Maybe it’s because I love the writer of the DC comic to which the show is based, Jeff Lemire, so much, but there’s something sublime and refreshing about seeing something as incredibly unique as Sweet Tooth. Netflix has proven over the last decade that they can produce some pretty stellar television, but Sweet Tooth is on a completely different level. It. Is. AMAZING.
Characters and Story
I will attempt to describe the show to be as sensitive to spoilers as possible. Sweet Tooth follows a young boy named Gus, a half-deer half-human hybrid played by Christian Convery, as he grows and begins a life-changing adventure with an unlikely friend in a world ravaged by a deadly plague. That’s a bit of a difficult idea to wrap your head around, but believe me when I say that this show is nearly flawless in how it approaches everything.
From the pilot episode we’re introduced to this alternate world perfectly through Gus’ eyes as he grows from an infant to a young boy in the wilderness of Yellowstone with his father, Pubba, played by Will Forte. I will never question anything Will Forte does ever again after this. His performance is powerful to say the very least.
The adventure kicks off in the final moments of that first episode with the introduction of Big Man/Tommy Jepperd, played by Nonso Anozie. The bond between Gus and Jepperd is the guiding force of the entire show. As a step-father myself, I loved their dynamic and enjoyed every second of watching their relationship develop. What starts off as a mild irritation with Gus (Sweet Tooth) and simply wanting to move on quickly evolves into more when Jepperd sees what Gus is capable of. This builds to a fantastic climax in the finale that genuinely had me in tears.
Their are some intriguing side characters to Sweet Tooth as well. From Dr. Aditya Singh, Adeel Ahktar, who seemingly discovers the Sick and the hybrid children to Bear, Stefania LaVie Owen, the orphaned leader of a pro-hybrid defense force, everyone is interesting and adds to the world of the show. There’s nothing here that doesn’t add something to the overall product to make it better.
The villain of the story General Abbott, played by Neil Sandilands, is ridiculous and I love it. From his first moments on screen he’s got huge John Malkovich as Humma Kavula energy, and I can’t think of any other way I would’ve enjoyed it more. I didn’t even realize at first that I had seen him as another famous DC villain, the Thinker, on CW’s the Flash. He’s a completely different person, and gets to show off a lot more of his acting chops. He’s over-the-top and bombastic in all of the best ways. Admittedly, he’s not the most interesting villain I’ve ever seen, but he didn’t really need to be. He was everything he needed to be, and the show positions him perfectly to be a much more present danger in season 2. I really can’t wait.
Effects and Props
Sweet Tooth definitely has some CGI, but there is also a healthy amount of practical effects and makeup used throughout as well. For example, I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of the significantly more animal-like hybrid characters was a puppet. There was something physically there for the young actress Naledi Murray, Wendy/Pigtail, to react to and it shows. All of the hybrid kids, except maybe the chameleon boy, were done with practical makeup and prosthetics. Seeing Gus’ deer ears move and twitch as he reacts to things was phenomenal. All of the little touches and attention to detail really help to legitimize the world and the story that’s being told. It’s nothing short of wonderful.
The Last Word
Boot up Netflix and set aside some time to watch Sweet Tooth. It is incredibly endearing, poignant, insightful, creative, fun, moving, and all of the adjectives to say wonderful. I’ve watched the entire thing at least thrice as of the writing of this review, and I’ve enjoyed it enormously each time.
Sweet Tooth is a five star show. Change my mind.
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I’ve worked my whole life to become a comic book illustrator, writer, and stand-up comedian. Batman and Captain Benjamin Sisko helped put a good head on my shoulders. I spent most of my childhood saving Hyrule and the Mushroom Kingdom and seeing the Justice League save all of creation time and time again. I live in Johnson City, TN with my wife Kary and daughter Laila enjoying the beautiful mountain scenery and occasional show. Three puppies round out the family and take up the rest of the time that isn’t spent debating which Wes Anderson or Studio Ghibli movie to watch. I spend an inordinate amount of time binge watching SVU, Futurama, and Letterkenny, and when I’m not watching I’m listening to “My Brother, My Brother, and Me” or playing the occasional game of D&D. If there’s a nerdy endeavor out there, I’ve probably at least tried it.