Neil Gaiman’s Sandman may have finally got the adaptation it deserves. The Sandman, a Warner Bros TV Production, premiered on Netflix this Friday, depicting Tom Sturridge’s Lord Morpheus, one of the seven Endless, being captured in an occult trial and then escaping after a century, only to go on a quest to restore the realm of Dreaming.
The show is based on Neil Gaiman’s 1989-1996 comic of the same name published by DC Comics. It follows the tale of one of the seven Endless, Dream, also known as Lord Morpheus, who was summoned and imprisoned in an occult ritual in London in 1916.
After a century away in the waking world, Dream’s realm, The Dreaming, has gone to ruin. Morpheus sets on the path to retrieve his tools of power, remake his realm, and restore peace in the waking world where the sleepy sickness has taken over a million humans in his absence as Nightmares and Dreams run amok in the world.
Efforts to adapt the comic have been going on since 1991, but Neil Gaiman has thwarted all such productions to avoid bad attempts from ruining the sanctity of the fantasy comics.
The closest the story came to getting adapted was in 2013, with Joseph Gordon-Lewitt as director and lead actor for the film. But it remained stuck in development hell till Netflix signed a deal to go ahead with a TV series in 2019, and now it’s finally here!
The show stars Tom Sturridge as Lord Morpheus/Dream, Boyd Holbrook as Corinthian, Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne, Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer Morningstar, Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death, Mason Alexander Park as Desire, Donna Preston as Despair, Sanjeev Bhaskar as Cain, and Asim Chaudhry as Abel.
The first episode starts in London in 1916, where Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance) commences a ritual to capture and imprison Death to bring to life his dead son. But instead of catching Death, one of the seven Endless, he gets her brother Dream.
Dream’s captivator keeps him as a prisoner for over a century and enjoys wealth and prosperity while the rest of the world suffers from sleepy sickness, due to which over one million people have slipped into comatose patterns or sleepless lives.
Roderick’s son Alex wished to free Dream once if only he cooperated, but Dream did not accept his mercy, for Alex had killed his raven, Jessamy. Even after Roderick’s mistress ran off with Dream’s tools that Roderick had taken from him, leading to a spat between father and son where Roderick is accidentally killed, Dream still did not give Alex what he wished.
Only after Paul, Alex’s partner, makes a deliberate slip to free Alex of Dream’s psychological torture does Dream get the inch of wriggle room to use the dreams of the guard to escape.
He returns to his realm, where his loyal subject Lucienne, who was the only one who had waited for her master, welcomed him. But Dream’s momentary happiness upon finally returning to his kingdom is soon shattered when he lays his eyes upon The Dreaming in ruins.
The first episode, titled “Sleep of the Just,” of the ten-part series, ends with Morpheus declaring that he will rebuild The Dreaming again. But to do so, he must take back his tools from the waking world and regain his power. And thus ensues his adventure!
The Sandman premiered with a good start with captivating performances, and an intriguing story with mystery and danger lying ahead. The show is sticking close to the comics, apart from Lucien changing into Lucienne (Vivienne Acheampong), but the CGI needs work, as does the score.
But for now, The Sandman poses a good possibility of turning into a magnificent adaptation of a literary masterpiece. Viewers should give the show a chance, and it will definitely deliver with Corinthian’s evil plan, the appearances of the other Endless, and more.
About The Sandman
The Sandman is an American fantasy drama TV series based on the 1989–1996 comic book written by Neil Gaiman and published by DC Comics. The series was developed for Netflix and is being produced by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television.
The first season adapted the first two comics in the series, Preludes & Nocturnes and The Doll’s House. In 1916, Dream, the king of Dreams and Nightmares and one of the seven Endless, is captured and imprisoned after an occult ritual. After being held captive for 106 years, he escapes and sets out to restore order to his kingdom of The Dreaming.
The Sandman stars Tom Sturridge as Dream, with Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook, Charles Dance, Asim Chaudhry, and Sanjeev Bhaskar in supporting roles.