10 Ways Netflix's Sweet Tooth Improved On The Comics

10 Ways Netflix's Sweet Tooth Improved On The Comics

Netflix’s Sweet Tooth is distinctly different from the original comics, and in fact, many of these changes actually improve on the source material.

10 Ways Netflix's Sweet Tooth Improved On The Comics

Although based on comics of the same name by Jeff Lemire, Netflix's Sweet Tooth has become distinctly different and unique from its source material, and in many ways, this has been a good thing for the series. Sweet Tooth is a fantastical, post-apocalyptic show following a half-human boy, half-deer hybrid named Gus who is determined to find his estranged mother. With the help of an intimidating former football player, Gus explores a fragile and tense world where he must become a hero to save his loved ones and the world.

Sweet Tooth now has two seasons under its belt, and by now, it's clear that the series doesn't mind diverging from its source material. Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth comics have the same concept and general plot as the Netflix series, however, the former is much darker, more violent, and often brutal towards its characters. From the start, Netflix's Sweet Tooth has made significant and subtle changes that have not only lightened the story, but also made it more accessible to audiences and a more hopeful and complex look at humanity.

10 Netflix's Sweet Tooth Has A Lighter, Fantastical Tone

Netflix's Sweet Tooth Has A Lighter, Fantastical Tone

The most significant and obvious change to Sweet Tooth that Netflix included was an entirely new tone. Where Lemire's comics were consistently dark, not only in content but also in visuals, the television series opted for a much lighter and more pleasant ambiance. The series is filled with bright colors, lush landscapes, and an undeniable joy that exudes from Gus, even when he faces dangerous situations. This change is beneficial because it makes Sweet Tooth available to a wider audience. Without the gore of the original comics, Sweet Tooth can be consumed by anyone, including families and children, who will enjoy the young protagonist and hopeful themes.

9 Sweet Tooth's Animal Army Expands On The World

Sweet Tooth's Animal Army Expands On The World

Along the same lines as toning down the dark material, the Animal Army is changed for the better in Netflix's Sweet Tooth. In the comics, the Animal Army is a malicious group made up of a father and his killer wolf-hybrid sons, while, the on-screen Animal Army is a much kinder alternative. The group consists of teenagers born before The Great Crumble who are dedicated to protecting hybrids at all costs. In this way, the Animal Army is not another villain, but rather, a clue into how the world changed after The Sick and how hybrids affected society. The inclusion of Bear is also a great addition.

8 The Neighbors Add A Sense Of Realism To Netflix's Sweet Tooth

The Neighbors Add A Sense Of Realism To Netflix's Sweet Tooth

In Sweet Tooth season 1, a major storyline follows Dr. Singh and his wife as they try to maintain a normal life, despite Rani having The Sick. One unique obstacle the pair must overcome is evading the notice of their nosy neighbors, who create a neighborhood watch that begins burning down houses with infected residents. This creepy plot point not only acts as an homage to Lemire's original gruesome story, but also adds a sense of realism. Although extreme, the fear of the neighbors is relatable because it shows how humans can easily gang up on each other in desperate times. This was especially effective during the real-life pandemic.

7 Jepperd's Relationship With Gus Is Better

Jepperd's Relationship With Gus Is Better

The main crux of Sweet Tooth is the relationship between Gus and Jepperd, however, in the Netflix version, it is a much sweeter dynamic. While Jepperd has a dark past but a heart of gold, the comic book version of him is not so kind. In fact, he lies to Gus and effectively sends him off to die for his own gain. Although this makes for an interesting and disturbing story, changing it for the on-screen Sweet Tooth was a good choice. Ultimately, Jepperd's kindness supports the happier tone of the series and also allows a healthy relationship to bloom between Jepperd and Gus that is more satisfying to watch.

6 Aimee And The Preserve Show The World's Goodness

Aimee And The Preserve Show The World's Goodness

While Aimee is one of Sweet Tooth's main characters, she didn't actually exist in Jeff Lemire's comics. Aimee is a therapist who opens a safe haven for hybrids after The Sick called The Preserve. While The Preserve is something of a myth in the comics, it actually exists in the Netflix version, and shows that good people do still exist in this post-apocalyptic world. Aimee is a great parallel with Jepperd, and once again, helps increase the show's hopeful, happy tone.

5 Sweet Tooth Makes Gus A Smarter Hero In Live-Action

Sweet Tooth Makes Gus A Smarter Hero In Live-Action

Though Gus is small and innocent on-screen, Sweet Tooth makes him mighty. Over the past two seasons, Gus has had to shed his sheltered existence in favor of a more dangerous and gruesome future. Though the comics seem to throw the worst possible scenarios at Gus, the protagonist has an easier time on-screen and his dark moments actually turn him into a smarter, better hero. Gus uses his curiosity and optimism to lead the hybrids, and even when bad things happen, he perseveres. This change makes him a more interesting and likable main character.

4 Dr. Singh's Backstory & Rani's New Arc

Dr. Singh's Backstory & Rani's New Arc

Originally, the Sweet Tooth comics depicted Dr. Singh as nothing more than a desperate villain, however, Netflix's Sweet Tooth gives him and his wife better arcs. In season 1 Dr. Singh is seen struggling to keep his life together as The Sick closes in on him and his family and this background makes him much more sympathetic. Therefore, Singh's descent into villainy becomes much sadder. Meanwhile, season 2 gives Rani freedom she never originally had, opening the door for her to play an integral role in the last season. These changes ultimately expand on these characters and the story as a whole, leaving the question of what will happen to Rani in Sweet Tooth season 3.

3 General Abbot Is More Complicated

General Abbot Is More Complicated

Even General Abbot, the main villain of Sweet Tooth's first two seasons gets a more favorable and complicated depiction on-screen. Where the comics painted Abbot as a totally ruthless and evil man, Netflix's version offers a more nuanced profile. Namely, Abbot wants to make the world better after The Sick and fix what had been broken. However, his desperation to win makes him lose sight of his goals, and in the end, causes him to become much more evil than he really is, sealing General Abbot's fate before Sweet Tooth season 3. This distinction makes Abbot a better, more dynamic character.

2 Sweet Tooth Emphasizes Hope Within The Apocalypse

Sweet Tooth Emphasizes Hope Within The Apocalypse

Along with having a generally lighter tone, Netflix's Sweet Tooth emphasizes hope in bad times. Although Gus's world is ravaged by illness and fear, he still manages to be a beacon of hope for hybrids and humans alike. The same cannot necessarily be said for the comics, which lean more toward despair. This message of hope is an important one, especially for audiences who, at the time Sweet Tooth season 1 aired, were in the midst of their own pandemic. Overall, Sweet Tooth's new focus on hope makes it a much sweeter and more meaningful story.

1 Sweet Tooth's Darkness Takes Longer To Set In

Sweet Tooth's Darkness Takes Longer To Set In

Netflix's Sweet Tooth doesn't totally eliminate the darkness Jeff Lemire originally created. In fact, that descent into darkness is ever present, and instead, just takes longer to set in. While the first season is buoyed by hope, Sweet Tooth season 2 has a darker side, and death and violence ensue. Furthermore, it seems that Sweet Tooth season 3 will be even more intense as Helen Zhang comes into power. In this way, Sweet Tooth has used its darkness in a thoughtful way, leading to an ultimate climax that Gus must overcome to reach his full potential.

The Sweet Tooth comics and television series may share a name and premise, but they are ultimately quite different stories. Both are great, but they offer vastly different experiences in terms of tone and plot. However, in the end, Sweet Toothis an amazing story in either form, and it's a joy that the Netflix series will continue into a third and final season.


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