It was a former girlfriend that turned me onto the Sandman comic book series, and ultimately onto Neil Gaiman back in the 90s. She had the graphic novel series. I started reading it and thought it was pretty great. By the time I read Sandman he had already co-written Good Omens with Terry Pratchett, and had published Neverwhere. Ironically, Neverwhere is the one that I skipped, not a conscious choice, it just sort of happened. At any rate, I loved the deep dive into mythology that the Sandman comic presented, and I didn't even mind the occasional horror aspects (and if you know me personally, then you know that's really saying something.) My favorite character was of course the cheerful little gothy incarnation of death. My second-favorite was Hob Gadling, the guy that Dream keeps meeting up with in the pub century after century.
After watching the Sandman series on Netflix, I was impressed with how faithful to the comic this TV adaptation was. I understand Gaiman himself was Executive Producer, so he got to see his vision put forth on screen. I loved the sense of wonder, and I loved the portrayal of Dream. My one complaint about the series was the casting of Death. It's not that I have a problem with who he chose to cast, I thought she fit the role well. I just wanted to see the cheerful little gothy death. Death is the big sister to Dream, and they're supposed to look alike. It is symbolic of the closeness of their relationship. But then again, it was Neil Gaiman who was responsible for the casting on the show, and it feels a bit presumptive to argue with the author about decisions he made over his own creation. I also did really enjoy Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine (loved her in Dr. Who) and Stephen Fry as Fiddler's Green (loved him in everything since way back in Black Adder -- especially when he played Wellington.)
I found the episode 24/7 to be particularly disturbing. I did remember reading it back in the day and not particularly liking the diner issue, but the episode I really thought about more in-depth recently. I was a little unclear whether or not John was using Dream's Ruby to command the people in the diner, or just reveal their innermost darkest desires and let them run their course like he was saying he was going to do. The line may have been crossed when they accused him, and he commanded them to put their knives down. After that things really did turn pretty dark. However, pondering that led me to consider how we all have dark desires that we repress. That led to the realization that all people are ultimately capable of all things whether for good or evil. The "Cereal" convention also made me a little squirmy, but much less so than the diner episode.
All-in-all, I was impressed with how the series turned out. If you are planning to watch it, be prepared to muscle through a couple of scenes that are definitely not kid-appropriate and might be difficult to watch even for mature adults, but all-in-all an excellent show.
Thoughts on Netflix's "The Sandman"
- Written by Brett J. Baker