The Complete First Season review by Bobby Blakey
As a comic fan I am fully aware of Neil Gaiman’s run on Sandman from 1988-1996. There have been numerous talks about a film and other options for the character but not much movement until 2022 when Netflix picked up a TV series adaptation from Gaiman, David Goyer and Allan Heinberg. The new series stars Tom Sturridge as Morpheus/Dream, Boyd Holbrook as the Corinthian, Patton Oswalt as Matthew the Raven, Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne, David Thewlis as John Dee, Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine, and Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer Morningstar. Could this show do this iconic comic run justice or should it all remained a dream?
The Sandman follows Morpheus, also known as Dream, who is captured in an occult ritual in 1916 by Roderick Burgess. Imprisoned for 106 years, Morpheus escapes only to return to his home, The Dreaming, to find his nightmares have also found their way out. Join the adventures of Morpheus as he sets out to stop the forces of evil destroying The Dreaming.
Although I have read some issues and one of the more current stories I am not fully invested in the world of The Sandman. Stepping into this series I have no specific context other than some the character knowledge and visual likenesses so my review will be solely based on this series alone. I know there are probably a lot of elements changed for this show as is the usual case in these projects, but for the things I am aware of I think it did a good job bringing it all to life. I was hesitant in starting this show when it originally premiered as I thought it might just not work, but I stand corrected and loved this first season.
It uses the premiere episode to set the tone of everything to come while
still being impactful and a really good introduction into this world. It allows the novice to step in right out the gate and not need to know anything and allows it to unfold and give the viewer the knowledge it needs. The visuals and tone of it all really sucked me in and got me invested and ready to see what chaos and creativity would be to come on Dream’s journey.
The cast are all great with Dream himself in a constant state of engagement. Tom Sturridge is fantastic in this role in all his stoic goth beauty. Every time he is on screen, I feel like you could feel his anger, pain and despair that he has wrought on himself and others. As the series pushes forward, we are constantly introduced to a variety of fun and sometimes creepy characters that help to evolve these stories and worlds to vast places and visual treats.
I really loved this show more than I expected. It’s main story of the vortex has its ups and downs, but the overall show is fantastic. I love this world and it has gotten me more interested to possibly revisit the comic source material to learn more about it all while waiting for another season. There is just so much here to explore that I hope it manages to get a long running order in the future.
Some of the best episodes are those focusing on the smaller picture of various characters as opposed to the bigger ongoing tale. There is one specific focusing on Dream and Death that is just so good and brings more depth to them all. The final episode of the season is a bit weaker as it offers up a couple of random stories not fully connected to the bigger story. They are still great, but didn’t have the initial impact of the rest of the series for me. It’s still cool that both these shorter tales and the rest of the ten episodes before it are all adapted from actual issues of the comic and further expanding the world it entails.
Enter the realm of dreams and grab your copy of The Sandman: The Complete First Season available now on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Bros.