Thoughts on “The Sandman” Series
Posted on August 8, 2022 Posted by John Scalzi 42 Comments
I’ve now watched all ten episodes of the first season of The Sandman on Netflix, and while I absolutely cannot be unbiased in my opinions about the series in any way, because a) Neil Gaiman is a friend of mine, b) Netflix is the service where I have been extensively involved in a series (Love Death + Robots), and have a movie currently in development (Old Man’s War), I do have some observations that I don’t think are out of line to note to you all. Please be aware that this post assumes you have some experience with/knowledge of The Sandman series, in both the comic book and the television iterations, and also, that you do not mind spoilers. If you don’t have the former, this piece may not make much sense, and if you do mind the latter, you should probably read no farther than this.
So noted, my thoughts, in no particular order.
1. Up front: I enjoyed the series quite a bit, and I strongly suspect I would have even if I did not know Neil personally. But as I do know Neil, I am also pleased that the version of The Sandman which has now been committed to television is one that he was both happy with and actively involved in. It’s an open not-so-secret that Sandman’s journey to screen has been filled with twists and turns and takes on the character and property that had almost nothing to do with the things Neil wrote into the series. The screen version of The Sandman deviates from the comics, sometimes significantly, but the emotional gestalt of the series is the same, and the variations have less to do with someone else new trying to “improve” the text by adding to/deviating from Neil’s work, and rather more to do the practical considerations of condensing down two full graphic novels worth of story (“Preludes and Nocturnes” and “The Doll’s House”) into one ten-episode series, and also, updating a three-decade-old property into 2022.
It mostly worked well for me, and the small quibbles I may have had with the adaptation were not nearly enough to affect my enjoyment. This is screen adaptation done well, with the involvement of a creator who has done enough film/TV work prior to this to be involved not just usefully but essentially.
2. The one thing I was particularly happy to see in the Netflix version of the story was the near-complete ejection of the DC Comics hooks in the “Preludes and Nocturnes” part of the series. I understand why they were there in the comics; The Sandman was a legacy character, and when the series started out, there had to be some obeisance to the DC machinery. Thus, the appearances by Martian Manhunter and other “mainstream” DC characters. But here in 2022, Neil’s Sandman is the Sandman. The story he tells in this arc does not suffer one whit from the removal of the traditional DC elements, and given the chaotic state of the DC cinematic and TV universe at the moment, there’s no benefit whatsoever trying to tie this series into any of that. If I had ever been given The Sandman to adapt (which to be clear was never offered, nor would I have taken it when Neil was right there all that time), punting the DC elements would have been job number one for me. So I was personally pleased to see my instinct here was a good one.
3. The best thing about the series is the cast, which is, down the last and least character, incredibly well-selected. Again, I have to think that this was substantially due to Neil being actively involved, although I have no detailed inside knowledge about this (you may assume for the purposes of this piece that I did not speak to Neil in any great detail about the production side of things, and have no special knowledge I’m trying to sneak in here).
The casting is impressive enough that I can say that Tom Sturridge as Dream is possibly the weakest bit of casting here, and he’s friggin’ perfect in his role — beautiful and haughty and a real hot mess who has the emotional intelligence of a sulky teen, but is who also, you know, trying. When I say Sturridge is the weakest bit of casting, it’s less about Sturridge — again, friggin’ perfect — than it is about the character of Dream himself, who is a cultural icon (so any actual human in the role would be deeply judged) and who in the context of the story is strongly defined by his relationships with and reactions to other characters. The role of Dream suffers, in other words, if other roles are not well-cast.
And again, the series nails these, and the way you know it’s nailed them is the fact you want more of almost all of them than you get on the screen. The most critical of these were the two of the other Endless that play a substantial role in this season, Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) and Desire (Mason Alexander Park). Neither of them is onscreen long — Howell-Baptiste is there for one episode, while Park is in there less than ten minutes across across several episodes — but when they were there I couldn’t take my eyes off them. Howell-Baptiste is deeply warm and empathetic and draws out Sturridge’s best acting, and Park — well, Park has the devious fucktoi energy the role needs and then some. In the case of both of these performers, there was some performative outrage by shithead bigot “fans” when they were announced in the roles, because Howell-Baptiste is black and Park is non-binary. Well, these “fans” can go fuck themselves, not only for technical reasons (i.e., canonically the Endless are seen differently by everyone anyway, depending on their cultural and personal opinions on what an anthropomorphic representation of their respective concept should be, so their wholly insincere “argument” is invalid on its face) but also because these performers are just so damn good.
