I have been souring on the idea of binge watching TV series these days. I used to binge plenty of Netflix series, but they were always a time consuming effort and I did not find the time on weekends to carve out for these series. I have been liking the shows like WandaVision, Falcon & Winter Soldier, Superman & Lois that come out once a week because they are so easier to watch.
However, I was watching Kevin Smith’s podcast Fatman Beyond last night on YouTube and he started talking about Netflix’s latest series Sweet Tooth, a show based on the DC Comic by Jeff Lemire and produced by Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey. Kevin was raving about the show. If you watch Kevin Smith, he does tend to love a lot of shows. But this sounded different. I was immediately sold on what he was saying and I was excited to start the show last night.
This is fantastic. The show is full of excitement, drama, humor and such great storytelling. The twists and turns are devastating. The performances are great, especially from young Christian Convery, who plays the title role. He is so full of joy and life. It is an exceptional performance from the young actor.
In a world where a deadly virus outbreak caused many people to die from “The Sickness,” babies were being born as hybrids, part human and part animal. This fed right into the panic of the virus and the military joined in to make it worse yet.
Pubba (Will Forte) took his son Gus (Christian Convery) and escaped from the insanity of the world into the wilderness of Yellowstone Park. He raised the boy alone for nine years before The Sick entered into their world in a tragic manner. Alone, Gus tries to follow his father’s major rule, “Do not go past the fence.” When he is unable to follow that rule, Jepperd (Nonso Anonzie) arrives to help Gus out. Gus dubbed him “Big Man” and the pair take off for Colorado, where Gus believes his mother is living.
The series does an exceptional job of setting up this dark, sad world, but not to get bogged down in the tragedy. It is not a depressing, dystopian future show, despite the fact that the setting would lead that way. This show is about life and about the joy of being alive and keeping those feelings despite what the world around you is saying.
The characters are all deep and well developed. Each character is dealing with a secret or a tragedy that they are desperately trying to manage. Big Man, aka former football star Tommy Jepperd, was once one of the Last Men, the group of military men rounding up hybrids. Jepperd found that he could not do that any longer and broke out on his own to wander the world. His connection with Gus, whom he called Sweet Tooth, is a highlight of the series. Watching the two of them go from strangers to family is truly some of the best parts of the show.
Another characters introduced early is Bear, a leader of a resistance group out to help hybrids. She fit in with Gus and Big Man beautifully, though at first, she had her own issues with Big Man. As the series progressed, you can see how the two of them were growing closer.
We meet Dr. Aditya Singh, whose wife Rani has the Sick, but he had contact with a woman who had been able to create a treatment that kept The Sick at bay. His desperation to help his wife and to keep his wife safe, not only from the Sick but also from the remaining of humanity. There are some unbelievably tense moments with this couple in their neighborhood, including a couple of the worst scenes imaginable.
We know very little about the main villain of the film, General Abbott who leads the Last Men and is hunting the hybrids. He is very cruel and vicious, but we do not have much info on him at this point.
The show was so fantastic, although the 8th and final episode ends on a massive cliffhanger that I sure hope we can get a season two. There are some wonderful reveals as the show moves along. It was a very easy binge, the episodes ranging from 39 minutes to 53 minutes. It is very easy to breeze through the episodes and move to the next one.
The story sets up several characters, including a narrator (spoken by James Brolin) and then the show does a wonderful job of intermixing the characters naturally, without making it feel forced.
I have never read the DC Comic this was based on and, despite the fact that I love Jeff Lemire’s work (his run on Moon Knight was awesome), I am kind of glad that I came into this series with such a lack of knowledge. It made every twist all the more effective.
Sweet Tooth is full of fun and excitement. Make sure you give it a try.