DC’s ‘Sweet Tooth’: Should you take a bite out of Netflix’s new TV show?
Netflix’s new TV show, Sweet Tooth, is a DC Comics adaptation that some might dismiss out of hand. It’s yet another post-apocalypse show focusing on the survivors of a worldwide disease simply called “the sick”. We know, it’s a little on the nose, but the show began production before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, and the comic book, written by Jeff Lemire, began its run back in 2009.
If you’re able to look past the echoes of current events, you’ll find that DC’s Sweet Tooth is a wholly enjoyable, much warmer take on societal collapse than other comic-turned-TV show properties like The Walking Dead. Amanda Burrell, one of the show’s executive producers, has described it as a “storybook dystopia”.
Sweet Tooth might be a tough sell in 2021, but there are plenty of reasons to give the show a chance. We’ll lay out the basics here, and let you make the decision for yourself.
Lemire’s Sweet Tooth
Jeff Lemire is a prolific comic book writer & illustrator who’s worked for all the major comic book publishers. For DC, he worked on books like Animal Man & Green Arrow. Over at Marvel, he penned massively popular titles like All-New Hawkeye & Old Man Logan.
Lemire has done excellent work on mainstream superheroes, but his best-known stories are his original creations. He began working on Sweet Tooth, which was published by DC’s Vertigo imprint, back in 2009. He wrote and illustrated every issue of the hit series. Sweet Tooth is a viral apocalypse story with a twist: at the same time “the sick” began killing humans, hybrid human/animal babies started to be born.
The series focuses on Gus, a young deer boy with antlers and twitchy little animal ears. Gus lives with his father in a quiet hideaway in the woods. Eventually, for reasons we won’t spoil, Gus must leave the woods and go out in search of his long-lost mother. He meets a man named Jeppard who promises to help Gus in his journey. Of course, plenty of misadventures & hijinks occur along the way.
Netflix’s Sweet Tooth
In May 2020, Netflix confirmed their adaptation of the DC comic Sweet Tooth would air as an eight-episode TV show. Attached to the project are Susan & Roberty Downey Jr., assisting in production with their company Team Downey. The show is written by Jim Mickle & Beth Schwartz. It aired in its entirety today, June 4th.
The Sweet Tooth adaptation tells a three-pronged story, much like Netflix’s The Witcher. One plot thread follows Gus (Christian Convery) and Jeppard (Nonso Anozie) as they search for Gus’s mom. Another, darker story focuses on Aditya Singh (Adeel Akhtar) a doctor who’s become calloused and withdrawn after the events surrounding “the sick”. Finally, there’s Aimee (Dania Ramirez), a new character created for the show.
In another cue taken from The Witcher, the various characters in Sweet Tooth don’t meet up until the first season’s finale. In typical Netflix fashion, the season ends on a massive cliffhanger that may leave some viewers feeling like they’ve just watched an eight-episode prologue. While the formula is basically unavoidable these days, the open ending doesn’t damage the episodes that came before it.
Sweet Tooth may be another slow burn drawing in a larger audience over time. While pandemic-weary viewers may be hesitant to tune in, the charm of Gus and his world will be sure to hook them when they do. The show is beautifully shot and brilliantly acted, and it has more than enough character to sustain itself. In spite of its shortcomings, Sweet Tooth is an endearing and enjoyable DC TV show.
Will you be bingeing Sweet Tooth this weekend? Let us know in the comments!