Indeed, there is quite a lot of casting in the TV series that is different from what it was in the comic book series, notably Johanna Constantine rather than John Constantine, but also the characters Lucienne, Rose and Jed Walker, and Lucifer among several others. I assume these were done for varying reasons and again all approved by Neil, who I quite reasonably consider the final word on these matters. And, once again, all the performances are grand. So, yeah. I’m more than fine with the changes to the characters in the original text; in the TV series, they work.
4. On the subject of changes to the original text, I was really curious how the series was going to handle the “cereal convention” section of the comics, and in particular the character of Fun Land, who is definitely a child murderer and probably also a pedophile (I can’t remember at the moment if the latter is spelled out in the comics). In the comics Fun Land’s fate is, uhhhhhh, rather more charitable than I personally would have had it be. The TV series deviates from that in a manner I personally found more satisfactory.
That said, that change was one of the few where the TV series pushed forward with violence/gore/unsettling revelations relative to the comic rather than pulled back. The TV Sandman felt largely PG-13ish with occasional sallies into soft-R territory (excepting the “24/7” episode, which has as much gore as you might like — although even that is scaled back from the comic), while the comics dipped rather more heavily into gore and body horror, which is easier (and cheaper!) to portray in drawings than in high-quality special effects. This isn’t a negative in my opinion, and in any event the TV version doesn’t have a problem going hard when it makes sense to go hard (again, “24/7”), but if you’re coming from the comics, it is noticeable.
5. Others have noted, and I agree, that season one of The Sandman is actually two smaller seasons: The five episodes that are “Preludes & Nocturnes,” the four that are “The Doll’s House,” and the mid-season breather that is essentially “That Bottle Episode With Death and Hob Gadling.” Of all of these, the least successful is the second half of the bottle episode, not because it’s not done well or is uninteresting, but because it’s a bit out of sync with Dream’s emotional arc in the TV series (the actual story represented happens later in the comics than it does in the TV series). It’s a bit of fan service, and Hob Gadling is important to the story later; the TV folks might have reasonably decided that Gadling’s tale would be difficult to insert later, so might as well do it now. These are the decisions you make when you have to make sense of a decade’s worth of comics.
Speaking of which, this is going to be an interesting needle for the TV series to thread: So much of comics version of The Sandman are stand-alone stories that involve Dream and the rest of The Endless to some extent, but aren’t about them so much as the universe the Endless inhabit and shape. In many ways The Sandman comics are an anthology series, and some of the most beloved stories there have little to do with Dream directly. How to incorporate those stories and still tell Dream’s overall tragic and triumphant narrative arc? Will they be incorporated at all? The ending of the first season suggests there will be some skipping ahead in the comic book narrative, which makes sense to me. I have no idea how this all will be handled, but I’m curious to find out.
6. If I have one criticism of The Sandman series that I would want to share here, it’s one that’s largely technical: I’m not 100% sure The Sandman benefits from what I call “The Netflix Look,” which is a certain grade of visual presentation shared in common with a lot of Netflix product, in no small part due to Netflix having specific imaging and production requirements. Netflix ostensibly does this to make sure everything they bring to the service has a certain level of production clarity. This is laudable most of the time, and also means there’s a certain baseline look that becomes recognizable the more you see it; all that clarity adds up. I think The Sandman could have benefitted from, well, a little more murkiness and grain and a more film-like presentation — an emphasis on atmosphere rather than sharpness.
This is entirely a personal aesthetic choice relating to these specific stories, mind you, and one I think other people can argue with. I will note that in general I think the look of screen entertainment shouldn’t be chained to technical legacies like, say, 24 frames per second, just because that’s the way it’s always been done. If you have a larger toolbox, use the whole damn toolbox. But if you do have a larger toolbox, try to use the best tool you have in there for the particular task at hand.
7. Would I recommend folks watch The Sandman? Yup! After three decades, it has a screen presentation worth watching, and one its creator is personally proud of. These two things don’t always align, but they do there, and that’s a nice thing. I’m looking forward to the next season, too. I can’t imagine the series won’t get another one at this point.
Thanks for sharing this write up…it is exactly what I was hoping to hear. I dropped my Netflix subscription shortly before this series was announced, and I’ve been debating getting it back temporarily just so I can watch.
Man, also, both the writing and particular Boyd Holbrook’s acting are amazing – he is disturbingly charming (in fact his ability to charm is a lot more unsettling than his eyes)
I ended up liking this more than the comic, which, to be clear, I liked a lot. But this smooths out most of the stuff that I bounced off a bit with the original.
Isn’t Desire the original nonbinary character, from before that became a thing? People really shouldn’t complain about that one in casting.
I think it’s a triumph but must agree on point #6. The opening credits are cool, but disappointing after the brilliant Good Omens animations. Is it Bridgerton or Sandman? The closing credits have some Dave McKean-esque art which is what I would have preferred to see. So happy to have an updated version though! And quietly chuffed by the reception it’s getting.
Loved it, especially The Sound of Her Wings. I’m old enough that the thought of death is not an abstraction, and I realized watching Kirby Howell-Baptiste that if I could hold her hand when I go, I would not be afraid.
That said, I’m not following what the take on Lucifer was supposed to be doing here. (I admit to being a fan of Tom Ellis’ Lucifer.) I believe Gwendoline Christie was doing she meant to do, extremely competently, but it was the one part where I stopped being immersed in the world and started thinking about the acting/role. Would enjoy hearing what someone else loved about her portrayal.
If any character should have a non-binary actor, it would be Desire.
I also have been very much enjoying the Sandman, but I do have to say that the biggest negative has nothing to do with the production but with Netflix’s ludicrously heavy compression. They spend all that money on fx and fine acting but the bitrate on the stream is so low — even on my 350megabit connection and state of the art equipment — that in many scenes the actor’s faces are unreadable blurs. This is a well noted Netflix problem (where they cheap out on bandwidth to an enormous degree) and can noticed by how much faster Netflix episodes download than other providers.
But other than that I agree, there are some very fine casting and performances here, and overall it manages to convey that particular stylized tone and feel quite successfully. It has that characteristic mix of horror, erudition, fantasy, and sardonic humor that is very Gaiman — although in this particular adaption the humor doesn’t always press through with as much clarity (although it’s still there in a more subtle way).
Commenting on my previous remarks: I just looked it up and the closing credits are not “McKean-esque” they are in fact designed by him!
The outdoor scenes with Dream and Death are were I really felt like “The Netflix Look” was unfortunate. Still, I’ll take it–their rapport was enough for me to be content.
Often I’m not a fan of shift of character ‘look and feel’ from original source material, but having read Gaiman’s take on why he chose the actress for Death (her acting and general ‘feel’ were considered perfect for the role) and the absolutely correct point JS makes that the Endless’ ‘look’ is variable depending on who they are dealing with, I think that this is absolutely fine in this particular case.
What’s more, I think it’s important to realize that, of course, not everyone is going to ‘see’ death as a skinny, pale goth chick with an Ankh. That would make zero sense to virtually all human cultures throughout history!
In fact, I would venture to say that the ‘look’ of the Endless in the comics is only consistent for storytelling purposes. If Death (or Dream, or Desire, etc.) looked different in a bunch of the scenes the comic would be unreadable. We are visual creatures after all, and we would have no idea, possibly for some pages, which characters were interacting until we could pick them out by the context of their speech.
That might have been neat to, perhaps, do for one issue but other than that it’s completely impossible from the standpoint of ordinary humans being able to enjoy the story.
Looking forward to checking this series out.
I saw the Hob Gadling part of the Death episode as showing that Death’s message to Dream had been received. Morpheus stormed out of the pub at the second to most recent meeting at the suggestion that he might desire the companionship of a mortal.
After being trapped for a century, and after Death’s admonition that the Endless exist for the people and not the other way around, Dream went into The New Inn saying that he didn’t want to keep a friend waiting. A line direct from the comic, but coming much later in the series, required the reader to recall earlier events. In a TV show, it made sense to not leave as large a gap. My 2 cents.
It’s been a very long time since I last read the comics; with that proviso I felt that the heart of the television series was true to the comics, or rather, the emotions evoked by the comics.
I have criticisms of some aspects; the costumes were for the most part OK, but rarely more than ok. And, in my opinion, whoever designed Lucifer’s costumes could have been strangled at birth, and increased the sum total of human happiness thereby.
But, having watched the entire season in one enchanting sitting, I shall now take a leisurely stroll through it. I am already wondering how many more years it will take for the next season to arrive…
I’ve finished the first arc of the show, and don’t entirely agree with your assessment on some particular points:
-I don’t feel that Sturridge is the perfect Morpheus – I think he should be gaunter and paler, and his voice does not have nearly the richness that MacAvoy brought to the role in the audiodrama. He’s not bad, but he could be better.
-Patton Oswalt, on the other hand, takes me completely out of the story every time Matthew opens his beak. This is partly because he is congenitally unable to sound like anyone but Patton Oswalt (as opposed to, again, the audiodrama Matthew, who is in no way readily identifiable as Andy Serkis), but also because – super saiyan comics nerd objection – he’s completely the wrong actor to be cast as Matthew Cable, the Swamp Thing character who becomes Matthew the Raven after his death.
-I have issues with a number of the adaptation choices made for the script:
Removing the grafted-on DC elements makes sense, but doing so leaves unresolved the question of how John Dee, with the powers of Morpheus’s ruby to draw on, ended up in a private mental hospital to begin with, if he wasn’t put there by the Justice League. (And while the amulet provides a convenient plot MacGuffin for Ethel’s lack of aging, no one seems to have made an effort to explain why John doesn’t appear to be nearly a hundred years of age.)
The choice to have Lucifer instead of Choronzon battle Morpheus in Hell makes no sense whatsoever – the plot requires Morpheus to win that battle, but it’s not remotely plausible that Lucifer loses it. (Also, while Gwendolyn Christie looks fantastic as Lucifer, her performance is far too emotionally involved for my taste; Lucifer should be removed from concern about the situation, apart from a certain amusement. It’s hard to square Christie’s Lucifer with the existentially-tired resigning-his-post Lucifer of the hopefully-forthcoming “Season of Mists” arc.)
What was the logic of destroying Gregory? The original text provided a perfectly good alternative: Cain and Abel’s letters of commission from Morpheus. And yes, destroying Gregory sets up Morpheus to gift egg-Goldie to them, but in the comics, that egg is a gift to Abel from Cain, and that change flattens the emotional complexity of their relationship.
That said, a lot of the other adaptation choices were good ones, particularly where elements of the original story were problematic by modern standards, and most of the rest of the casting was spot-on: I particularly liked Vivienne Acheampong’s Lucienne, and I would watch the shit out of a Constantine spinoff with Jenna Coleman. (Get on that, Netflix!) And whatever my personal feelings, I’m glad that we finally have a Sandman adaptation on-screen, and especially that so many people love it.
I have no sympathy for people who whine about race/gender swaps because “original” and I think Kirby Howell-Baptiste did a very good job. But I’m still a little disappointed about Death not being cast as a white goth girl, since she is Dream’s near-twin and mirror image.
Would Gaiman have chosen to not make all of the Endless white if he were writing today instead of 30 years ago? Probably. Would he have written Death as a black girl, at least with the kind of characterization he used in 1989? Somehow I doubt it. It just feels like a “needs representation” casting made by the suits instead of an internally consistent reinterpretation.
I’m happy to be convinced otherwise, though, as long as the argument doesn’t involve obvious but irrelevant points about how the Endless are fictional and can (and do) have different appearances.
Holy information dump, Batman! As always thanks for your insider-ish perspective as well as for your fellow-fanboy enthusiasm. Viewed the first episode last night (we’re not much for binging, two episodes at a time is our limit). I loved it all and was super excited by the preview section at the end. Gwendolyn Christie!
Only downside is that I’m going to have either borrow my brother’s collection again (300 mile trip) or plunk down for a full size edition to re-read for myself. I’ve read it once more than a decade ago but many scenes stay with me. As I recall the comic art was wildly uneven from issue to issue so one benefit of this series will be visual consistency. And I have to say that when Neil came up as Executive Producer in the credits I gave a cheer, happy to know that we can expect the entire series to live up to the awesome opener.
Regarding changes to character ethnicity, gender relationships, etc., my response is a) didn’t bother me. It’s not like they inserted a network marketing ad or something, and b) if you didn’t like some elements there’s plenty of entertainment product out there that won’t trigger you so go enjoy that why don’t you? You want to see a Sandman production done the way Stephen Seagal would have produced it? Fine. Go right ahead. See ya.
The success of this series (after so many years in development hell) is particularly timely given all that’s happened with DC/Warner Bros this past week.
Here’s hoping they see Sandman as a lesson or inspiration for the way forward with comic properties.
@ James Kakalios: “After being trapped for a century, and after Death’s admonition that the Endless exist for the people and not the other way around, Dream went into The New Inn saying that he didn’t want to keep a friend waiting. A line direct from the comic, but coming much later in the series, required the reader to recall earlier events. In a TV show, it made sense to not leave as large a gap. My 2 cents.”
In the comics, there’s no gap either: Morpheus storms out on Hob at their 1889 meeting, and then delivers that line when they meet in 1989, on the next page.
Sorry, I wasn’t clear. I meant a gap between Death’s conversation with Dream, and the Hob Gadling story.
As someone who hasn’t read the comics / graphic novels, I can say it’s quite enjoyable without having done so. If I missed various fan service, that’s fine. There weren’t any points where I was confused.
I’m not going to read the originals. I read comics badly. I tend to focus on any text and miss important info in the artwork. I could probably learn to read them better, but it would be a good deal of work and there are lots of regular novels out there. I’m glad to have the Netflix series to see some of what people were raving about.
I think there was some degradation in that they made the Corinthian a villain trying to stop Morpheus, but there were for sure episodes that were perfection. And Death and Desire were perfect. No notes. Perfect. Perfection. Desire Desire’s self could not make me want anyone other than Mason Alexander Park to play Desire. My quibbles are petty fanboy ones (every book ever written, not never written?) and I look forward to more seasons
I think my biggest criticism (and it amounts to a nitpick at most) is that I wish the writers and director had taken a page from Satoshi Kon’s “Paprika” animated movie. That movie is, to this day, my “gold standard” when it comes to excellent dream sequences.
It embraced the illogical logic of “dream logic”, where the image of a thing IS the thing; for example, at one point Paprika is being bothered by some guys, so she leaves, does a little hop, and is gone. Another guy heading toward the camera gets close enough to see that on his shirt is a picture of another street… a street that Paprika is now standing on. It’s a superb sequence.
I wish The Sandman series had done similar things. Like using the picture of Jed’s and Rose’s old home as the way to get to that home without needing a gate.
@Scott Martin – I believe one of the reasons for having Dream take Gregory was to shock the audience and make it clear, later on, that he’s not messing around when he says he’ll do what he has to do Rose to keep the Dreaming intact.
24fps is on my list of things to fix if I ever get a time machine. In my splinter universe it would be 30, TV in PAL regions would have been 30/60, and the International Fixed Calendar would have replaced the Gregorian one between World War 1 and 2.
My time travel fantasies are particularly nerdy.
I struggled at first with Johanna instead of John Constantine, but especially in the context of what you said regarding getting rid of unnecessary DC baggage, she makes it easier to separate the two. And I instantly liked her portrayal. I would have been fine with John (and even the actor who played him in the various tv series), but it would have made this just another part of the DC tv universe. I like it better as a stand-alone.
But I’m still a little disappointed about Death not being cast as a white goth girl, since she is Dream’s near-twin and mirror image.
She’s not, though. “Sleep is Death’s younger sibling” is a trope that long predate the Sandman, and I presume is why he wrote Dream and Death of having the close big sister/little brother relationship they do.
Making Death be a while goth girl would make her anachronistic in 2022. Back in the original series it was a fresh and stylish take. It isn’t now.
The only thing that really annoyed me about the presentation was Lucifer’s wig and costume, which, sorry, were more “high school theater production costume for Lucifer” than the beautiful Morningstar. Other than that, the cast is superb. I don’t think you can do better than Mason Alexander Park for “walking Patrick Nagel fucktoi but also terrifying”.
(Also, yes, Fun Land was pretty explicitly a rapist in the original comics. Some of the ickier EC horror stuff is not missed.)
Any concerns at all about the “Netflix Look” with regards to production of OMW?
Fair point about goth not reading the same in 2022 as in 1989, but Dream is goth too, just as much now as then.
Pretty sure that yes, they made it explicit that Fun Land was a pedophile. I also got the strong impression that all the “collectors” were going to meet very unpleasant ends once Dream had dealt with Rose Walker. He simply was waiting until later.
Yes, Desire was very much portrayed as what we’d now call non-binary. I was delighted when I saw that the show cast an appropriate actor instead of either an androgynous woman or a skinny man with goth makeup.
Death looking like someone other than Chrissie Hynde pleases me greatly because a) it’s 2022, not 1992, and b) anyone who’d license her most famous song to Rush Limbaugh for his entire career has some serious issues. YMMV.
I’ve only watched the series through episode three so far, so I haven’t seen how they do the Hob Gadling intro. But it’s not really from much later in the series; “Men of Good Fortune” was published smack in the middle of the Doll’s House arc, so it’s part of this “first season” set of stories.
I suspect it. may have been published where it was as a schedule consideration, and it might fit equally well into the Season of Mists set. But it’s still an early story..
In terms of Morpheus’s emotional development, I’d say it belongs after the Nada introduction and “The Sound of Her Wings.” I haven’t yet seen how much space they give Nada on TV, so I guess I’ll find out whether I agree with you on how well it fits — I think (having not seen it) that it would probably benefit from being its own episode, and have “Tales of the Sand” interwoven with “The Sound of Her Wings,” but if they only had ten episodes, they only had ten episodes.
I’m looking forward to seeing the rest, though. Except maybe not looking forward so much to “24/7,” which was the issue that made me stop reading the series back when it came out, and return to it when I got comp copies of the DOLL’S HOUSE collection and “Calliope” on the same day, and decided to give it another try…
I’m gonna wait to have it greenlit before I start worrying about that. There’s a time and place for everything, and it’s not yet the time or place.
Great review. It’s on my list to watch and am now looking forward to it.
I’m still worried about point #3. Change race/gender that has no real driver in the story? don’t care. A John v Joanna doesn’t really change the basic character personality of Constantine (if Neil had written Joanna, it would be the same story).
My issue is – personality changes. How much to they keep to the story (noting a few things usually adjust with necessary script changes) and how much is “new character, old name” (think the Dresden File tv show or whinny Aragon in PJ’s LoTR). How far do they go with the changes from comic to screen since you ALWAYS have to make some changes as they are different mediums. I’m hoping not much but i always fear the worse.
For point 4 – different medium. Overly violent comic isn’t really visually violent. You only see screen shots like a storyboard. live violence is always vastly more as you see the whole movement (not just see knife, see knife lower, see knife in chest, see blood already in the air). If they had kept the full-on violence as-is, it would be an over-the-top, blood=scary, slasher film. I’m glad they didn’t go that way.
8 episodes in and loving it.
I’ve only got minor quibbles (I miss the recitation of the poem and I think not hitting Dream on the head with the baguette is a mistake).
Kirby was such a fantastic choice (her character on the Good Place had so much of Death’s practicality and warmth that I could see her in that role the instant she was cast).
I think Gregory’s sacrifice added emotional weight (although I hope Dream brings him back before the end of all things, I could see Season of Mists, Game of You or even Brief Lives prompting Dream to put the effort into re-creating Gregory)
Pretty sure that yes, they made it explicit that Fun Land was a pedophile. I also got the strong impression that all the “collectors” were going to meet very unpleasant ends once Dream had dealt with Rose Walker. He simply was waiting until later.
I’m less sure, although it may be one of the changes from the comic. In the comic, his speech to the serial killers was shorter, and it seemed pretty clear he was done with them.
