Netflix’s television adaptation of The Sandman, Neil Gaiman‘s critically acclaimed comic book series about The Lord Of Dreams and the denizens of The Dreaming, the realm we all spend our time in when we are asleep, is finally available on the streaming service. I had written an article when the announcement was made in 2019. Though not a fan of binge watching, I watched all ten episodes on Friday. If you have not yet watched it, and were wondering if the series was good, take it from someone who’s been a fan of the comic book series since 1989, this is an excellent series. And one of the best adaptations of a comic book that you can ask for. It adapts the comics first two storylines, “Preludes And Nocturnes” and “The Doll’s House”.

Of course there are changes that were made from comic book to screen, but these things always happen for one reason or another. So, let’s go ahead and get the changes out of the way.

John Constantine is not in the series, replaced by Johanna Constantine (using the original pronunciation that Constantine’s creator, Alan Moore, intended. ConstanTYNE, rhyming with “MINE”), played by Jenna Coleman. This is the descendent of Lady Johanna, who also appeared in the comics. Warner Brothers apparently has plans for John Constantine, so the character was not available to be used. They did include Mad Hettie, that pleased me to no end.

We Won’t Say No To A Spinoff Featuring Johanna, Either

Martian Manhunter, Mister Miracle, Arkham Asylum, and Scarecrow are not featured during Morpheus’ quest for his ruby. This was a decision of Neil Gaiman and the other showrunners, so, no, this is not part of the DCEU. Etrigan The Demon was not the demon who took Morpheus to Lucifer’s palace, at least I don’t THINK that was supposed to be Etrigan. John Dee, played by David Thewlis, was NOT Doctor Destiny. Hector and Lyta Hall are featured, but not as the superheroes Sandman and Fury. A variation of the Silver Age Sandman costume is featured, but not in the context readers of the original comics remember.

In the comics, Dream has pale skin, black eyes, and wild hair. Contacts, make up and wigs were tried, but the look was not right. In the series, Dream’s eyes do go black on occasion, when he’s using his powers.

These changes, and a few I didn’t mention, did not change the tone, atmosphere, or overall story of the series. It would’ve been cool, though, from a geek perspective, to have seen Martian Manhunter seeing Dream as the Martians saw him.

There were some scenes that were lifted straight from the comics. Examples include, Dream and Death’s conversation in the episode “The Sound Of Her Wings” and when Dream was in Hell and saw his former love, Nada, who he banished there three thousand years ago, we saw Dream as she saw him.

The casting of the show, they got right, even if changes were made.

Tom Sturridge was perfect as The Sandman/Morpheus/Dream. His voice in the series seemed to be how I imagined the character would talk as I read the original series. Watching him from episode one to episode ten, this actor WAS The Sandman.

There were some not happy with a black woman cast as Death. All I cared about was that the right person was cast. Kirby Howell-Baptiste is that right person. Death’s attitude, humor, her compassion, Kirby embodied the character quite well.

Spoilers For The Episode. Watch At Your Own Risk

The twins, sisters of Dream and Death, Desire and Despair were also featured. Donna Preston as Despair was only seen briefly. Mason Alexander Park as Desire had a few extra scenes in the series, and their performance was exactly how I imagined Desire.

As for those who serve Dream, Lucienne the Librarian was portrayed by Vivienne Acheampong. Yes, a female playing a character that was originally male, but playing the character quite well. Cain and Abel, from The First Story, are portrayed by Sanjeev Bhaskar and Asim Chaudhry, respectively. Though, Bhaskar looked nothing like the Cain in the comics, he had the character’s mannerisms down pat. Chaudhry was spot on as Abel.

When I found out Patton Oswalt was cast as the voice of Matthew The Raven, I thought to myself, “Brilliant casting.” Matthew is a favorite Dreaming character to a lot of fans, and they would also be pleased. Another favorite character of mine is Mervyn Pumpkinhead. He appears in the series, voiced by Mark Hamill, Jedi Master and Voice Over Artist Extraordinaire.

Another casting that, like the casting of Death, got a few unhappy was that of Lucifer Morningstar. Some were upset that Tom Ellis was not cast, seeing as how his series was based on the comic book that was a spinoff of Sandman, others were upset that it was a woman. First, if you read the Sandman comics, you would know that the perfect person to play Lucifer would have been David Bowie, who is no longer with us. Second, as in my opinion on the casting of Death, the right person needed to be cast in the role of Lucifer. Hate to disappoint those who were against the casting, but Gwendoline Christie was great in the role. And with her wings, her height went from 6’3″ to about 7′, easily.

The Corinthian, the season one villain, was played by Boyd Holbrook. Some felt that making the character the season one villain didn’t make sense, especially since he wasn’t featured in the first storyline of the comic, “Prelude And Nocturnes”. But, it did make sense. Dream left his realm to find and return the Corinthian, but was captured by Roderick Burgess, played wonderfully by Charles Dance. Corinthian had to ensure that Dream would not escape, then did a little assisting to John Dee, before taking front and center in the final four episodes of the season.

I could go on about the rest of the cast, there were so many great performances in the series, Vanesu Samunyai as Rose Walker, Ferdinand Kingsley as Hob Gadling, and Razane Jammal as Lyta Hall but I will point out one great performance, Stephen Fry as Gilbert. It’s Stephen Fry, I think that speaks for itself.

Netflix spared no expense on this series. The production values was top notch. The look of The Dreaming, the pits of Hell, the sets, the costumes, the music, the song choices. Everything about this series was as close to a perfect adaption as you can get. As I mentioned, the changes made did not deviate from Neil Gaiman’s original storyline in anyway. Within it’s release on Netflix, the show was the number one show on the service in 80 countries. Here’s hoping Netflix give the greenlight for more seasons. It was considered unfilmable for the longest time.

Plus, We’ll Get To See More Goldie

If you are a fan of the original comic book series, you’ll appreciate what Gaiman and the others have done with this series. If you’re new to the characters, give the show a watch, then check out the trade paperback collections of the original series.

Dream’s Palace In The Dreaming

All ten episodes of The Sandman is available for streaming on Netflix.

Sweet Dreams.

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Gary DaBaum
Gary DaBaum

Gary DaBaum, SCIFI.radio DJ, writer, and all around nice guy, can be heard on SCIFI.radio. He’s also on Twitter: @GaryDaBaum.