The Sandman is a slow burner to begin, but the show has stuck with me and the more I think about it, the fonder I become.
Written by Elliot Lines / August 11, 2022
Neil Gaiman's 1989 The Sandman comics have long been in the frame to be adapted onto our screens, deemed the un-adaptable, film-makers have pitched ideas for films and TV series but none have ever got any concrete traction, until now. With Gaiman himself behind the project this new Netflix series which focus' on Morpheus (Tom Sturridge), the king of dreams. Dream is captured in an occult ritual in 1916 and after being held captive for 106 years, escapes and sets out to restore order to his realm, The Dreaming.
You can understand why this has been such a difficult adaption from the start. When your main character isn't the most charismatic of people you wonder how this series is going to last. But The Sandman isn't just about the king of dreams, its about the people around him, the ones affected by his absence. Sturridge gives what seems a very wooden performance, which brings the seriousness to Dreams character, at first it seems a struggle but as the series grows so does his performance on you. You're introduced to an abundance of characters throughout the series, all of which have their roles to play. They are used in a clever way to bring this story together, and all are likeable in the roles they play. We'd be here all day talking about them, but a few to note are certainly John Dee (Davis Thewlis), Lucifer Morningstar (Gwendoline Christie) and The Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook).
The Sandman gets off to a slow start, seemingly needing more to continue the interest, but the reward in going to the end is high, once this whole series wraps up. The pace to begin with is clearly to set up this world, making sure the viewer doesn't miss a thing. By doing that you get an understanding of what is lost, and what is trying to be restored. Where the series really ramps up is episodes 5 & 6, these episodes alone are worth watching the series for, seemingly a break in the story, but there is a relevance they bring to understanding the high stakes that are at play here due to Dreams absence.
These comics are filled with intricate ideas that may not translate too well to screen, but the way in which this series showcases these ideas proves the connection the show-runners have to the source material. There is a moment when Dream and Lucifer are set to fight, where a normal show would use this as an opportunity to have a big battle scene, this is a war of words. Now this may sound boring, but the way it is presented makes it tense right from the beginning. Each of these moments and scenes feel like they come right of the page (a few story changes aside), and these complicated ideas are why this has felt so un-adaptable over the years.
The Sandman is a slow burner to begin, but the show has stuck with me and the more I think about it, the fonder I become. It could quite easily be one of those I re-visit in a years time and could brand it a masterpiece. But at this current time, the intrigue in this world has grown and what we we're presented on screen was highly enjoyable, especially those two middle episodes.