Series Review: Sweet Tooth Is A Fun And Sweet Take On The Apocalypse; Surprising, I Know
Sweet Tooth is one of the better Netflix original series adaptations that have nothing to do with superheroes. While still a comic book adaptation, Sweet Tooth works on so many different levels, that it’s honestly a great watch. Even as I write this Sweet Tooth series review, I’m amazed at the many different ways that the show pulls off everything it did. Although, I’ll be totally honest, a show about a world ravaged by a pandemic was a little too close to home. But it still managed to be an entertaining take on the genre, and the cute little kid at the center of it all was only partially responsible for that. Here’s my mostly spoiler-free Sweet Tooth series review.
Sweet Tooth Plays on The Mystery Box Element Despite Being a Streaming Show
The journey of a lifetime. | Image via Netflix.
The idea of Sweet Tooth is an interesting one, making the show very binge-able. In a world devastated by a pandemic, a small ray of hope gleamed through. As people got sick left and right, a miracle began to happen. The Sweet Tooth premiere episode showed us how the birth of hybrid kids coincided with the death of others in a pandemic. The people, frantic and helpless, didn’t know who to blame, so many held the cute animal-human hybrids accountable.
The rest of the series expands on how hybrids are all but hunted to extinction with Gus (Christian Convery) being one of the few left. And his isolation from the rest of the world, due to his Pubba (Will Forte) made him even more unique. He is revealed to be a lot more special than we could ever imagine, later on in the series. What’s the connection between the hybrids and the pandemic? Why is Gus older than the other hybrids? How is his origin tied to this world? The answers to these, and many other questions is really what makes this Sweet Tooth series review so enjoyable to write, and the show so much fun to watch.
A Review of the Sweet Tooth Series Should Not Overlook How Fun It Is
Oh, look! It’s Momma Bear. | Image via Netflix.
Sweet Tooth is honestly a great little show. Its story does not make you obsessed with it. But it’s engaging enough to keep audiences interested from beginning to end. And most of all, it’s an uplifting, hopeful, and sweet show that you just enjoy watching. One of the biggest problems with post-apocalyptic content is that the joy goes missing after a while. Fear and dread replace the original curiosity and interest. The biggest example of that is The Walking Dead series, which went on to the point where it lost huge chunks of its audiences because it was simply dreadful. And I don’t mean its quality, but its depiction of the world. It got harder and harder to tune in, week after week, to see our favorite characters, die, get tortured or some other terrible things happen to them. It got too much. There was no upside.
It’s the reason that led to the rise of the post-apocalyptic movie set in different genres. Like Zombieland or the recent Army Of The Dead. Focusing on other elements of a ravaged world, instead of the depressing ness of it all. But as I’ll discuss more in this Sweet Tooth series review, it’s that focus on fun and optimism, built into the story, that makes the show stand out. Its world, seen from the fresh and innocent eyes of a 10-year-old boy, brimming with hope, infecting others in his orbit, is why Sweet Tooth is so damn lovable.
Fun for the Whole Family?
The saviours | Image via Netflix.
Sweet Tooth also does the found-family aspect really well. So well in fact, that the entire idea snuck up on me. Despite having a kid as a lead, it’s not at all a kiddy show. There aren’t any long speeches about family and relationships and looking on the bright side. It just is all those things, without ever talking about it. The team-up of a grumpy former villain, former leader of a child army, and the formerly alone deer-kid hybrid versus the world is as heart-warming as it is cute to watch.
Seeing Gus with Big Man (Nonso Anozie) is all kinds of heart-meltingly cute. Especially as Big Man attempts to resist Gus’ overbearing cute-ness initially, only to have to give in by the end. Their dynamic, coupled with Bear’s (Stefania LaVie Owen) strength and power, creates a very unique mom-dad-kid dynamic between them that makes you smile as soon as you realize that’s what’s happening.
It’s a tone that continues through the series, and even in the finale, as the show ends on a cliffhanger. It’s one of the best ways to do a cliffhanger that I’ve ever seen. One that didn’t leave me frustrated, enraged, or wanting more. But rather with a sense of peace and awe, excited for what’s to come next.
Elements of Sweet Tooth Are Pretty Dark and Messed Up
What a sweet and moving love story. | Image via Netflix.
The other stories in the Sweet Tooth series are just as interesting and engaging. If not a little dark and kinda messed up. While Gus is on a mission to find his mom, along with two unlikely friends, the story of Aditya (Adeel Akhtar) and his sick wife Rani (Aliza Vellani) feel a lot more familiar. It’s Adi’s story that hits close to home on many levels. People in masks, paranoid about a contagious virus, devolving into attacking their friends and neighbors in an attempt to survive, was a little familiar, given the last year we’ve had.
But Sweet Tooth does its best not to hit a nerve. Adi reluctantly becomes the doctor who has to find a cure. It’s a little more serious than that, given what he has to do to achieve that. As we, and Adi both, find out that the only treatment that keeps The Sick at bay, comes from dissecting and experimenting on hybrid children. Yea, it’s not all glass half full kind of flowers and rainbows over here.
But to Sweet Tooth’s credit, the showrunners do an incredible job of working around all these potentially dark and non-kid-friendly elements. A violent action scene happens in the darkness of night, with only bolts of lightning illuminating the actions sporadically. Even the hybrid experimentation reveals come mostly through blurry shots of words in a notebook, and the shocked expression of Rani. It’s masterful storytelling that goes to show that the skill in creating R-rated and PG-13 content are similar if not one more difficult than the other.
This Is a Show Everyone Should Watch, Comics Fans or Not
All kinds of cute! | Image via Netflix.
Ultimately, Sweet Tooth is a show that I would absolutely recommend. It’s a sweet story, full of hope and good vibes, set against an all too familiar genre that is dark and gloomy. This tone is almost entirely carried by the lead Convery, in a role that will probably go down as one of the greatest cutesy kid roles on television. He is supported to perfection by Anozie, Owen, and even Dania Ramirez, whose own heart-warming and loving story never intersects with the others. Until the very end. Oh, and the series also features James Brolin who, as a narrator, finally provides some much-needed competition to that Morgan Freeman guy who thus far had a monopoly on providing voiceovers to cute stories.
Sweet Tooth season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.
What did you think of this new kind of post-apocalyptic story? Let me know in the comments below.
Featured image via Netflix.
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.