Based on the comic book of the same name, Sweet Tooth follows a young boy named Gus (Christian Convery), a half human and half deer hybrid, on a search for answers in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by a deadly virus that may or may not be the cause of the births of these hybrids. A sci-fi/fantasy adventure awaits in what is an emotionally resonant, incredibly well-acted and deeply engaging debut season.
At the core of this series is Gus’ cross-country adventure, where he comes across a number of friends and enemies that help or hinder his search for answers. The big surprise is that there are actually three core narratives being told progressively over the course of the season. If either of these additional arcs, that are seemingly entirely isolated from each other, aren’t effective in getting us invested in the characters involved it would put a dampener on the series as a whole. Slowing down the pace of things whenever it switched to that arc. Thankfully, the writing behind every single episode is absolutely stellar. Every single concurrent narrative is deeply engaging in its own unique way. The characters are all unique, on completely different paths and experiencing different sides of this complex post-apocalyptic world. That’s what these split narratives do best – they allow us to see multiple facets of this post-apocalyptic world to greater understand and piece together what’s going on.
All three of the adventures being told seem to have a purpose and a goal that they’re working towards. It’s not like we are following these characters, blind as to what they’re doing, where they’re going and why they’re doing certain things. Within the early stages of the series, it introduces us to all of the main players in each arc and really allows the audience to sympathise with what they’re going through and instantly get on their side. By hooking you in instantly, it creates this feeling where throughout the whole series I didn’t know which character’s journey I wanted to see more of. Every time it would switch to a different set of characters I was just as excited to see them as I was the group it just switched from. This comes down to a number of things, but the writing needs to be highlighted because it’s just brilliant. Sure, being set in a post-apocalyptic world where a virus has run rampant, there’s going to be similarities to other past projects – but what sets it apart are the characters we follow and how their views on life are how we experience this world.
It’s hard to frame a post-apocalyptic series in a way that there always feels like there’s hope, but Sweet Tooth does exactly that. No matter who we’re following, and no matter what goes wrong along the way, it always feels like there’s this sense of hope lingering over every scene. It really is quite beautiful and lends itself to how the series is so emotionally impactful. The fact that you care about these characters from the get-go creates an emotional investment that will have you fearing for everyone’s life at multiple points through the season. Sometimes when shows try to get you with emotional punches, they don’t always work – not here though. This series never fails to hit those emotional notes from right away in the first episode all the way to the season finale.
Notably, the acting across the entire season is absolutely stellar. Firstly you have the young Christian Convery who embodies all of the cute, charming and unbearably adorable qualities fo the series. For a young actor to lead the way with such a strong performance that perfectly exhibits the moral purity of his character, it’s fantastic. He’s joined side-by-side by Nonso Anozie who plays Tommy Jepperd, aka the Big Man. Nonso’s performance is one that grows in depth as his character gradually opens up more and more with each passing episode. The chemistry he shares with Christian is what makes this unlikely pairing work so well. We’ve seen the whole “tough adult and innocent kid” dynamic played out before, but there’s something about the way these two sell it that makes it so worthwhile.
Elsewhere, you have Dania Ramirez who is a powerhouse in each of her scenes as Aimee, a hardened survivor who takes on the task of raising a hybrid all by herself. She bought this toughness to the character that you buy into instantly, and balances it out with this vulnerability that you see whenever her motherly-instinct kicks in. She carries the bulk of her portion of the series almost single-handedly, which is all the more impressive. Then there’s Adeel Akhtar who brings another fresh perspective on the world as Aditya Singh, a doctor living in fear – fighting with what being morally right is in such a broken world. His performance is so gripping that you can see his inner conflict growing with each passing moment through his expressions alone. As a whole, the cast is just awesome, but I need to mention the acting prowess of Will Forte whose presence in the series is felt across each and every episode, even when he’s not on screen. He has some of the most memorable scenes in the series due to how emotionally impactful they are. These moments really stick with you long after they happen and that’s just a testament to his acting abilities.
Another element of the series is the occasional narration from James Brolin, popping in here and there to bring some context and insight into the characters. This narration could have come and gone with the first episode, but the fact that it remains a part of the series throughout is quite refreshing. Not only does he have a soothing voice, but he helps with emphasising and cementing that positive, hopeful tone that I mentioned earlier. It reminds me of the narrator of Winnie the Pooh’s various adventures – inspiring some more positive vibes on the series.
In the end, Sweet Tooth is an absolute triumph in storytelling, acting and the ability to craft a world that is deeply engaging from multiple unique points of view. The multiple narratives are very well balanced through each episode, with each one getting ample time to shine. Every character is intriguing in their own right and every arc is engaging the whole way through. Even when things seem like they’re not going to work, the series proves me wrong. For instance the penultimate episode takes a risky approach to its storytelling – a make or break decision that ultimately pays off flawlessly. I don’t see a world in which this doesn’t receive a second season – so if sci-fi/fantasy adventures are your thing, definitely check this out on Netflix!