It also seemed clearer to me, in the comic, that Dream didn’t unmake the Corinthian because he was a monster who murdered people; he did it because the Corinthian was just a monster who murdered people. This may be verging into headcanon territory, but my take was always that the Corinthian was supposed to be the kind of monster that would make people think, “Holy shit, that could be me. With just a little nudging, I could be the one cutting out people’s hearts.”
Instead, as Dream said, all he did was give people one more thing to be afraid of, which was — not bad, in Dream’s view — just pointless and unartistic.
As a note, from what I’ve read, it was Gwendoline Christie’s partner, Giles Deacon, who designed Lucifer’s outfits, especially the white and black ones. (https://www.denofgeek.com/tv/the-sandman-creating-the-costumes-and-props-for-the-netflix-series/)
I’ve greatly enjoyed the series. And having known Neil for a long time (first time I fanboyed him was on Compuserve when he was the guy who did the neat book on Douglas Adams and had started writing comics), seeing Sandman finally coming to the screen with Neil being totally involved and fully successful in keeping a bad version of Sandman from being made is a real treat. However, I do want to see someone squish a tiny mechanical spider at some point in the series….
@ Scott Martin: the look Lucifer has at the end of that last scene where they look out and slightly up is how you get from ep 4 to them abandoning Hell. Dream reminded them of hope, and the seed is planted for “yeah, I am going to destroy you by giving you these keys. I’m fucking off now, see ya!” It’s just a look, but it’s everything.
Hey, its great to hear that OMW is heading to Netflix! I probably missed the news about it.
Thank you for the link.
It’s a striking example of the perils of a non-arms length relationship between the person designing the clothes and the person wearing them. That in turn is compounded by the fact that he doesn’t understand the way in which tv/movie cameras distort the way in which the body appears; there is a reason why couture designers don’t do tv/movie work. Unfortunately he doesn’t seem to have grasped that these are different skill sets.
Gwendoline Christie is very tall – 6 ft 3 in – and very beautiful; it is extraordinary that someone could create a costume for her that makes her look dumpy. Yet Deacon has managed it; the white costume that we first see her in is a disaster. I think that it’s safe to assume that it’s not made of cheap polyester; it just looks as if it’s made of cheap polyester. There are specialist fabric makers/sellers who understand the way that fabrics look under different kinds of lighting; Deacon didn’t use them. If he had then he wouldn’t have chosen a fabric which looks like cheap polyester when you are viewing it on a screen.
Moving on to the construction of the costume itself: the quality of the stitching is abysmal. Properly sewn seams don’t pucker the fabric, but even a desultory glance shows that they are puckered. Anyone who has ever read ‘Using a sewing machine 101’ knows that the tension between the upper and lower threads must be equal to avoid puckering when sewing a seam. Heaven only knows why they recruited someone who hadn’t read it to make this costume, though in fairness it may simply be a result of the particular fabric chosen. Some fabrics do look wonderful on the roll but are almost impossible to work with.
And then there’s his decision to use Princess seams to shape the garment. I personally dislike them at the best of times; there are better ways to achieve the same results, but they are particularly unsuitable in a costume for an androgynous character. Princess seams are there to provide extra fabric for the bust area; fine if there’s a lot of bust – albeit a rather motherly look – but Lucifer isn’t that sort of person.
I could go on, and on, and on – why did he think that having extra shoulders was a good look? – but it would be masochistic…
Glad to hear that the violence is toned down from what was in/was implied in the comics. Some of the comics, especially “24” was exactly on my “nope” line, and I know it would be way more intense on screen.
@Nortally: Try your local library! That’s where I got both books that make the first season.
Esp episode 6.
The Hob Gadling storyline was perfectly inserted.
I fully agree with point 6. I was very disappointed at how clean, flat and saturated the series looks. It’s a huge miss to not go for more grimy, atmoshpheric visuals in line with the comics. For a story this dark and off-beat, it looks extremely boring.
Oh well, with Sandman it’s the writing and casting that were always the most crucial, but it still feels like we were robbed of something when HBO passed on the series.
Gaiman did not gender swap John Constantine into Johanna. He explains in this breakdown of the trailer, at 5 minutes in.