Currently available on Netflix, the Sandman series is adapted from Neil Gaiman’s graphic novels. With its lavish cast, Sandman has all the arguments to be the new summer blockbuster. Is the fantasy series worth the detour?
What is it about?
After years of imprisonment, the Dream Lord begins his journey across the world to find what was stolen from him and regain his power.
Sandman, a series created by Neil Gaiman, David S. Goyer, Allan Heinberg with Tom Sturridge, Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook… Available on Netflix.
Who is it with?
It is Tom Sturridge who embodies the famous Sandman of the title, which means “sandman” in French. He is also called Morpheus or Dream (Dream in French). Throughout the ten episodes that make up this first season, he meets a variety of characters that only cross his long life.
Thus we find Gwendoline Christie, the revelation of Game of Thrones, who interprets Lucifer Morningstar, Queen of the Underworld. A character a thousand miles from Brienne of Tarth! Boyd Holbrook, who played DEA agent Steve Murphy in Narcos, also changed universes to play Corinthian, a dream created by the Dream but defies its creator.
Vivienne Acheampong plays Lucienne, the Dreamworld librarian who is a female version of Lucien in the graphic novels. Many other familiar faces appear. We can see there: Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck), David Thewlis (Harry Potter), Stephen Fry (The Hobbit) or even Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who)…
More than three decades after Neil Gaiman wrote his first screenplay for the Sandman, he is still doing it. Only the medium has changed. It seems hard to let go of The Sandman and leave The World of Dreams. And we quickly found out why by discovering the series.
The Sandman is the Lord of Dreams, which is to say that the person (in appearance at least) is responsible for what happens in our heads when we sleep. He is part of a family of characters called the Endless, each of whom is a kind of anthropomorphic personification of an abstract concept. They all have a name starting with the letter D in the original version: Damgo (Dream), Destruction (Destruction), Delirium (Delirium), Despair (Despair), Destiny (Destiny), Desire (Desire) and, of course, Death (Dead ).
They form a whole that contributes to the balance of humanity. This choice of representation, with human form, is crucial to the success – we hope on screen – of Sandman. Because it brings a human element to stories that can otherwise drift into something purely theoretical and too abstract.
The story of the series itself is more of a search for Morpheus after being imprisoned for 100 hundred years. This journey serves as an excuse to travel with a unique character. Not really human. Not really a god. It has rocked people since the dawn of time to make them dream and to make them face their worst nightmares.
Tom Sturridge is perfect in this role of a diversity, which does not respond to the traditional codes of fiction. It was not his emotions that guided him. And apart from the sulky look, they never show. The actor’s body, with a cut à la Robert Smith from The Cure, contributes a lot to the mystery surrounding the character. It is his interactions with people, his librarian Lucienne, his crow Matthew, Constantine (Jenna Coleman) or even Lucifer that allow us to understand him better.
With a pop coating and some gore scenes, all perfectly believable, Sandman differs from other series in its tone and its construction. In the middle of the season, each episode seems to have two by suddenly telling two different stories. And despite this sense of puzzle, everything is connected.
It is necessary to underline the high quality of the writing and the capacity of Neil Gaiman and Allan Heinberg to exist as a character for a short period of time. The Sandman cast is as prestigious as it is impressive, but aside from a small handful, these characters are just passing through. But everyone left their mark.
It’s an amazing journey where we don’t know where it’s going. But the important thing is not the destination, but the journey!