Netflix dropped the first season of Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth on Friday and binged all eight episodes over the course of the day and I am very happy to say that it was well worth the wait. Originally the project was at Hulu who ordered the pilot but passed and Netflix swooped in and order a full series season.
Based on Jeff Lemire’s Vertigo comic book series originally ran forty issues from 2009 to 2013 and then Sweet Tooth the Return in 2020 to 2021 under the Black Label imprint. Lemire himself referred to story as Mad Max meets Bambi and the comic had a very dark tone but there was always a sense of hope throughout.
There are eight episodes in the first season and while the tone of the series is more fantasy based it still follows the basic premiss of the original comic. In a lot of ways it reminded me of Bryan Fullers Pushing Daisies or Wonderfalls in the sense that the show has a great magical quality to it in not only story but in the casting of the show. The main cast is perfectly cast with Christian Convery as Gus (aka Sweet Tooth) delivering the charm and maturity of someone much older than this 11 wonder kin actor. Nonso Anozie brings Tommy Jepperd (aka Jep) gruff exterior but the inner emotional core of Jep in a wonderful performance that shows the growth of his character that is spot on. Will Forte as Sweet Tooth’s father Pubba shows that he is much more than a comedian as he brings great heart to the character. rounding out the amazing cast is Dania Ramiez as Aimee, Stefania LaVie Owen as Bear, Naledi Murray as Wendy Adeel Akhtar as Aditya Singh and James Brolin who is brilliant as the narrator of the show.
The series was created by Jim Mickle who directed the first two episodes and the season finale, gives the show the perfect balance of dark pandemic post apocalypse edge but infuses a fairy tale charm that gives it the perfect balance that makes the show a rare gem that it suitable for the whole family. Fans of the comic should not fear the somewhat lighter tone of the show over the darker edge of the comic because that works well in the comic but I don’t think that it would have translated as well in that form.
One of the other great things going for the series is the great production design and the cinematography of the show. Russell Barnes and Nick Bassett production design give the show a much needed less post apocalyptic designs that are far too overused today, and give it a much needed hopeful look that captures both the destruction and the healing of this new world. The cinematography by Aaron Morton, Dave Garbett and John Cavill give the show a great visual tone and feel with its 2:40 aspect ratio that makes it feel more like a feature film than a television show that captures the fantasy feel and look perfectly and captures the beauty of New Zealand where the show was shot.
One of the other things that helps the show immensely is the wonderful score by Jeff Grace who is able to capture the emotional core of the scenes that adds greatly to the overall tone and feel of the show. This is not just a television feeling score but each episode is like a feature film score.
Rarely does a show like this come along often and even less often that they are this good. With so many films and series that show us a dark future for humanity, Sweet Tooth comes along and shows that there is always hope no matter how dark thing can be. The series also does a great job of giving all of the characters well rounded depth that makes you believe them and this world that they are struggling with. The thing that I found the most amazing part of this series is the huge amount of charm and whit that this show delivers. You are as amazed as Gus is with seeing the Colorado River and eating so much sugar that you pass out from it. It’s Gus’s sense of wonderment and innocence that is the core reason why this series works and the influence that he has on the lives of the other characters in the story.
The other element that works is how the show handles the pandemic aspect of the story. The show was started before the current Covid-19 pandemic and mirrors the comic could have been difficult to watch but the way that the show handles both the reality and emotional impact of a pandemic is done very well and not as problematic or depressing as one might think.
The biggest question that I have is will there be a season 2? Well that is really up to the viewers because unless the show is watched and recommended to others then its fate is really tied to that. Recently Jupiter’s Legacy was well watched on Netflix but cancelled after one season but that was more due to the fact that it was a terrible show and cost a ton of money to make. It does help that the show was produced by Waner Bros. television that doesn’t put all of the decision making on Netflix.
So is the show worth you’re time? Absolutely yes! This is one of the best series that I have see in quite a while. It’s also a show that makes you feel good for a change. Who knew that a post apocalyptic story could do that. It also is a story of hope that I think we could all use right now and family friendly to boot. The only downside I can think of is that the season is far too short and I want to see more of Gus’s story. Hopefully we will get to see more of it sooner rather than later or not at all. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!