Indulging in the first episodes of The Sandman is like walking through Aladdin’s cave and running your fingers through all the jewels on display.
This stunning rendering of Neil Gaiman’s iconic comic book is a visual feast, and a treasure trove of stories just waiting to be uncovered.
After other books dubbed ‘unfilmable’ – Dune, His Dark Materials, even Lord of the Rings – Netflix has managed to transfer much of the comic book’s essence into a strongly scripted TV series.
The books follow the Sandman (variously called the Oneiromancer, Morpheus, or Dream) through several planes of existence – including Hell, the Dream Realm, and Earth – on a quest to retrieve stolen objects of power when They were robbed from him during the 70’s. years in prison.
The lead role is played by Tom Sturridge, in a performance that requires him to shine at all times. God forbid a smile should ever crack his stern face – although on the rare occasion it did, he warmed me enough to it.
The series pays homage to the original comics, as it should. Much of the dialogue is taken verbatim from Gaiman’s source material, while several scenes from the first volumes are recreated almost exactly in the show, requiring liberal use of CGI.
However, while most of its enjoyment for fans will come from examining the comparisons between the source and the adaptation, it is not strictly devoted to the comics, which first appeared in 1989, and some of the modern twists are mainly But come in its form. All star cast.
John Constantine, a transsexual played by Jenna Coleman as Johanna, is accompanied by a demonic caretaker. Gwendoline Christie is Lucifer. David Thales is recast as Batman villain John Dee (this is a DC comic, after all, though any nods to DC are dialed down).
The parade of stars is so thick and fast that at times, you almost want to slow things down and appreciate them, but there’s so much going on in each episode that there’s little time to stop and stare.
That said, one of the nice things the scriptwriters have done is trim the show’s many subplots and storytelling tangents, making them smarter and a little easier to follow, while also making more Adds
Some of this lands. For example, an extended sequence depicting Dream’s budding friendship with the immortal Hob Gidling manages to be both poignant and charming, highlighting Dream’s personality and evolving humanity as he All ages enjoy a drink at the same pub.
Some bits don’t work so well though, particularly an opening sequence with bickering biblical brothers Abel and Cain, which asks the viewer to invest too much, too soon. Why should I care that their beloved gargoyle has to die in order for the dream to regain some of its power? In comics, it works; In the TV series, the emotional background music failed to tug at my heartstrings.
This is likely to be a slow burner for many. Non-fantasy fans will struggle to stay invested, while those who didn’t grow up with the comics will likely need a few episodes to wrap their heads around it being completely paraded before them. Can wrap around the money you think about.
But for Gaiman purists, it won’t matter: any teething problems are occupational hazards in bringing the author’s epic imagination to the small screen. Roll on the good times: For Sandman fans, after a long wait, they’re finally here.
The Sandman is streaming now on Netflix.