It took two years but a second season of Netflix’s Sweet Tooth finally arrived on the streaming service on April 27. The series, set in an apocalyptic world ravaged by a pandemic, is based on a series of graphic novels by Jeff Lemire. The first season laid the foundation for a rich and engaging tale, creating high anticipation for a second season. Now that the second season is here, let’s take a look at its ability to build on the first season.
One of the things I liked most about the show’s premiere season was that it didn’t feel like a comic book-based story. The characters were realistic and more movie-like than comic book-like. That all changed in the second season as the vibe of the show changed gears from realistic to comic book-ish. From over-the-top characters to borderline cheesy computer-generated imagery special effects, the show now gives off an aura much like the film “Series of Unfortunate Events.”
One of the most comic book-like characters is General Abbot, played by Neil Sandilands. Every aspect of this character is as if he stepped off one of the comic books’ pages. I’m not sure if that’s evidence of Sandilands’ acting excellence or a switch in the creators’ vision for the show. Either way, it didn’t work for me because it seemed to veer away from the first season’s basis.
In this world, the majority of humanity has been eradicated by a disease known as “The Sick,” and women start giving birth to “hybrids,” who are part human, part animal. Some people look at the hybrids as abominations, beings to be kept in captivity and, eventually, eradicated, too. Others feel a propensity to protect the hybrids. Therein lies the conflict for the various groups of humanity that are left.
In Season 1, Gus—who’s part human, part deer—was the only hybrid shown on screen until late in the season when Wendy, a half-human, half-pig girl, shows up. Both of these characters, though physiologically abnormal, came across as believable. However, in Season 2, a large group of hybrids are part of the show, most of which look like computer-animated cartoons. For me, this made the show less believable and disengaging.
What made Season 1 of “Sweet Tooth” work so well was the dynamic between Tommy Jepperd (Nonso Anozie) and Gus (Christian Convery), who were unlikely partners in a quest to find Gus’ mother. The two complemented each other well as they navigated the challenges of wandering across the mountainous regions of the U.S. In Season 2, the pair rarely interacted with each other and, when they did, the magic of their partnership was gone, though the storytellers tried to recreate it late in the season, which was too late.
While these changes ultimately killed my fondness for the show, there was at least one good thing about Season 2.
For instance, General Abbot, who leads a group of people who want to exterminate the hybrids, struggles to deal with the splintering of his peoples’ commitment to his cause, most notably his brother, Johnny (Marlon Williams). For me, this was the most engaging storyline of Season 2—not to mention Williams’ nice rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” in the season finale. (Notice I said the season finale and not the series finale. Yep, Season 3 is on its way.)
I wish I could say Season 2 moved the story along nicely, but it didn’t. The story after Season 2 is pretty much in the same place that it was after Season 1.
In a nutshell, if you enjoyed Season 1 of Sweet Tooth, you should at least watch Season 2 out of respect to the first season, just don’t expect too much. Hopefully, Season 3 will get the show back on track.
All episodes of Sweet Tooth are streaming now on Netflix.