The premise of the new Netflix series Sweet Tooth has a deadly virus that sort of divided the world, people wearing masks, infected people getting killed, a category of the new human race getting hunted as they are considered as the cause for this apocalyptic situation, etc. Even though the visual texture of Sweet Tooth might look “Hobbit” ish, what you see in the series isn’t that pleasant. Sweet Tooth is sort of unique because it tries to place the usual kid-friendly fantasy drama in a very rough reality. Even though it has its share of genre stereotypes, it scores considerably to glue you to the screens and think about what could unfold in the next phase in its climactic moments.
We are shown that a deadly virus outbreak had happened in the past, and the birth of Hybrids (a combination of animals and humans) was considered as the beginning of all this. One man escapes into the woods along with one such hybrid child and trains him to live within that jungle. Yeah, just like you predicted, he, Gus aka Sweet Tooth, broke his father’s rule and decided to find his mom, who is out there somewhere. What we see here is his eventful journey.
Out of the eight episodes in the first season, I would say almost 6 of them had this familiarity to their credit. One show that immediately came to my mind was Hanna. Like I already said, there are tropes in the script that do make it look a bit usual in the earlier parts of the series. When Nonso Anozie’s Jepperd is asked why he is helping Gus in his journey, we can predict some past guilt driving him to do that. There is a track featuring an Indian couple who are struggling to find an effective vaccine for this. And then you have the story of an introvert who sort of found purpose in the middle of mayhem. And one thing that made it interesting was the different emotional palettes of these parallel plots. While the track of the doctor and his wife was too terrifying, the main one featuring Gus had that sense of adventure. The zoo life of Aimee and Wendy kind of took the middle ground.
Christian Convery, who plays Gus, aka Sweet Tooth, is a true star. The innocence and enthusiasm he shows kind of make us forgive Gus for all the troubles caused by him. Nonso Anozie gets to play a vital character here as the traveler Tommy Jepperd. The character’s transition from that harsh guy to this empathetic and smiling human being was fun to watch. Stefania LaVie Owen as the leader Bear was charming, and the evolution of the relationship between her character and Jepperd was also a pleasing one to watch. Adeel Akhtar and Aliza Vellani play the role of the Indian couple, and they presented the cluelessness and trauma very effectively. Dan Ramirez as Aimee and Naledi Murray as Wendy is the next team here, and they also brought in this palpable sense of warmth into the narrative.
Jim Mickle gives the series multiple shades by giving each track a different attire. It reduces the possible monotonous feel of a story that is set in a really dark space. The script is trying its best to get away from the common ingredients, and to an extent, it succeeds in making us forget about this usualness. I am not saying there are no shortcomings here. The train sequence featuring Big Man, Sweet Tooth, and Bear is a bit clumsy and makes things look a bit too easy. But in the end, the series is shifting its gears at a captivating pace. The script shows us what really happened back then, and the characters go through major shifts after realizing certain harsh truths, which will make you interested in a second season.
Sweet Tooth is definitely engaging, and towards the end, it becomes gripping too. It manages to establish a pool of characters who have faced various repercussions of the catastrophe that hit them. With most of these characters left in clueless or hopeful spots, a second season seems exciting and hopefully less predictable.
Even though it has its share of genre stereotypes, it scores considerably to glue you to the screens and think about what could unfold in the next phase in its climactic moments.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended