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The Sandman Review: Neil Gaiman’s Adaptation Is Quintessential

Neil Gaiman’s comic book series – The Sandman got adapted into a Netflix original series and it’s mind-blowing. Here’s all you need to know about it.

The Sandman Review: Neil Gaiman’s Adaptation Is Quintessential
Image Credits: Priyanshi Goyal

The adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s horror comic-book series was a work in progress for more than 30 years, and finally, it has arrived. Season 1 of ‘The Sandman’ came out on Friday, August 5, and follows the plot of the first two books in the series – Preludes and Nocturnes, and The Doll’s House. The book series has a huge fan base already, but the series is also receiving some good reviews from viewers. 

Netflix announced the adaptation of the fantasy series back in 2019, and on August 5 it finally premiered, ending all the anticipation of the die-hard fans. The first season consists of ten episodes with an average run-time of 45 minutes each. 

The Sandman Review: Neil Gaiman’s Adaptation Is Quintessential
Image Credits: Priyanshi Goyal

The series has received a lot of positive responses from the audience and the critics, which is an advantage with so many great horror-fantasy series already released. Not every series/movie from this genre receives the amount of love that the classics have received, but The Sandman has a lot of potential of becoming the next best horror fantasy series.  

The series is also a part of the mega-budget club joining upcoming series like House of Dragons, and Rings of Power

The Sandman Cast 

The Sandman Review: Neil Gaiman’s Adaptation Is Quintessential
Image Credits: Priyanshi Goyal

The series has a terrific star cast including Tom Sturridge as Dream/ The Sandman, Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook, Charles Dance, Asim Chaudhry, David Thewlis, Joely Richardson, Mason Alexander Park. Also, Patton Oswalt and Mark Hamill are a part of the project but only have an audio presence. 

Neil Gaiman worked along with David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg to bring this project to life. 

Storyline

The premise is set around Morpheus a.k.a the King of Dreams. He manages to escape after being held captive for 105 years and returns to his kingdom. He and his other six siblings (Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Destruction, and Delirium) are the Endless, who aren’t deities but are older to have existed as long as the universe. Individually, they are the strongest entities to have existed but together are only a normal family with a lot of petty arguments. 

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The Sandman Review

The Sandman Review: Neil Gaiman’s Adaptation Is Quintessential
Image Credits: Priyanshi Goyal

As a project that has been anticipated for about thirty years, The Sandman surely attracted some high expectations from the fans of this book series and viewers. And it does not disappoint. The story is gripping right from the first episode, immersing the audience in the fantastical world of The Sandman

It isn’t confined to one genre or era, the moment one starts predicting the next scene, it changes completely. Throughout the show, the audience is completely engrossed in the different periods and locations. This might seem like the series is madly fast-paced, but that’s what makes it exceptional.

Netflix's The Sandman Review
Image Credits: IMDb

As an adaptation, the show is faithful to its original books, to an extent that the episode names are named as per the book volumes. Season 1 is more about world-building and introduction to the characters just like the books Preludes and Nocturnes, and The Doll’s House. 

It’s safe to say that The Sandman is a delight to watch with the dark elements of fantasy and magic that are thrilling and sometimes scary. The series presents the mundane world just as much as the fantasy world. Each episode is filled with heartwarming and heartbreaking moments. 

Cast Performances 

Each character has a unique presence in the series, and each contributes equally to the story, delivering brilliant performances. 

Tom Sturridge as Morpheus and the main character brings the right amount of Gothic vibe to his character. David Thewlis as John Dee with his creepy, delusional grandeur, Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian with his acting is genuinely scary at times, and Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne with her sardonic humor, are some characters that stood out in the show. 

Netflix's The Sandman Review
Netflix’s The Sandman Review

The only characters whose screen time disappoints are Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death and Mason Alexander Park as Desire. They deserved more. 

Gwendoline Christie shines as Lucifer Morningstar and does an exceptional job even when she vaguely appears on the screen. The Lucifer of The Sandman’s universe is a complex character to play as it is a mythic creature who isn’t necessarily interpreted as vulnerable. But with a world as complex as The Sandman, Christie manages to bring a character that is not exactly an inspiring one, to be vulnerable and subtle. 

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Conclusion 

The legendary comic book series getting adapted into a full-length Netflix series is not a disappointment at all. From some spectacular moments in the series, where viewers crave more, to an amazing ensemble of cast, this series deserves a lot more recognition and appreciation. 

It might not be classic-worthy right now, but it has the potential to be one. With a gripping story done right, it is equal parts fun, thrilling and scary to watch. However, it gives the emotional side of the story equal weightage. 

For the newcomers to Gaiman’s universe, it might feel like the ride has just begun and will keep you hinged onto the show with future theories about the show. But the fans of the comic books might have had some mixed feelings while watching the show. That’s because the reading experience is always better than seeing those beloved characters come to life. 

Written By

Kiranjeet Kaur is a Content Writer and News Analyst Intern at Empire Weekly. She was born and brought up in New Delhi. She has recently completed her Bachelors in English Honours from S.G.T.B Khalsa College, Delhi University. She loves to read fiction books and write about her favourite books, shows and movies.

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