The impressive streaming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s DC comic book has stunned audiences since its August 5, 2022 release date. It stars Tom Sturridge as The Sandman, a.k.a Morpheus or/also The King of Dreams. The show follows Morpheus through his kidnapping and subsequent imprisonment for nearly a century and the events following, wherein the King of Dreams tries to restore order throughout the realms.
Sturridge is brilliantly cast as the titular character and recently discussed his commitment to the role with Digital Spy, stating, “I wanted to build a body that felt like a creature and was true to the images that are in the comics. Which meant just kind of… It’s someone whose flesh is burnt away, and is just sinew and bone,” Sturridge said. “As far as how difficult that was to achieve — it was in the sense that it required discipline and working out and not eating that much.” Further stating his integrity and honest interpretation of the character loved by so many fans was more important to him than the strenuous workout regimen “That was weighing me down more than the weights,” joked Sturridge. Here are six reasons you should be watching the Netflix series The Sandman.
6 Comic Book Roots
The popular Netflix series is based on the DC comic book of the same name written by Gaiman and published by DC Comics. The critically acclaimed comic series ran for 75 issues from 1989 to 1996, and follows Dream, one of the seven Endless, a disjointed family of anthropomorphized forces joined by Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium, and Destruction. The Sandman is one of the few graphic novels in history to be on the New York Times Best Seller List and is widely regarded as one of the best graphic novels of all time. As if that weren’t enough reason to watch, showrunner Allan Heinberg was such a huge fan of Gaiman and the original comic series that he brought the original creator on as a collaborator on the production. The show has also been praised for its comic accuracy.
5 Thought-provoking Themes
Gaiman’s source material and the Netflix series alike examine fundamental ideas relating to the human experience, personified in god-like form. The Sandman unfolds over several realms, including heaven, earth, hell, and the dream world. Furthermore, the series explores the delicate relationship between immortality and mortality, and between good and evil. American novelist and playwright Norman Mailer once described it as a “comic strip for intellectuals” (according to CNN). Moreover, the show may be based on fantasy but the stories being told are very human. Gaiman spoke to BuzzFeed, “I guess I like to take people to things that they’re familiar with from a direction that they’re not familiar with,” he shared. “I can tell a story about two people meeting in a pub every one hundred years and talk about time, history, the evolution of humanity, and what friendship is. The stories contain real emotional truth, except they are rooted in fantasy.”
4 An Expensive Budget
At a whopping $15 million production budget per episode, The Sandman has one of the highest budgets of any TV show in history. The Sandman‘s astronomical budget allowed the series’ creators to bring to life the intricate and fantastical world of the graphic novel. Viewers will lose themselves in the otherworldly realms, hypnotic dream sequences, baroque nightmares, and bygone eras stylishly splashed across their screens. With the expensive budget, however, comes the rationalization for the budget. Meaning the show is always at imminent risk of cancelation if it falls too low in the ratings. The good news is the show has held a captive audience so far, holding down the streaming giant’s number one spot for almost three weeks straight since its release. That said it will need to retain a high rate of viewership to return for a second season and continue to thrive. With the potential for so many more stories to tell and endless potential for spin-offs, we are hoping it survives.
3 It Keeps You Wanting More
The beauty of The Sandman is how it keeps you coming back for more. With the ending of every episode alluding to bigger and better things in the next, it is impossible not to binge the series. In an interview with BuzzFeed, Heinberg admits the addictive endings were by design to keep people hooked, stating he “really wanted people to press that next episode button, so we structured the episodes as best we could to give viewers cliffhangers.”
2 The Talented Ensemble Cast
The Netflix series boasts a stellar ensemble cast of incredible actors in iconic roles. The casting of Sturridge in particular was a long process as creators wanted to make sure they chose the right actor. Sturridge tells BuzzFeed, “It took eight months to cast my part. It was an incredibly long casting process, quite aptly. As a fan of The Sandman, if they hadn’t made a long and careful decision, I would’ve been upset.”
The show also features Game of Thrones‘ Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer Morningstar, and she is phenomenal in the role. “I wanted the challenge so badly to play something very different from Brienne,” the actor explained in an interview at San Diego Comic-Con, “who I loved playing, but I want to play such a wide range of roles and the fact that [Neil Gaiman and Allan Heinberg] could see me as that character was invigorating to me. They could see something in me that would work.” The rest of the cast includes Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death, Jenna Coleman as Constantine, Mason Alexander Park as Desire, Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne, Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian, and Patton Oswalt as the voice of Matthew the Raven.
1 The Adaptation is Long Overdue
If you are a fan of the original comic, then you know that before Netflix adapted the series for the small screen, numerous attempts came before it. Over the years, scripts came and went, but nothing ever got off the ground. In the 2000s, Gaiman told Mania Entertainment, “I’d rather see no ‘Sandman’ movie made than a bad ‘Sandman’ movie. But I feel like the time for a ‘Sandman’ movie is coming soon. We need someone who has the same obsession with the source material as Peter Jackson had with ‘Lord of the Rings’ or Sam Raimi had with ‘Spider-Man’.”
The closest that an adaptation ever came to fruition before Netflix’s The Sandman was a movie adaptation in 2013 starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, however, a change of ownership from Warner Bros. to New Line, along with artistic differences, prompted Gordon-Levitt to remove himself from the project. Shortly after, screenwriter Eric Heisserer also departed, telling Gizmodo, “I had many conversations with Neil [Gaiman] on this, and I did a lot of work on the feature and came to the conclusion that the best version of this property exists as an HBO series or limited series, not as a feature film, not even as a trilogy. The structure of the feature film really doesn’t mesh with this. So I went back and said here’s the work that I’ve done. This isn’t where it should be. It needs to go to TV.” 30 years after the process began, Netflix is where it ended up, and Gaiman is optimistic about its future.