Successfully adapting the impossible after 30 years

For a long time, he seemed to try to adapt Neil Gaiman, sam kiethY mike dringenbergThe seminal comic The Sandman it was almost impossible. From the scope of its settings to the eccentric nature of the story, it was hard to imagine The Sandman boiling down to a two and a half hour movie, even with our modern theatrical movies clocking in at nearly three hours, was too much to fit. And Gaiman has stated many times in the past that he was offered adaptations and he turned them down almost all of them. But, now in the age of prestige television and TV shows that seem more like long movies, The Sandman can finally flourish from page to screen.

In this adaptation, while the general soul of The Sandman is intact, it is clear that there have been some changes and readjustments to make television more compelling and with the combined efforts of Gaiman, David S. GoyerY allanheinberg. For one thing, the story has been reordered, featuring some of the most interesting stories and characters in comics. the corinthian (Boyd Holbrook) plays a major role in this first season even though his character remains largely contained to his own arc in the comics. John Dee (david thewlis) is also revamped, estranged from his ties to DC Comics and giving him a more substantial relationship with his mother Ethel (Joely Richardson).

the corinthian sandman
Image via Netflix

One of the biggest successes of the series is that it manages to give the titular Sandman, aka Morpheus, a bit of personality and identity. tom sturidge it manages to capture the character as the cipher that he often is, but not one that is unaffected. From his interactions with kyo ra‘s Rose Walker to her conversations with her trusty librarian Lucienne (Vivienne Acheampong), we often catch glimpses of the emotional potential that Morpheus has.

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For those who are not familiar with The Sandman comedic, the show has a lot of heavy lifting to do. It has to introduce you to the unique universe in which the story takes place, make you understand who the Endless are, what a dream vortex is, what Morpheus eats, and tie together the myriad of metaphors and motifs that run throughout. In most respects, the show is successful. Although “Preludes & Nocturnes” and “The Doll’s House” are separate arcs, the show demonstrates how easily the two can be intertwined with relative success.

the death of the sandman
Image via Netflix

Between strong performances from Sturridge and Acheampong, Holbrook gives a fairly nuanced performance as Corinthian, a suitably monstrous nightmare who is a favorite among serial killers. Thewlis, too, like John Dee, is creepy and subtly menacing, and his episode “24/7” is easily one of the best episodes of the season. Filled with tension and anxiety, Thewlis is a spider like John Dee, spinning his web and watching his victims blindly fall into a trap.

used less effectively gwendoline christieIt’s Lucifer Morningstar. Although Christie is physically perfect as the fallen angel and ruler of Hell, there are not enough to work with and what should have been a standout episode, “A Hope in Hell,” ends up flopping. Though Tom Elliswho technically plays the same version of the devil as the one from The Sandman recasting his role was considered, it is clear that it would have been a mistake. One can only hope that with more screen time, Lucifer will be as interesting a character as Dream in future seasons. The same can be said of Jenna ColemanIt is Joan Constantine. While she has all the enthusiasm and charm of the character, she sometimes feels like she is leaning into the character too much, making Johanna feel more like a caricature than a fully formed occult detective.

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the sandman lucifer
Image via Netflix

Although the season is packed with talent, from mark hamill a stephen fry a Charles Dance, the story feels quite contained. Aside from the sixth episode, which feels more like a bottle episode than anything else, it’s a smooth transition from Dream’s search for her ruby ​​to her investigation of the dream vortex. For “The Sound of Her Wings”, the sixth episode, it is difficult to decide if the episode is enjoyable or if it is trying to connect two stories that have nothing to do with the combination. We meet Dream’s brother, Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) and take us on a journey with Death as he helps people transition to their afterlife. From the elderly who have lived full lives to the young whose time is short, Howell-Baptiste delivers an emotional performance in an episode tailor-made to make you cry.

From there, we move on to Dream’s friendship with Hob Gadling (ferdinand kingsley), which also makes for an exciting story as we see Dream move through the ages (in a varying number of outfits that scream Hot Topic, in the best way). While both arcs demonstrate the Endless and her relationship with humanity, they don’t mesh perfectly and the episode itself feels like two completely separate stories because that’s what it is.

Ultimately Netflix The Sandman is a worthy adaptation of the original source. It will likely inspire modern viewers to revisit the comic, one that was very progressive for its time, and clamor for more of the story. The first season barely touched on Dream’s controversial relationship with her siblings Desire (mason alexander park) and despair (Donna Preston) but leave enough crumbs so that we are hungry for more. Although Netflix hasn’t confirmed a second season, talk of the series seems to see it as inevitable, and that’s a very good thing.

Grade A

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