When comedian ebook creator Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth first hit cabinets in 2009, the outstanding sequence a few boy-deer hybrid’s journey throughout post-apocalyptic rural America earned heaps of reward from critics and informal readers alike, with some describing it as “Mad Max meets Bambi.”
On the time, that appeared like a bizarre, splendidly apt solution to describe the sequence, and greater than a decade later, it holds simply as true — and simply as oversimplified — for the Netflix adaptation of Lemire’s comedian, which manages to powerfully convey each the center and the horror of its titular character’s saga.
Developed by Jim Mickle (Hap and Leonard, Stake Land) from Lemire’s sequence, Sweet Tooth unfolds after the outbreak of a catastrophic virus has damaged the world as we all know it. As if that wasn’t sufficient to cope with, the outbreak coincides with the emergence of half-human, half-animal infants as the brand new regular for births in what stays of civilization.
The sequence casts younger actor Christian Convery as Gus, an harmless hybrid deer-boy whose encounter with a mysterious loner initiates a journey that may convey them each from one finish of the nation to the opposite, experiencing the most effective and worst of this new, determined world. Alongside the best way, they discover themselves pursued by enemies with sinister agendas, and uncover allies the place they least anticipate finding them.
Sweet Tooth is a narrative that was at all times destined to succeed or fail on the power of its eponymous lead character, whose affinity for sugary treats not solely earns Gus his nickname, however has a behavior of getting him into bother, too. Convery is phenomenal within the function, and strikes the right stability of harmless naivety and a certainty of his convictions far past his years.
It’s troublesome to not cheer for Gus, whose infectious optimism provides a ray of sunshine in even the darkest moments of his journey with Jeppard, his large touring accomplice portrayed by Nonso Anozie.
Anozie and Convery have a chemistry that makes their unlikely partnership not solely make sense, however really feel more and more honest as they discover themselves counting on one another extra incessantly in a world gone mad.
Throughout the sequence’ first, eight-episode season, Anozie’s efficiency provides the Sport of Thrones and RocknRolla actor loads of alternatives to indicate his vary, and he manages to wring a formidable quantity of emotion from Jeppard’s arc. His character casts a quietly giant shadow, however Anozie imbues Jeppard with a depth that makes him nearly as fascinating to observe as Gus on their journey.
Gus and different hybrids play a outstanding function within the first season, and Netflix clearly invested in making their not-quite-human look as believable as attainable. Fuzzy ears, antlers, bushy tails, and wings all transfer with a pure twitch from one character to the following, however their animal options hardly ever cover their humanity — a theme the sequence hammers residence because it depicts one “actual” human after one other appearing decidedly inhuman in the case of hybrid youngsters.
Sadly, Sweet Tooth is at its weakest when the present drifts away from Gus and Jeppard, whose journey is one among a number of parallel tales that play out throughout a lot of the primary season.
Award-winning actor Adeel Akhtar (Murdered By My Father, Utopia) portrays a health care provider compelled to decide on between his morality and the seek for a remedy, whereas Dania Ramirez (As soon as Upon a Time, Entourage) performs a girl who lastly finds her calling in life as a protector of hybrids. Regardless of fantastic performances from each actors, their characters’ arcs by no means fairly generate the identical degree of emotional funding as Gus’ journey. Their tales really feel secondary to Gus and Jeppard’s quest at greatest, and at worst, really feel all-too-similar to numerous different post-apocalyptic tales exploring the depths humanity is able to sinking to in a lawless world.
Nonetheless, even with its shaky secondary arcs, Sweet Tooth is an entertaining — and at instances, heart-wrenching — sequence that expertly balances the lightness and marvel of its titular lead with the darkness round him, in addition to each the great magnificence and terrifying ugliness of the world by which that saga unfolds. Extra than simply “Mad Max meets Bambi,” Sweet Tooth is a lesson in what it actually means to be human, taught by an lovable baby who can’t assist seeing the nice in everybody.
Season 1 of Sweet Tooth is obtainable now on Netflix.