By Ali Gue
When you first enter the domain of the Dreaming in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman on Netflix, you’re thrust into a fantastical landscape that quickly fades into a very real depiction of England. The transition between fantasy and reality is smooth and hints at the weak boundaries between the different realms as the season goes on.
Tom Sturridge from Velvet Buzzsaw plays a pouty-faced main character known as Morpheus, the lord of dreams. The character is quiet yet powerful, his greatness hidden beneath a lithe form. The show largely follows Morpheus on his quest to get back onto his feet as ruler of the Dreaming after being held captive by humans for over a century. This includes diving into subplots with multiple characters, both good and evil.
The cast is filled with other well-known faces from the entertainment industry, including some talented newbies. For example, fans of Narcos will get a kick out of seeing Boyd Holbrook (“Steve Murphy”) as a disobedient nightmare named the Corinthian who has mouths for eyes. For those who enjoy Harry Potter, David Thewlis (“Remus Lupin”) is a human named John Dee, and his wickedness is sure to make you experience a bit of unease. Then, there is Rose Walker who is played by Vanesu Samunyai, a new actress in the television scene. At the age of 21, her portrayal of a distressed young woman with unknown abilities is quality work.
Despite the magical elements of The Sandman, the subplots featuring characters like the Corinthian, John Dee, or Rose Walker gave the show the feel of a common procedural. The Sandman is somewhere in between the masterfulness of Game of Thrones and the cheesiness of Supernatural. It’s a realistic standard, and after the success of Gaiman’s Good Omens adaptation, it is expected.
There is often worry over a show or film that features a large cast with an equally large reputation, but The Sandman does not disappoint. Whether you’re a fan of Gaiman’s comics or just interested in a new show to watch, this is worth your time and will end the tiring hunt for a new show to binge. And yes, I would recommend watching more than one episode before drawing any conclusions about the show.
Helpful Hint: If you’re not interested in a surplus of violence or sex, skip episode 5.