Back in 2012’s Avengers, Robert Downey Jr.’s character gave Bruce Banner kind of a strange compliment, telling his fellow scientist that he was a “huge fan” of how Banner was known to “lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster.” The comment leaves Banner in an awkward place — being complimented by a famous billionaire genius superhero, but for something Banner considers a curse. Now in real life, Downey may understand a little bit about what Banner felt in that scene. The Netflix series Sweet Tooth has been afforded quite the depressing honor by The Hollywood Reporter (THR).
Last week, THR released a list of their TV critics’ pics for 2021, or what they call “small-screen superlatives.” Some of these award-less awards are the kind you’d expect — like “Most Improved” which went to Netflix’s The Witcher — while many are clearly tongue-in-cheeks honors created specifically for the TV show in question. Examples include “Most Unhelpful Spirit Guide” which went to Reservation Dogs‘ William Knifeman, “Best Supporting Accent” which went to Delco — the accent usually found in Pennsylvania’s Delaware County — in Mare of Easttown, and “Catchiest Theme Song” which unsurprisingly was given to WandaVision for “Agatha All Along.” In the case of Netflix’s Sweet Tooth — for which Robert Downey Jr. serves as executive producer — the fantasy drama was honored by being named the show with the “Most Heartwarming Pandemic.”
THR mentioned Hulu’s short-lived Y: The Last Man, Spectrum Originals’ The Bite, and the more recent HBO Max miniseries Station Eleven as contenders for some kind of pandemic related honor. The Robert Downey Jr. produced Sweet Tooth was singled out, however, as — fittingly, considering the title — “impressively sweet.” THR called Christian Convery’s Gus “adorable” and called allies like Nonso Anozie’s Tommy Jepperd “big-hearted” heroes.
Just like Robert Downey Jr.’s now signature character Tony Stark, Sweet Tooth originates in the world of comics. Rather than Marvel, Sweet Tooth comes from who the late Stan Lee often called the “Distinguished Competition,” i.e. DC Comics. Specifically, Sweet Tooth was published through DC’s Vertigo imprint — the same imprint through which Neil Gaiman brought the game-changing Sandman comics to life. Sweet Tooth was written and drawn by Jeff Lemire who — along with his own properties — has written prolifically for both DC and Marvel Comics including Old Man Logan, Moon Knight, Superboy, and Justice League Dark.
The “heartwarming” pandemic of which THR speaks is started with something called “The Sick” which takes out most of humanity and somehow leads to human/animal hybrids being born. In the Robert Downey Jr. produced series, Gus is one of these hybrids, with the antlers and ears of a deer. After the death of his father, Gus is hunted but saved by the intervention of the reluctant hero Tommy Jepperd. While at first, Tommy wants nothing to do with Gus after saving him, the boy eventually ropes him into bringing him to Colorado where he believes his mother waits for him.
THR weren’t the only ones who were impressed by Sweet Tooth. On Rotten Tomatoes, critic responses have led to a wonderful 97% score. In July, Netflix confirmed the series had been renewed for a second season.