Sweet Tooth. (Netflix.) Review.

Let’s be honest. Most big-budget Netflix shows are unbelievably mediocre. They have some gems ( Mindhunter, GLOW, Daredevil The Dragon Prince, Sex Education S2). Stranger Things remains strong. The Lost In Space remake is mostly fun. They gave A Series of Unfortunate Events the adaptation it deserves. Entertaining trash (YOU) Some stuff that well fine flouts by on the fact it has a big audience ( The Umbrella Academy, Below this, is a lot of gunk. They seem to throw a huge amount of money and practically anything that looks like it might find an audience The dust still hasn’t settled on the deserved cancellation of Jupiter’s Legacy. It’s still unbelievable in this reviewer that they spent $200 million for eight episodes when the final product looked like a mid-tier CW show and this writer sat through the whole thing.) On the surface, Sweet Tooth looks like another attempt to adapt an existing property into Netflix’s is next big thing. For the first time in years, the strategy appears to have paid off
No beating around the bush This season does have some issues but it is the most this watcher has enjoyed the debut of a hopefully ongoing Netflix show in years. In a world where COVID is still very much a factor in daily life its biggest obstacle to success might be the initial setup. In a post-apocalyptic future, a deadly virus has resulted in humanity giving birth to hybrid human/animal babies. This series follows one such character the titular Sweet Tooth /Gus on a journey to find his mother as well as several other subplots. All of this can in some way be traced back to the initial virus outbreak.
First things first. This show looks amazing. So many Netflix originals are just generic characters walking around underlit hallways. It’s oddly refreshing to see a production where the huge amount of money spent on it has manifested on screen. The lush New Zealand landscapes look wonderful. Tonally this season is excellent. Falling somewhere between other Netflix hits but in such a way that gives it a certain level of uniqueness. It’s like A Series of Unfortunate Events ( especially with the darker bedtime story Esque narration) the characters of The Umbrella Academy and the scale and scope of Stranger Things had a baby with one another. This reviewer has it on good authority that the source material is a lot darker. In terms of rating, this season probably fits a light PG-13. As someone unfamiliar with the properly before this adaptation this viewer was somewhat surprised proceedings did get surprisingly bleak when they needed to. Critically without alienating the audience that will be there for a fun and sweet-natured adventures series about a hybrid boy//dear child. We are dealing with an apocalypse narrative after all. The performances are also strong throughout. Christian C delivers one of the most engaging child performances of recent memory in the title role. He is backed up by strong support from Nonso Anonzi, Stefania LaVie Owen and Adeel Akhtar James Brolin delivers just the right amount of Lemony Snicket dark fable energy as the narrator. This season is a very engaging, hugely enjoyable good time. Unfortunately, it does end on a series of massive cliffhangers for a potential next season. This author is hoping that it has done well enough ( even with the potentially slightly too close to the bone subject matter) to earn in itself a second season. If the follow up does get greenlit the 0% closure in the finale won’t be as much of a problem. However, it does feel like ( as with a lot of streaming shows) creative’s are no longer rounding off their seasons in a way that’s effective regardless of if it gets renewed or otherwise. This speaks to the season broad problem. This is one of those cases of episodic streaming that has the feel of chapters within an overall story as opposed to satisfying individual pieces. This is fine within the streaming economy in one sense. A huge chunk of this show’s audience is likely to binge it. That said as someone who likes to watch multiple episodes of several different shows within an evening it’s distinctly noticeable when these shows are built exclusively for that model. Much as this viewer enjoyed this season Sweet Tooth is a prime example. There might be stronger episodic writing in future seasons. It’s impossible to tell at this point.
Despite some notable Sweet Tooth is the most this writer has enjoyed a potentially ongoing debut season or a Netflix show since minehunter. Very high production values, effective command of tone, Engaging performances and strong world-building cover up weaknesses in the poor episodic structure This author would daily love to see a softmore effort greenlet. By putting out this review he hopes to get audiences that may have been on the fence to at least try the first episode. It’s reminiscent of the kind of genuine family fantasy that was a staple for this credit go growing up and that you rarely see these days. Young adult material seems to have taken over the genre entirely. If properties like Sweet Tooth can Continue to pull off this tone effectively there Is hope for similar adaptations and new intellectual property down the road.
8.25/10

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