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TV Series Review: The Sandman (2022 Netflix) *No Spoilers*

The Sandman One Sheet
I've heard from multiple sources, who read comics, that The Sandman series of comics (or maybe graphic novel?) written by Neil Gaiman is both influential and considered classics. As I'm not a comic book reader but someone who appreciates films and TV shows based upon characters and stories from comics, I decided to check the Netflix series, The Sandman, out.

Going in, I knew this show wasn't really my thing. It's kind of fantasy/horror (not much horror but definitely leaning that way). I like fantasy and anything that explores dreams as something other than fleeting visions, but it all looked too serious and gothic emo for me.

Season one could easily be broken into two halves. In the first half Morpheus (Tom Sturridge), the personification of dreams, is captured by a mortal wizard, spending decades in captivity before escaping to recover his 'tools' and reclaim his realm. In the second half Morpheus finds himself at a loss and looking for purpose.

To be honest that's what I thought mid season too. The show kind of reaches a finale mid season, and I was left wondering what were they going to do for the remaining five episodes in terms of the story?

Fortunately it does come together, and I found the second half of the season to be more interesting than the first.

With that said, whatever captured people's imaginations in the comic books, wasn't really doing it for me here. I found the first four episodes slow going, not helped by Morpheus' permanent pout as a substitute for any kind of real emotion. I know the character is meant to be cold, controlling, and distant but he's the lead character, who's pushing everyone, including the viewer, away from him.

It wasn't until episode five that anything really hooked me into the show in a way that I wanted to see the next episode. Up until this point it was mostly Morpheus looking for his stuff. It's all fine and world building but that's about it.

Episode five is the first time the show really dives into any character's head to explore their inner thoughts. This episode goes all in, exploring almost every character you see in detail. We see how their lives intertwine and their different perspectives of each other. It's a great episode.

From then on it was a case of wondering if the show could top that episode?

Fortunately it does in episode six exploring the question of immortality and whether anyone would really want to live forever? This episode was further enhanced for me because it actually reflected my own stance on whether one would be happy with immortality, as it kind of played out the pros and cons.

After that bridging episode the series finally goes into its home stretch proper with a new threat for Morpheus to resolve, while he deals with wayward demons and other unforeseen issues.

By the end of the series, I will say it was, overall, a good show. It's well acted, with great production values, and a satisfying conclusion. It's just those first four episodes, while they aren't bad, there's just not a lot there to really hook you in. Not helped by Morpheus actively keeping everyone out of connecting with him.

You could almost skip straight to episode five but there is some crucial set up in those first four episodes, so... if you do find them slow, push through. Episode five onward really pays off.

The TV series doesn't really convey to me why the comic books are considered so highly? I could read them I suppose, but I don't even read Batman comics (and he's my all time favorite character) so why would I read The Sandman? I'd say I'll add it to the queue but again, there is no queue. I don't even read comics for characters I know and love. (Sorry Neil. I would watch a second season on Netflix though).

Netflix released a bonus episode eleven a short while after dropping the first ten episodes. The episode contains two stories, neither of which add much of anything to the first ten episodes. Unless they're quietly setting up something for season two, they just play as two additional Sandman stories outside the narrative of what you've already seen.

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