TV Review: The Sandman (Season 1, 2022)

Released onto Netflix in 2022, The Sandman is a fantasy series written by Neil Gaiman (Good Omens, American Gods) based on the DC Comics series of the same name and tells of Morpheus (Tom Sturridge), the personification of dreams, who finds himself captured by an occultist in the early 1900s. Supporting characters include: The Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook), a nightmare who escapes in Morpheus’ absence; Johanna Constantine (Jenna Coleman), a gender-swapped version of the DC Comics character John Constantine; Rose Walker (Kyo Ra), a young girl with a mysterious connection to Morpheus, and; Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), Morpheus’ sister, and the personification of death. Numerous supporting characters appear in single or several episodes.

+ David Thewlis is fantastic as the character of ‘John Dee’, and he is the cornerstone of my favourite episode of the series, unsurprisingly also my favourite part of the comic. Boyd Holbrook is clearly having fun as The Corinthian and Ferdinand Kingsley are also lots of fun in his half-episode appearance as Hob Gadling. Charles Dance is great in his limited early role, as well. I enjoyed Death, but was very displeased with her appearance (though not entirely for the obvious reason)

– the filming effect; don’t even try to use the word ‘dreamlike’ to me, because it just made Dream himself look distorted, or that my TV was broken. I appreciated some of the fun angles, but more often than not I spent my time figuring out why everyone looked so deformed
– specifically in regards to Constantine (Coleman) and Lucifer (Gwendoline Christie), why not use the actors you already have? Matt Ryan would probably love a chance to play a real version of John Constantine, not the watered-down CW version, and it absolutely would not have been too difficult for Tom Ellis to be Lucifer, showing how he came to be the version from his own show. More generally, Morpheus doesn’t even have his signature pitch black eyes; Death is not a goth like her comic self, and is missing her facial tattoo. I obviously would have preferred Death to more closely resemble her comic version, but more pressingly, why was it only Death that was changed, amongst the Endless siblings?
– worst of all, the show is just so boring. Only episodes 5 and 6 really stood out in any meaningful way, and they were the ones that told condensed stories (and not coincidentally, my two favourite stories from the comic. A small detail which is hinted at in the comic before a fun reveal is instead given away in its first mention, which just seems to intentionally go against the original comics, and the series goes out of its way not to mention Batman, Arkham Asylum, The Scarecrow, etc.

> much has been made of Sturridge’s being best friends with Robert Pattinson, and Sturridge even looks like Pattinson at several moments throughout this show. I don’t know if it would have been better with Pattinson playing Morpheus… unless anyone can bring back Peter Steele to be Morpheus? He was always my dream casting
> It was really difficult to choose screenshots for this, as the timespan of the series is a decade-ish at least, and hundreds of years at most, depending on how deep you want to go into it all

Should you watch this show: I read the comics a very long time ago, and frankly didn’t really ever consider them being made into a proper live action thing. Single issues (such as 24/7, my favourite) have been made into fan films in the past, and I enjoyed those more because they were closer to the source material. It’s a shame the casting of Death received such backlash, because I think that was the least of the shows worries. Don’t bother with this, unless you’re already a fan, but temper your expectations.


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