The Sandman, a seminal comic book plot from DC Comics authored by Neil Gaiman, has earned comparisons to Alan Moore’s “Watchmen” in literary circles. Similar to “Watchmen,” Gaiman’s narrative was deemed “unfilmable” because, according to the argument, it was not created to be told across comic book panels like other superhero comics and would not work effectively on a screen of any size. Moore’s admirers were split by Zack Snyder’s respectful adaptation of “Watchmen,” which some criticised for being a touch too accurate. Moore rejected the adaptation outright. The Sandman on Netflix, which has Gaiman’s blessing, does deviate a bit from the legend, but mostly stays loyal to the story of Morpheus and that is all that matters.
For those who are unfamiliar with “Sandman,” the plot centres on the eponymous character, also known by the names Sandman, Morpheus, Dream, Lord of Dreams, and so forth. The most common image of him is that of a skinny, pale guy in his 30s with shaggy, spiky hair, however he can seem in different ways to different individuals. One of the seven Endless, a race of ancient creatures that stand for various facets of the human experience, is Morpheus. The others are Despair, Despair, Desire, Delirium, Death, Destiny, and Destruction.
Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance), a British black magician who intended to call Death, his sister, rather than Dream, captures Dream at the opening of the narrative. The magician constantly asking the Dream to raise his kid from the dead despite the fact that he has been imprisoned in a glass cage for decades. However, the Dream doesn’t or is unable to. When Burgess passes away and his son takes over, Dream continues to ignore his requests. Meanwhile, Dream’s departure from his domain has serious repercussions in the actual world.
For instance, all but one of those people died without ever waking up since they were unable to awaken from their slumber for decades. Dream eventually makes his way free and exacts his revenge. Then he sets out on a mission to find his stolen tools, repair his collapsing empire, and establish order. He runs into a lot of intriguing people along the road.
Netflix series honours its source material
The writing in “The Sandman,” the Netflix series, honours its source material while happily avoiding the worshipful tone that brought down Snyder’s “Watchmen.” The creators are aware that some elements of the comic book series have not held up well over time because it was a product of its period. The programme thoughtfully connects with its underlying material while also adapting it. Additionally, since the “Sandman” tale is so vast in scope, the writers wisely pick and select what to include.
Casting fits well
Another factor that raises Netflix’s “The Sandman” is the casting. It fits well. Even the adjustments fit the plot well. Because it is so fantastic, Tom Sturridge’s portrayal of Dream as a depressed guy makes it seem as though the character we know from the comic book pages just stepped into the real world. The depth of the casting is quite astounding. David Thewlis has an episode of his own that is set at a restaurant (readers will know what I’m talking about), and it is actually better in the show. David Thewlis is usually wonderful in everything but particularly the parts of disagreeable men and rejects from society.
In a few episodes, Stephen Fry portrays a verdant heaven-like locale within the domain of dreaming, and it would seem that the programme would suffer without him. As Lucifer, Gwendoline Christie is both majestic and awful. Johanna Constantine, played by Jenna Coleman, has all the characteristics you’d associate with a Constantine: sass, sarcasm, intelligence, resourcefulness, and of course the trademark trenchcoat. As a vibrant, upbeat counterpoint to her melancholy sibling, Kirby Howell-Baptiste portrays Death with big eyes and larger grins.
The Sandman is not flawless, despite everything. Moving the ‘current’ chronology from the 1980s or 1990s (as in the original novel) to 2022 (or a close approximation) is a strange option that clashes with a few parts of the plot. Due to its release in that time period and the presence of several components that exemplified popular culture over those two decades, “Sandman” became what it is today. Moreover, I worry that the programme might not be particularly beginner-friendly. Although not all of the show’s inclusion of the story’s complex mythology will be confusing to viewers with only a cursory knowledge of “The Sandman,” there is still plenty.
The Sandman is mostly a dream come true, especially for someone who has been a die-hard follower of this tale for a very, very long time.
The finest show of the year thus far is “The Sandman.”