Netflix has been bombarding the scene for the stay-at-home entertainment seeker for the past couple of years now. With the onset of the pandemic and ensuing lockdown, that trend practically skyrocketed as the ambitious streaming platform has been churning out series after series, each with arguably varying degrees of success and mostly limited to one or two great seasons. It’s almost as if Netflix is casting as wide a net as possible, in all directions, to see what sticks. “Sweet Tooth” appears to be the latest success story to drop on the streaming platform as it made landfall on June 4, 2021.
A Fantastical Reflection of Our Reality
This fantastical series is set in a world that has been ravaged by a virus that has collapsed global economies, turned society on its head, and turned the landscape into somewhat of a dystopian future. “The Great Crumble” as it has been dubbed, is the quaint nickname given to this cataclysmic event – a little on the nose, but what more can you expect from a child-oriented family show. Fair to say it is not too far off from our own reality,which has been the case since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
The show does however stray away from the cliché of making the apocalypse the center of attention and gives us something else to focus on – Hybrid children. That’s right, it feels like this was just shoe-horned in there but the audience finds itself immediately fixated on the protagonist, Gus (played by Christian Convery) who is one such hybrid deer-boy.
The Breakdown: Spoilers Ahead!
The plot revolves around a series of parallel stories that seemingly appear unconnected, other than the narrator telling us that they are in some mysterious way. The story begins with the ‘Great Crumble’ and a young Gus and his father (Will Forte) making their escape from civilization and into the wilderness of the great Yellowstone National Park to get as far away from the chaos as possible.
We then follow the young deer-boy as he grows up like a hermit, isolated from the outside world and completely on his own, until one fateful day the outside world finds him in the form of poachers trying to kill hybrid children. This conflict leads to the death of Will Forte’s character, ‘Pubba’ This brings our attention to the other issue that plagues this world, the mass genocide of children. The show draws excellent contrasting themes that speak volumes to our modern predicament.
It highlights a generational divide as well as a racial one, quite literally, as the rest of the world (grown-ups mainly) blame these hybrid children for the spread of the virus. With this being the case, the last of the full-blooded adult humans, aptly named ‘The Last Men’, hunt down these children to secure their own supremacy in nature’s pecking order.
The rest of the show follows Gus and a traveler named ‘Tommy Jepperd’ (Nonso Anozie), who saved him from poachers after his father’s death. The duo makes their way across the country searching for Gus’s mom, a scientist who created Gus, and the virus that destroyed the world. To say that things were complicated for our deer boy is putting it mildly.
An Existential Question beneath the Surface
What initially seems like just another fantasy plot, gives way to something more as the show progresses. The show’s sci-fi elements aside, a strong sense of nature vs. man rings clear throughout the series. The question of ‘what do we do if nature decides it no longer wants us?’ arises.
At the end of the day, humans are like any other species living on this blue ball and we can go extinct just like them. A concept, that the show has no problem highlighting amidst the themes of adventure, fantasy, parental identity, loss, and of course the good old, coming-of-age scene.
All in all, it was a strong first season and with audiences clamoring for more, a second season is most likely going to drop, but not before June of 2022, as per reports by Digital Spy.
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