Sweet Tooth has arrived on Netflix, a unique, sometimes heartbreaking fantasy adventure based on Jeff Lemire's comic book of the same name. But what does it all mean? Here's everything you need to know about Sweet Tooth.
Sweet Tooth is set in a postapocalyptic world, following an event known as "The Great Crumble". Two things heralded the end of the world as we know it. First, a deadly, highly contagious plague called "the Sick". And shortly after that, the birth of animal-human hybrid children. The proximity of these events leads to a wave of violent prejudice against the hybrids, with an extremist paramilitary group known as the Last Men, forming to hunt and kill the hybrid children. The story of Sweet Tooth's hero begins with a father fleeing into the woods with his child, a deer-human hybrid called Gus. He raises Gus on his own, teaching him about the world and warning him about the dangers beyond their compound. If I see a human? I will hide. But, as you've probably guessed, this is just the beginning. Gus' father dies after contracting the virus, and Gus eventually leaves the confines of his isolated home. He immediately gets into trouble. I have never seen a deer one afore. And is saved from capture and death by wandering loner, Jepperd, whom Gus knows simply as "Big Man". Likewise, Gus' obsession with sugar, from tree-tapped maple syrup to candy bars, leads to his nickname and title for the show, Sweet Tooth. Yeah, you keep that edge, Sweet Tooth. Despite Jepperd's best efforts to get rid of him, Gus accompanies Big Man, and they eventually make their way to Colorado, where Gus hopes he'll find his mother and a sanctuary for other hybrid children.
Gus is played by Christian Convery, a Canadian actor who has 27 credits to his name, despite only 12. He's best known for his appearances in Venom, Beautiful Boy, and Playing with Fire. Hulking British actor Nonso Anozie plays Jepperd. He has loads of stage and screen credits, but you'll probably know him as Tank from Guy Ritchie's RocknRolla and Xaro Xhoan Daxos from Game of Thrones.
Adeel Akhtar joins them as the conflicted Dr Singh, an award-winning actor known for his role in the critically-acclaimed TV drama Murdered by My Father. He also featured as Wilson Wilson, a paranoid conspiracy theorist in the original version of Utopia.
From Running Wilde and The Carrie Diaries, New Zealand-American actor Stefania LaVie Owen features Bear as a pro-hybrid guerrilla leader. And former SNL cast member and comedian Will Forte plays Gus' father. Dania Ramirez from Heroes, Entourage, and Once Upon a Time is Aimee, a woman who creates a sanctuary for hybrids in an abandoned zoo.
But our story doesn't begin here. And that gravelly voice you hear at the start of each episode is provided by veteran actor James Brolin, who you might know from Traffic, The Amityville Horror, and being Josh Brolin's dad.
The show is executive produced by The Avengers' Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey, the film producer behind the Sherlock Holmes movies, RocknRolla, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, amongst many others. The series was developed by Jim Mickle, a writer and director known for Stake Land, Mulberry St, and We Are What We Are. The story is based on the 2009 DC/Vertigo comic of the same name, written by Jeff Lemire. Some described the original series as "Mad Max meets Bambi", which ran until 2013, and a sequel subtitled 'The Return' was released in 2020. Although the story is broadly the same, there are differences. In the comics, Tommy Jepperd is a hockey player rather than an American football star. He's also more morally ambiguous. At one point, he even betrays Gus by delivering him to Abbot's scientific facility. And the role of Gus' father, known as Pubba, has significantly changed. In Jeff Lemire's original, he's a borderline religious zealot who might be responsible for The Great Crumble. In the series, he's a gentle janitor who draws books and makes Gus a stuffed dog out of his old socks. -A dog! -Yeah, it's a dog. There are hints of the darkness in the original. Things like Dr Singh learning where the drugs that keep his wife alive come from. But the Netflix series is more of a modern fairy tale, thematically similar, but a more enjoyable place to inhabit. Do you like candy? These taste like lightning! What are these?
The story is set in the Mountain West of the United States. Gus' compound is hidden deep within Yellowstone National Park, and from there, he and Jepperd make their way south towards Colorado and the fictional location of Essex. No, not that Essex. It's based on Jeff Lemire's home of Essex County, Ontario. Although this is a postapocalyptic story, it's not the barren wasteland we're used to seeing in films like Mad Max. This is a rich, verdant setting where nature has reclaimed places that used to be full of humans. And if you're getting distinct Lord of the Rings-y vibes looking at the striking landscapes in Sweet Tooth, award yourself a swig of maple syrup.
It was filmed in Auckland, New Zealand, one of the few productions granted border extensions to film during the Covid pandemic, alongside another upcoming Netflix show, Cowboy Bebop. OK, step away now if you haven't finished the series because this will ruin everything. When we reach the final episode of the show, it's all gone horribly wrong. Gus learns that he doesn't have birth parents. Pubba and Birdie, the woman he thought was his mother, merely rescued him. Gus was grown in a science facility, although the specifics of exactly how are unclear. Worse still, he's captured by the Last Men after Big Man is shot and left for dead. If all that wasn't bad enough, Aimee's sanctuary has been overrun by General Abbot's thugs. Nice try. But there is some hope. Aimee finds the injured Jepperd and rescues him, suggesting that some severe payback is coming from the two adoptive parents. Tomorrow, we get our kids back. And Dr Singh immediately makes a connection with Gus… Thanks. Delaying the disastrous operation ordered by General Abbot, which is suitable for Gus, who gets a stay of execution, and less suitable for this chameleon boy. Ready.
Meanwhile, while looking in the attic of Birdie's house, Bear finds a radio that bursts into life. She calls back, and we finally see Birdie, still alive, but now, back in Alaska, where the bacteria responsible for the pandemic was originally found. Who are you? We also learn that Bear's younger sister is none other than Wendy, the pig-human hybrid Aimee has taken into her care, explaining Bear's fiercely pro-hybrid mentality. And while the series ends with Gus imprisoned and in danger, he has finally found his people. Although how much longer they'll have together is another question entirely.
What was your favourite part of Sweet Tooth? And do you think Jepperd and Aimee will be able to rescue Gus and Wendy? Let us know in the comments below.