Episode 1 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 4/5
On the surface, it would be easy to write off Sweet Tooth as just another post-apocalyptic romp. That would be a mistake because Sweet Tooth is a very, very good show. While the series does follow a tried-and tested fetch quest dynamic, it feels fresh and exciting thanks to the characters, who make this trek across the wilderness so enthralling.
We’ve seen this story trope a lot in fantasy and sci-fi over the years, and it’s one that’s incredibly difficult to pull off without slumping into mediocrity or feeling repetitive.
The Road, for example, takes a very bleak approach to this idea, while 2013’s The Last Of Us wraps up a character-driven plot about grief and forgiveness around a grimy post-apocalyptic world. In a way, Sweet Tooth feels like a mash-up of the pair.
Adapted from the popular graphic novels back in 2009, Sweet Tooth is a DC Comic IP that’s surprisingly relevant for our current social climate. Changes have been made to the source material but to be honest, everything here resonates perfectly and works with the overarching plot.
For those unaware, our story takes place some time in the near-future. A viral outbreak has decimated the world. Dubbed the H5G9 strain, what begins with a simple cough soon mutates into something much, more worse. This is known colloquially as “The Great Crumble.”
As the deaths pile up, a new wave of hybrid babies start being born in the midst of all this. Doctors and scientists are baffled and unsure which came first. Through all this chaos and devastation however is a glimmer of hope; a half-deer/half-human hybrid is born, named Gus.
Hiding out at Yellowstone National Park with his “Pubba”, Gus finds himself growing up and learning how to survive. However, he soon becomes curious about the outside world and decides to venture off to find his Mum, Birdie.
Along the way he’s joined by a bruiser called Tommy Jepp and the two form an unlikely bond that ultimately serves as the glue that ties everything together. As they trek across the world in search of Birdie, the pair uncover the toughest challenges of their life.
Running parallel to this storyline however are several others that intertwine around this nicely. Dr Adi Singh and his wife Rani remain determined to try and hide out from this disease, working with Dr Bell to try and come up with some sort of vaccine or cure. The threat of another viral wave washing over their isolated, idyllic community however, threatens to undermine everything they’ve been working to secure.
This uneasiness is made worse by a militant group known simply as the Last Men. Dr-Robotnik-lookalike General Abbot is in charge and he’s hell-bent on finding and killing every last hybrid he can.
This poses bad news for The Preserve, where another survivor called Aimee is hiding . With the remains of a zoo keeping her safe, she sends out flyers and radio broadcasts encouraging orphaned hybrid children to seek refuge and shield away from the scared, xenophobic remains of humanity in this world.
Across the season all of these stories play out next to one another, intertwining slightly at key moments in the plot. However, this actually works quite well in the context of the show, allowing for a much wider and more intimate selection of stories to play out before bringing everything together near the end. It also leads to one almighty cliffhanger at the end.
The show does well to actually give some consistent answers though, with the penultimate episode in particular starting to dive into the virus’ origins and what could have led to this big outbreak.
Through all of this though, the real stand-out of Sweet Tooth comes from the budding relationship between Gus and Tommy. Their bond and the way their characters grow and evolve across the season is ultimately what makes this such a delight to watch. There are moments of levity amidst some of the darker and more serious tones in this, and it works incredibly well to feed into the themes of the show (more on that in a minute.)
Alongside the excellent story is the aesthetic. Filmed in the breathtaking vistas of New Zealand, Sweet Tooth is absolutely gorgeous. It’s clear a lot of work has gone into the production design for this and aesthetically, it’s hard to fault this one.
This beauty expands out to the themes and ideas, with a surprisingly sweet and optimistic message about humanity’s future and hope in general. These two tones – the gritty, bleak reality of the virus and the wistful optimism of Gus and the better parts of humanity – are ultimately what makes this such a unique and different post-apocalyptic romp.
Quite simply, Sweet Tooth is fantasy done right. It’s a wide-sweeping epic armed with gorgeous visuals and a tight screenplay that forces you to keep watching until the very end. With a second season already green-lit, Sweet Tooth bows out on a high, leaving you desperate for more when you’re finished with this one.
Sweet Tooth releases on Netflix worldwide 4th June!