First Impressions: Netflix’s SandmanThe Dark Herald
Netflix’s adaption of Neil Gaiman’s has finally dropped on Netflix. Sandman was the comic book that put Gaiman on the map as a writer. It did so well that DC started its Vertigo line of adult-oriented comic books in the Nineties. It isn’t hard to make the argument that Sandman led to the 1990s revival of comic book shops after the eighties crash.
The original series ran from 1988-1996. Its graphic novels routinely hit the New York Times Bestseller’s list and it had numerous spinoff series along the way.
The series follows the story of Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams. The Sandman. He has various…uh… Well, I can’t call them adventures, not in any serious way. He went to Hell a couple of times and eventually cut the wings off of Lucifer so he could abandon his job and get a TV series. Mostly, stuff happens around Dream, and he kind of notices it.
Gaiman was allowed to incorporate several moribund DC characters like Cain and Abel from the House of Mystery and the House of Secrets line of DC horror comics. The original Sandman Wesley Dodds was grandfathered in and got his own Vertigo title for a while. Destiny who was always portrayed as being chained to the Book of Destiny became part of Gaiman’s pantheon, the Endless, they were not really gods, but sapient anthropomorphic personifications. Bluntly, he stole the idea from his friend Terry Pratchett.
If you haven’t read it, you have to have heard about it or you wouldn’t be hanging around a comics blog.
Sandman has been in development hell for a quarter of a century. There have been numerous attempts to turn it into movies over the years. The usual suspects were attached and then unattached as the thing couldn’t get off the ground. The fact is that a film adaptation was going to be too expensive for the size of the audience it was going to bring in. Netflix snapped up the rights the last time they became available and credit where it’s due, Netflix can actually get something made once they commit to it.
However, there was some controversy around this series. There were numerous gender and race swaps and when the cast photo was released their preferred pronouns were prominently displayed. Most went unremarked but there was one that caused a shit storm.
It only came to my attention because I and a few others on the right were being accused of being mean to it. I didn’t care in the least but I Iifted an eyelid and sniffed at the issue. The people who were Big Mad at Netflix’s Sandman were pissed because Death was race swapped. Death of the endless was a very popular character and even got her own series. And if you were into cute goth chicks in the early nineties then she was probably your waifu before waifus were *cool. So, I guess I can understand if not care in the least about it.
I did give Sandman’s first episode a look.
It seems to be closely following the Preludes and Nocturnes storyline with a few minor changes thrown in here and there. In that story, Dream is captured by some Society of the Golden Dawn types during WWI when they are trying to capture Death. All kinds of bad things happen because of this. Eventually, Sandman escapes so the story can happen.
Charles Dance played the haughty and evil Roderick Burgess, so no problems with casting there. Motives were slightly different in this version than in the comic book. Burgess wants his eldest son brought back to life. He loathes his other son for some reason. In the original story, Young Burgess becomes a mirror image of his father. In this version, Young Burgess has the Gay, which automatically makes him a good, if troubled soul. He even has a black “traveling companion.” Possibly this takes place in Bridgerton’s world a hundred years later because these 1920s-type folks are remarkably diverse and inclusive for the British upper crust of that period.
In the comic book, Morpheus escapes due to Young (but by 1988 old) Burgess accidentally scuffing the containment circle. In this version Burgess’ “lifelong friend” deliberately scuffs it. There are a bunch of little changes like this. I don’t know if this was just Neil Gaiman doing some editing thirty-four years after publication or if these changes were injected by the showrunner to make Sandman a little less byzantine.
The acting is good. No complaints there. The guy playing Morpheus is a little off but since there is no way to play that role “on” I am forced to overlook his performance. Charles Dance is always a treat to watch as a villain.
Gaiman’s prose is on point, which is what people really want from this show. I think it’s fair to say it feels like Sandman.
Is it Woke?
HA! HA! HA! HA! (*gasp…wheez…gasp*) HA! HA! HA! HA!
Is it Woke? Do eggs come from hens? Does Disney make shitty Star Wars? Is water wet? Is the Pope Catholic? (okay, forget that last one) Do the Cheneys hate Donald Trump?
Yeah, it is in fact Woke. No surprise because…
Sandman. Has. Always. Been. Woke.
I freely admit that I would have no business reviewing this thing at all if it wasn’t for the fact that it is comic book based. This thing is not and never was for us. In all honestly, I won’t be writing a Recommends for it because this is not our circus, not our monkey. We have no business being anywhere near it. This one is all theirs. It is the property of the Wokelings paid in full. It was made for fat, purple-haired Tik-Tokers with more genders than neurons. And it was written for them before there was ever a Tik Tok. Neil Gaiman is bluntly a Gamma male who is very much stuck in the middle of the SJW piranha school. He reliably attacks people who thought he was their friend up until the second he proved that he never was. He thinks these people are his audience and he has actively courted them. Although somewhere inside he knows that one day he will swim straight when the rest of school turns right. That is the day they will suddenly turn on him and tear him to pieces like Orpheus.
Neil Gaiman lives in secret terror of his audience.
He is right to do so.
Okay, I’m done here.*Waifus were never cool. Just so you know.