Sweet Tooth overview: Netflix’s new show is a warmer take on the end of the world
Gus might have antlers like a deer, however he’s a pet canine at coronary heart. The principle character of Netflix’s new collection Sweet Tooth, based mostly on the comedian by Jeff Lemire, is a younger boy struggling to outlive in a world ravaged by a pandemic. However whereas the world round him descends into chaos, Gus, performed by Christian Convery, by no means loses his sense of wide-eyed optimism. His ears perk up — actually — if he hears about chocolate or sweet apples, and he has an nearly naive perception in individuals who shouldn’t at all times be trusted. At a time once we’re inundated with grim post-apocalyptic tales about how darkish humanity can get, Sweet Tooth and its lovable lead provide one thing very welcome: hope.
Most of the set-up is acquainted territory. A pandemic has killed off a lot of the human race, and people left behind are trying to rebuild one thing resembling a society, some by way of pressure, others by means of neighborhood. What makes Sweet Tooth totally different are creatures referred to as hybrids: human-animal mixtures that first appeared (birthed from human mother and father) at the identical time the “sick,” because it’s referred to as, started killing individuals. They’re completely lovable little issues that may make Anne Geddes proud. However most individuals can’t appear to look previous the obvious connection between hybrids and the pandemic — and this doesn’t bode properly for the hybrids.
Gus doesn’t know a lot about any of this. At the outset of the show, the deer-child lives in an remoted cabin along with his father, who teaches him what he’ll have to know to outlive. Gus is compelled to study a collection of guidelines — largely, they contain operating away from hazard and staying quiet — whereas his dad teaches him the best way to farm, sort things, and even learn by way of handmade variations of basic books he rewrites from reminiscence. Gus believes that the world exterior of their charmed plot of land is consumed by fireplace. As a result of of this, he’s by no means purported to transcend the fence that surrounds them. However, for causes that I gained’t spoil (however which you’ll be able to most likely guess), Gus finally ends up leaving the property and touring with a huge man identified primarily as Huge Man (Nonso Anozie) in search of the mom he’s by no means really met.
Sweet Tooth begins sluggish, and it’s higher off for it. Early on, the show doesn’t appear too involved with the bigger mysteries of the illness, the hybrids, or how the two join. There’s a aspect story involving a troubled physician that turns into extra vital later on, however for the first few episodes the show is nearly totally about Gus. First, his nearly idyllic life at house, as he celebrates birthdays with new books and handmade stuffed animals. The vibe is heat and comforting, with tons of cozy sweaters, wooden cabins, and roaring fireplaces — and simply a trace of hazard lurking in the background. (Government producer Amanda Burrell beforehand described the show’s aesthetic as “storybook dystopia.”) Even after he ventures out into the huge, scary exterior world, issues aren’t notably darkish; this isn’t the sort of post-apocalyptic world suffering from discarded our bodies and horrible monsters. It’s our world, simply a bit quieter and greener. And with a few roving gangs.
It’s not simply the aesthetic that makes the show inviting, although. It’s Gus himself. He’s such a candy and trusting child which you can’t assist however root for him. Even when issues get darkish — and they’ll — he maintains a sense of optimism that’s uncommon for this sort of story. I particularly love which you can see his temper; Gus is largely human, however, as talked about earlier than, he has the antlers and ears of a deer. So when he’s feeling unhappy or excited, his ears will perk up or lay flat relying on his emotional state. It’s lovable.
Gus being this heat, comforting emotional core is vital, as a result of Sweet Tooth does finally reveal its darker aspect. After a few episodes, the layers begin to peel again, revealing issues like militarized forces hoarding provides, the systematic searching and exploitation of hybrid kids, and well-meaning docs who will do something, regardless of how grisly, to search out a remedy for the virus. These are balanced out by different factions, like a zoo that’s been reworked into a hybrid sanctuary, and a rowdy military of children residing free of grownup supervision.
The issue is that almost all of this is crammed into the second half of the eight-episode season, throwing off the pacing. Sweet Tooth steadily goes from a sluggish burn that lingers on characters and moments, to a race to clarify the many mysteries of the illness, hybrids, and Gus’s origin. The season additionally ends on a large cliffhanger, making it really feel a bit like a prologue, reasonably than a standalone story.
At its most assured, Sweet Tooth is outstanding. Submit-apocalyptic settings are so commonplace that they’re nearly generic at this level; grim, grey worlds punctuated by blood and gore (and the occasional zombie). Sweet Tooth manages to carve out its personal house, one which’s extremely inviting. I simply want it saved up that feeling by means of the later half of the season. When the show devolves into thriller and motion, it loses a lot of what makes it distinctive — however not less than Gus is nonetheless there that can assist you make it by means of.
Sweet Tooth debuts on Netflix on June 4th.
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