By Braeden Pelton
Being an avid “Sandman” and Neil Gaiman fan, I’ve been impatiently waiting for the release since the series was announced a couple of years back. After two watch-throughs, I can, with certainty, offer a well rounded review for the new Netflix adaptation.
I can’t say that this will be without bias as the comics are among my favorite graphic novels, and I adore the Audible version as well. The Netflix series was able to showcase this amazing story with minimal changes.
“The Sandman” series focuses on a being called Dream of the Endless. Dream and his siblings (the other Endless) are personifications of different concepts (such as: Death, Destiny, Destruction). Dream is captured by a group of mortals set on catching his older sibling Death. Despite not getting the Endless they wanted, they take his tools (his helm, ruby, and bag of sand) and imprison him for a century until he can make his escape.
During this time the tools he uses for his work are stolen, and his realm, the Dreaming, decays. His absence also causes others to experience strange illnesses related to dreams. Some are unable to sleep, while others enter a coma state for the duration of his imprisonment.
Netflix has season one focused on this story (volume 1 of the comics) along with the second volume “The Doll’s House” and does an excellent job doing so. There are minimal changes made to the original story, with the few changes being adjustments for copyright issues with DC Comics or needed updates from adapting a comic from 1988.
The cast is amazing, and most of the characters are portrayed as accurately as they could be without infringing on copyright. Tom Sturridge as Dream and the rest of the Endless cast were chosen perfectly, with the only large changes being Donna Preston (Despair) with her costume. Despite some appearance changes each character is represented as an exact replica of their comic counterparts, with the best depiction, in my opinion, going to Mason Alexander-Park as Desire.
Some of the similarities are uncanny, such as Goldie the Gargoyle and its owners Cain and Abel. The story of Episode 6, “The Sound of her Wings” is nearly identical to the comic story and is absolutely gorgeous. Death and Dream’s conversation is the exact same, all of the scenes with Hob Gadling also use most of, if not all of the exact dialogue.
Now it isn’t completely perfect, but that is to be expected, there are a few adjustments that didn’t need to be made. Rose Walker’s personality was shifted to be a little less mature, Dr. Destiny isn’t quite as evil as he should be, the way Dream accesses the dreams of others is also changed but these are all forgivable.
I’m overjoyed that Gaiman waited for someone to come along and do this right. It may have taken 30-plus years but it was well worth the wait. Netflix did a great job making this. The show easily takes a top spot for my favorite shows of the year, and I cannot wait for the next season. I encourage any drama, fantasy, or DC Comic lovers to explore the world of the Sandman, whether it be the show, books, or any other form. I give the show, like its other installments, a 10/10.
You can view the trailer here. The Sandman comics are also available for free on Libby, and if you want to learn more about them check out my review here.