Imagine. The year is 2020 or 2021. A sickness is going around causing everyone to get severely ill……and give birth to animal hybrid babies. One is very much true to today’s world whereas the other, thankfully, is just a work of fiction. Sweet Tooth is the post apocalyptic show I didn’t even know I needed and I’m about to dive into why. Spoiler free.
Based on the comic of the same name written by Jeff Lamire, Sweet Tooth is about a young boy named Gus, a 10 year old half human and half deer hybrid, who is raised in the woods just beyond the edge of Yellowstone National Park by his father. With no knowledge of the outside world, he only knows stories that his father told him and they’re not exactly accurate. When tragedy strikes, Gus is forced to go beyond the fence, which was a no no according to his father, in order to seek out the woman he never met: his mother. He quickly finds out that the world is a dangerous place and much bigger than his little neck of the woods.
It was the trailer that drew me into the idea of the show. I knew as soon as I saw the little deer horns on Gus I thought “yup. This one is going to be good” and I’m usually never wrong. Animal/human hybrids was always a concept that I’ve loved growing up, but to have it thrown into a post-apocalyptic setting wasn’t what I expected. But oddly enough it works. There’s just something so bizarre about a virus causing people to give birth to animal hybrid babies while at the same time making them extremely ill. There’s no zombies. There’s no dead bodies roaming the streets. The concept alone is unlike anything I’ve seen before and there’s something about the formula for the entire thing that just clicks. Everything about it fits together. It feels fresh, original. It’s a nice reprieve from the mainstream zombie shows that we see today on television.
The SFX and VFX for the show is very unique in terms of character design. Because there are many animals in the world, the hybrids we see on the show are all different looking; deer, pig, cat, owl, hedgehog (which I still can’t get over. That poor mother must’ve went through literal hell giving birth to something like that. But still. In all honesty, I’d be thrilled if I gave birth to a half animal child). They’re all different looking. Some even look more animal than human. An example of that would be Bobby, who seems to be a gopher of some sort. He looks more animal than human, with the only distinguishable human feature is his limited ability to speak and the adorable pair of overalls he wears. In terms of SFX, there are some animatronics involved. Gus’ ears seem to be animated when they move out of fear, excitement, etc. He was the only hybrid that I noticed have an animated feature. Though some of the kids did look kind of costume-y, it didn’t look that bad makeup wise. But overall, the majority of the character designs on the hybrids looked amazing.
The music. Oh my god. Every song just makes you feel like you’re the main character and they just SCREAM adventure. With its indie vibes, you have bands like Of Monsters and Men backing up an incredible story about travelling and making discoveries. Every song feels like a new adventure and weirdly enough there is always a lyric that pertains to the scene that happening. I strayed away from the indie genre a few years ago but this brought back all the memories I had while listening to it. That main character feeling. The feeling of adventure just around the corner. The music department need a pat on the back for the incredible job they did making connections with both the music and the story. Not many shows are able to do that while giving the viewer a sense that they too are involved. Phenomenal job.
Just like the music, the environment and scenery is beautiful as well. The series really showcases what the world would look like during an apocalyptic event. You can see remnants of the old society scattered around like transport trucks, amusement parks, and other venues where people would gather together. I’m personally a huge fan of all the forest shots and overhead views of the plains and mountains. It gives you that feeling that the world is bigger than it seems. Nature is taking their rightful place again without humans interfering. There’s even a scene where zebras and giraffes are roaming the open plains which legitimately brought a tear to my eye. Humans aren’t kind to nature and even less so to each other and I think this series showcases that distaste for things that are different from them or don’t understand.
What blew my mind though was how true and brutally honest this show is on terms of describing the current state of the world. Though covid-19 didn’t bring about any animal hybrid babies (though don’t cross it off your bingo card yet), Sweet Tooth shows the harsh reality of living with a deadly virus. What made me cackle several times was when people would hurriedly reach for their face masks and cover it up whenever someone with the Sick was near them. As funny as this is, there are people even today that refuse to wear their mask. And seeing these people willingly put it on in such a rush just struck me as hilarious. Even the people in Hazmat suits disinfecting areas of exposure felt too real and too close to home. In a way, this series can be viewed as a warning to humanity that if we don’t smarten up, this could happen to us and might very well be our future (again, minus the babies).
Sweet Tooth was hands down one of the best new series I’ve seen so far this year. Though it feels very real to what our world is like today, it also has the fantasy aspect that in turn makes it feel like an escape which is exactly what we need these days.
You can stream Sweet Tooth on Netflix June 4.