya Sing (Adeel Ahktar) has a very difficult and emotional journey throughout this series but is very good with his expressional comedy.
PRODUCTION AND DIRECTION
The one thing that stood out for me in the production of this show is how real everything felt. The use of location filming, actual props and physical costumes contributes to the grounded nature of a show steeped in fantasy. Huge parts of the series are set out in lush green surroundings and it’s no wonder I got strong Lord of the Rings vibes because this was also filmed in New Zealand. The fact the production team worked with real climate change consultants to help craft the world of SWEET TOOTH realistically shows the commitment to bringing this series to life.
The creative team was heavily inspired by Jim Henson and wanted to make every element of the show look as practical and handmade as possible and all of the baby hybrids shown in Episode 101 are real puppets.
Unfortunately shows like this often get overlooked at awards ceremonies but I would make an early shout for Costume designer Amanda Neale, Hair and Make-up designers Dannelle Satherley and Stef Knight and Hybrid effects designer Justin Raleigh to get nominations because huge amounts of the charm to this show is created through the way the different characters look. The world as we know it ended so it makes perfect sense for people to be wearing self made clothes and especially the younger generation to create new crazy styles.
The beauty of this series as a parent is the ability to watch it with my children as this has a genuine co-viewing experience. A young lead character the younger audience will engage with while being stuck in an adult world with some complex political stories that the adult audience will become engrossed in.
The lead character Gus is played by Christian Convery who is absolutely adorable and captivating. He is supported by Nonso Anozie playing Tommy Jepperd, the protector and guardian with a dark past.
A great supporting cast which includes Adeel Akhtar (Dr. Aditya Singh), Stefania LaVie Owen (Bear), Dania Ramirez (Aimee Eden), Aliza Vellani (Rani Singh), Neil Sandilands (General Abbot), with James Brolin (Narrator) and Will Forte (Father).
Sweet Tooth is a brilliantly made, well polished show which delivers fun action and adventure. Some young talent giving enjoyable performances in a great story. The characters and the setting make this a very unique show which can be enjoyed by the whole family.
I watched this via an advance preview screener issued by Netflix UK and received no incentive to review this series. All images and artwork are courtesy of Netflix UK and their respective owners.