Netflix’s Sweet Tooth makes the end of the world a little cozier

A Warm Look at the Post-Apocalypse Future

Gus may have horns like a deer, but he’s a puppy dog ​​at heart. main character of netflix new series sweet toothBased on the comic by Jeff Lemire, follows a young boy struggling to survive in a world ravaged by a pandemic. But when the world around him descends into chaos, Gus, played by Christian Convery, never loses his sense of wide-eyed optimism. If he hears about chocolate or candy apples, his ears perk up—and he has an almost naive belief in people he shouldn’t always trust. At a time when we are filled with grim post-apocalyptic stories of how bleak humanity can be, sweet tooth And its adorable lead welcomes something: hope.

Much of the set-up is familiar territory. A pandemic has killed much of the human race, and those left behind are attempting to rebuild something like a society, some through force, others through community. what makes sweet tooth There are different organisms called hybrids: human-animal mixtures that first appeared (born from human parents) at the same time that “sick”, as it is called, began to kill people. they are absolutely cute little things that will make Anne Geddes Proud. But most people can’t see the clear connection between hybrids and epidemics – and that doesn’t bode well for hybrids.

Photo by Kirsty Griffin/Netflix

Gus doesn’t know much about it. At the start of the show, the deer-child lives in a stateroom with his father, who teaches him what he needs to know in order to survive. Gus is forced to learn a series of rules—mostly, they involve running away from danger and keeping quiet—while his father helps him cultivate, fix things, and even read through classic books. Teach you to read through handcrafted volumes which he rewrites from memory. Gus believes that the world outside his charming land is consumed by fire. Because of this, he should never go beyond the fence around him. But, for reasons I won’t spoil (but which you can probably guess), Gus leaves the property and travels with an older man known primarily as Big Man (Nonso Enozzi), who Looking for the mother he has never actually met.

sweet tooth Starts out slow, and it’s better for it. Initially, the show doesn’t seem too concerned with the big secrets of disease, hybrids, or how the two connect. There is a side story involving a troubled doctor that becomes more important later, but for the first few episodes the show is almost entirely about Gus. First, his almost idyllic life at home, as he celebrates birthdays with new books and handmade stuffed animals. The vibe is warm and cozy, with plenty of cozy sweaters, wooden cabins, and roaring fireplaces—and a hint of danger lurking in the background. (Executive producer Amanda Burrell previously described the show’s aesthetic as a “storybook dystopia.”) Even after venturing out into the big, scary outside world, things aren’t particularly dark; This is not the kind of post-apocalyptic world littered with abandoned bodies and terrifying demons. This is our world, just a little quieter and greener. And with some roaming gangs.

However, it’s not just the beauty that invites the show. It’s Gus himself. He’s such a sweet and relatable kid that you can’t help but root for him. Even when things get dark — and they will — he maintains a sense of optimism that is rare for a story like this. I especially love that you can See his mood; Gus is mostly human, but, as mentioned earlier, he has deer horns and ears. So when he is feeling sad or excited, his ears will swell or flatten, depending on his emotional state. It’s very cute.

sweet tooth

Photo: Netflix

It’s important to have Gus’ warm, cozy emotional core, because sweet tooth Finally reveals his darker side. After a few episodes, the layers begin to recede, revealing things like military forces hoarding supplies, systematic hunting and the exploitation of hybrid children, and well-meaning doctors will do whatever it takes, no matter how terrifying. Yes, virus to find its cure. These are counterbalanced by other factions, such as a zoo that has been turned into a hybrid sanctuary, and a rowdy army of children who live free from adult supervision.

The problem is that much of it crumbles, throwing off the pacing in the second half of the eight-episode season. sweet tooth In the race to explain disease, hybrids, and the many mysteries of Gus’s origins, the slow motion built on characters and moments goes steadily. The season also ends on a massive cliffhanger, making it feel like a prologue rather than a standalone story.

at your most confident, sweet tooth Is remarkable. The post-apocalyptic settings are so common they’re almost normal at this point; A grim, gray world punctuated by blood and gore (and the occasional zombie). sweet tooth manages to create its own space, which is incredibly inviting. I just wish that sentiment would continue into the later half of the season. When the show turns to mystery and action, it loses a lot of what makes it unique — but at least Gus is still there to help you make it up.

sweet tooth Debuts on Netflix on June 4.

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