The Sandman review: Ambitious Netflix adaptation overcomes its growing pains

Those who put it aside will be rewarded with a strong back half, but the show is yet to express a clear view on the work it is embarking on.

The conversation about adaptation is as big as Netflix the Sandman The series dominates the idea of ​​”loyalty,” which is usually one of the least interesting ways to talk about them. It condemns the new act to live in the shadow of the old task, which has the unbeatable advantage of being 100% loyal to itself, rather than allowing the two to benefit from interacting so deeply with each other. but in of sandman Case in point, loyalty provides a useful lens through which to view the successes and failures of this venture. While some structural and character changes were deemed necessary, there are lengthy sections that recreate scenes from Neil Gaiman’s comics word-by-word, or bring certain panels to life with sometimes startling accuracy. Many of these moments feel as lively as they do on the page – news that is likely to delight many. sandman Fans. However, those who do not understand may be better understood with respect to the source material, when considered solely on its own terms.

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the Sandman One begins with a mistake: in 1916, occultist Sir Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance) and his followers perform a ritual intended to capture death, and find themselves trapped Dream (Tom Sturridge) rather than. Also known as Morpheus, this primordial being is one of the endless, and the embodiment of all dreams and stories. Nevertheless, he is taken captive by mortals, first Blohard Charlton and then his meek son, for 106 years, gaining his freedom in the year 2022. From there the primary strands in the narrative, built around certain actions Dream must complete as he regains control. To dream of his kingdom. It is also episodic to some extent. Characters are picked up, discovered, and put down again. Short, meaningful vignettes are told from start to finish, though require a lot of runtime. The man who connects them all, even if not always in the role of the protagonist, is Morpheus, whose limited time on Earth has prompted him to consider changing his perspective on existence.

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Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Tom Sturridge and John Leader in The Sandman
Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Tom Sturridge and John Leader in The Sandman

Episodic storytelling is in the nature of serial comics and its greatest strength is its willingness to marginalize its title character when source material is required. TV is also episodic in nature, but watching the Sandman, it seems like a lot was written on how the tukde-tukde narrative would be translated. His already meaty role in The Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook), a sinister but deceptively charming nightmare who has escaped to the mortal world, is expanded to make him more firmly established as the season’s primary villain. When Lucifer (Gwendoline Christie)whose timing is brief at this early stage, the show practically screams that this character will return. Future season’s, The series does a great deal of cross-cutting within episodes, allowing the various story strands to develop together and feel connected before eventually colliding. These are typical of today’s TV, but the story gets entangled in its new structure. The irony is that even after all these efforts the Sandman There is also this series to fit this medium Most successful when at its most focused. Episodes 5 and 6, which are both more limited in scope and far less fragmented, are the obvious standouts that will suffice for many. the Sandman Devotees for chalking out this adaptation in the win column.

And they’re not the only reason to consider the series a win, as the show’s casting is particularly strong, treated as both an adaptation and something that should stand on its own. Holbrook delivers a compelling villainous performance that makes Corinthian’s increased screen time so worthwhile, while David Thewlis flexes his ability to keep an audience hanging on with his every gesture as the inimitable John D. The likes of Onesu Samunani make it easy for Rose Walker to root as she essentially takes over the reins in the show’s back half, while Dance and Christie make memorable appearances in their vested roles. Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death, Mason Alexander Park as Desire, and Stephen Fry as Gilbert, all feel like perfect encapsulations of the essence on the page. All of these characters handle the transition from comic to television series well and thrive in their new environments.

Boyd Holbrook and Keri Schell in The Sandman
Boyd Holbrook and Keri Schell in The Sandman

Sapna, however, struggles, and it’s less of Sturridge’s fault than the show’s decision to completely humanize her look. broody, distant, and resistant to change, the king of dreams It’s a difficult character to work hard at first, and that connection comes with time. But it is important that the audience accept him as an immortal man of tremendous power, especially because the story will undermine that power in various ways. He has stylized designs and even unique speech bubbles in the comics, and while he is able to walk down the street without turning his head, his grounded inhumanity is always visible. Sturridge’s vocal performance works to create the same effect, but when he stands there a zoolander-esque Looking like every other human being, it’s hard to take her seriously. When another character chooses to challenge his authority, the stake is much lower than that. As a result, the first few episodes of the Sandman It can be a struggle to capture an audience that doesn’t already know what’s on the horizon. Those who put it out there will be rewarded with a strong back, but the show hasn’t yet articulated a clear perspective on the work, and a potential Season 2 will benefit from taking some of the formal and creative risk-taking that made Gaiman the original. Work so special in the first place.

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, all 10 episodes of the Sandman Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix. The show has been rated TV-MA for sex and nudity; violence and gore; profanity; alcohol, drugs and smoking; And the frightening and intense scenes.

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