When the King of Dreams returns to his realm after decades of imprisonment in the human world, he finds that his realm has crumbled and his power has diminished. Soon he must return to the waking world to recover his possessions and restore his power over his subjects.
This review relates to season 1
I have read all of the Sandman comics some years back and I loved them enough that I might even want to add them to our Collection at some point. However, one of the drawbacks of the comics is that they are not very accessible: with thirteen volumes, buying all of them will cost over a hundred euros, and so not many people that I know have read them. Therefore I was excited to hear that Netflix was working on an adaption, as it might bring the story to a bigger audience.
However, as with any adaptation I was also a little worried: the Sandman is a pretty complex story, and I expected it would be hard to do it justice when translating it to the screen.
When I watched the first episode, at first I did feel a little disappointed. The dialogue seemed overly dramatic, and somehow it gave me the feeling of a bad Doctor Who episode (and not because Jenna Coleman was in it). I felt I just could not take it very seriously. However, as we got further into the show this feeling passed, and I started to recognise some of the elements that made me enjoy the comics so much. Just like the comic books, it does not try to overexplain things: it trusts the viewer to accept that they will not understand everything at once. Instead it is happy to just throw around some puzzle pieces and to leave them lying around for a while. I think this is one of the greatest strengths of the story, because by the time everything comes together you will feel like you have traveled a long journey.
Overall, I think the show does a very good job. The casting is great, and the creators have managed to set a tone that feels true to the comics. The next seasons will feature some of my favourite stories, so I am looking forward to that!
This review relates to season 1
I knew Robin was super stoked about this show so I watched it immediately as it came out. I haven’t read the comic but I am a fan of Neil Gaiman’s work, so let’s say I wasn’t worried about whether I was going to like The Sandman.
On the whole, I really enjoyed it. I kind of wish we’d spent a bit more time in the Dream world, but this was only season one so perhaps we will see more of it one day.
You can definitely see that The Sandman is not based on a novel. The pacing is a little strange, presumably because it was based on several issues of a comic. I think if I hadn’t known it was based on a comic I would definitely be complaining about the narrative arc. If you are aware of the story’s origins, however, it’s definitely less frustrating to try to understand how it is structured.
I really liked the characters and found it a bit of a shame that, because of the nature of the source material, we only spent a couple of episodes with some of them.
The main villain was less interesting to me. I’m not usually a big fan of villains, unless I can find a reason to really empathise with them. The bad guy in Sandman is very much just Evil with a capital E, so pretty boring to me.
Can’t wait for a second season, though! I may even read the comics one day.