I'm often a bit under the gun in that respect because longtime readers in this space should already know my policy: I typically do not recommend properties. I'm in the business of critically assessing them; and -- as a consequence -- I've really absolutely no way to know whether a certain program might tickle your fancy or not. I can only tell you what tickled my fancy ... and that will always be the dirty little secret your favorite reviewer never wants to let you in on, peeps. We just don't know. We can tell you if it's a worthwhile production. We can tell you if it's well-acted. We can likely even tell you whether or not it worth the budget somebody spent on it. And still -- at the end of the day -- there's truly no means for us to assure you that this or that show or movie will be worth your investment, whatever that may be.
Also, as I'm not an industry insider, I can only give you my two cents about what I've seen. I used to follow a handful of other blog-like outlets specifically for some reactions of their influential folks; but after I time I started noticing that a few like-minded writers rarely dissected these shows to the point wherein they established faith to have sat through it all ... so I tuned them out. I'll pop over to those sites infrequently -- it's still valuable to kinda/sorta stay abreast of what others are doing and saying -- but I do tend to keep to myself in many ways so as not to be unduly influenced one way or another about a program.
And because I'm not as timely as others, I might not be current on the latest fad. That, too, is just part of who I am. I get it when I can, even when that means sacrificing 'clicks' in favor of being a bit more 'soulful' about my reflections.
But ... have you seen a little something something called Sweet Home?
It's out of Korea -- from what I've read -- and it's a curious little oddity if ever there were. It's up for streaming on the Netflix -- has been since December, 2020. I have read that it was only recently renewed for a second season (not sure as to the delay, but everyone and his mother's uncle should be aware of Netflix's financial woes by now so perhaps that's tied to it), so I made some time in the schedule to take in its first crop of ten episodes.
Erm ... it's a bit difficult to give an appropriate plot summary. Essentially, the world -- or, at least, South Korea -- has been plunged into a bit of an Apocalypse when it turns out that -- somehow, some way -- its people have been affected/afflicted with a virus/condition that, ultimately, changes them into monsters. The creatures are varied -- I'm pretty certain you've never seen any of these creations twice in the show -- and there are only some modest suggestions that a person's end result (of a monster) is somehow tied to their personality. It looks mostly arbitrary, but the show hasn't spent a wealth of time exploring that side of its mythology. In these episodes, it's far more an examination of these end times and how to survive it.
I'm not up on the Korean entertainment scene so far as actors and actresses go, so I couldn't assure you whether or not any of these people are known commodities on that side of the world ... but I can tell you it stars an incredible gifted ensemble of faces, young and old (but mostly young). It's occasionally similar in tone to the theatrical film Love And Monsters (2020), a feature that was mostly overlooked owed to its release date the age of COVID (meaning fewer people saw it than should have). However, Love And Monsters takes a decidedly upbeat tone on our society's predicament; and Sweet Home is largely downbeat, downtrodden, and downright dire.
What impressed me quite a bit about the show, though, was the fact that it rather efficiently mixes a variety of special effects -- some practical, some camera trickery, some animation, some even weird CGI, etc. -- to the point that it becomes very hard to predict what these storytellers might do with a nasty creature. It also rather fittingly straddles the world of regular film and animation -- I've read that it's derived from comics, but I've done very little digging to compare those apples to oranges -- with its heavy visual style; and it inevitably delivers something that very much feels like a fresh exploration into themes we've all seen before.
If there's any shortcoming to the ten hours, then I'd have to say that some of the character dynamics -- while very good -- feel lost in translation. Because this one is dubbed and subtitled (if you choose), you might find as I did that some lines of dialogue just don't work the same in English as they likely do in the original Korean. Having studied the German language at one time, my brain -- brought up on the American version of English -- often struggled to grasp foreign slang or colloquialisms because of how they're spoken informally; I can't help but wonder if that's why some lines in Korean don't resonate as importantly as the emphasis gets lost in conversion. It's a small quibble ... but I point it out because an exchange here or there was a bit confusing.
That doesn't detract from the wild ride, which I do encourage folks to take if monsters are your thing. Sweet Home has some obvious SciFi and Fantasy tie-ins, but it's largely a creature feature once it gets rolling. The terror is well constructed, the narrative keeps widening the boundaries to allow for more tension, and the fact that it's getting a second season should also be considered as a sign of quality.