“The Sandman”: although far from a faithful version of the cartoon, Netflix and Gaiman surprise

Second trailer for this Netflix series based on the Neil Gaiman comic. (Netflix)

It is true that it is impossible to move away from the original comic when talking about The Sandmanthis cartoon published between 1989 and 1996 and created by Neil Gaiman, sam kieth Y Mike Dringenberg. But unlike other works and their adaptations, here it is necessary to distance oneself from the mother product because its oneiric representations, the art and the time with which they build each of the narrative lines in the vignettes is, in a certain way, literally inadaptable. Much less in an industry that today is in crisis and without a direction in which the only answer is to make content and fill spaces with news so as not to lose subscribers. At best, win some.

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In this scenario that seems to be impossible to make an audiovisual product that agrees with everyone, The Sandman from Netflix, he achieved a worthy and attractive series that obtained inspiration, characters and a story, but that had to take several licenses. It feels more like an inspiration than a strictly speaking adaptation. From this Friday, August 5, you can see the 10 episodes of the fiction that took more than 30 years to be brought to live action.

The series is based on the comic created by Neil Gaiman. (Netflix)

The platform developed together with Gaiman a series that, far from the original work (in Latin America it is obtained through the Ovni Press publishing house), can be enjoyed and savored as a deep drama, a fantasy fiction with moments to remember, but for moments without much charisma. It also builds several interesting and engaging stories, with well-crafted characters and performances among the best of this release. When it comes to the visual section, the CGI feels forced on more than one occasion per chapter. Between good and bad, it is far from the failures of cowboy bebop Y Jupiter’s Legacy.

This fascinating story of gods and demons, of entities that struggle between desire and the morally correct, so profound and dramatically beautiful, managed to reach the screen of Netflix with 10 episodes for its first season that looks to continue with more editions in the future. Continuing in the field of the protagonist known as Morpheus, Dream or Sandman, his adaptation seems like a dream come true for many, but without a doubt for others it will be a disappointment hoping, confident by Gaiman’s participation, that the adaptation achieves the flight of his material of base. But not everything is ideal in this present of the television industry. I would like to think that it is the best possible adaptation in these times.

The first two episodes are the best version of the cartoon.  (Netflix)
The first two episodes are the best version of the cartoon. (Netflix)

The first two episodes are the best version of the cartoon. Over there The Sandman He is not afraid to transfer all his visual power and although the CGI, especially the created environments, feels quite rushed, the creation of the atmosphere is perceived, palpable. Immersion is immediate. The story begins in 1916 when Dream (excellent choice choose to tom sturidge for the role), he is mistakenly captured by the sinister Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance) in search of immortality. But Sleep does not possess that kind of power, the indicated one was Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), and the now prisoner must lure his sister out of his prison. A century later, Sueño manages to free himself and must recover all his weapons and rebuild his world and that of the humans.

The series could be divided into three very different stages: imprisonment (contemplation and presentation of characters), the search for the elements of Sleep that will take him to the very hell where he will confront the Lucifer of gwendoline christie, and the third is to unlock a new threat called Rose. In the middle of these The Sandman It features smaller stories (sometimes just one episode) and a huge number of characters that hardly come into play, but it paints the huge universe this story is based on.

Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian and Kerry Shale as Nimrod.  (Liam Daniel/Netflix)
Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian and Kerry Shale as Nimrod. (Liam Daniel/Netflix)

The great cast is one of the high points of this adaptation. From its protagonist, the British sturidge, until Vivienne Acheampong as Dream’s right-hand woman, Lucienne; Boyd Holbrook (Narcos) as the walking nightmare Corinthian and Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death, the entity closest to humans, all feel fantastic in the truest sense of the word. david thewlislike John Dee, he is perhaps the best villain of this entire first season, at least in activity. Everyone feels right in choosing him, but the cast is even bigger and there’s more left to savor.

The Sandman managed, albeit slightly, to convey that sense of melancholy and darkness of the comic. But better yet, that feeling of contemplation that extends into the first half of the season. The fantasy works, but again it is worth noting that it is far from representing the base material because it only shows glimpses of the depth that the vignettes possess. In visual terms, there is a big stumbling block because, although the budget for the series is high, it is clear that they prioritized characters and settings over others. Not all the time the dive is successful due to this variable.

Asim Chaudhry as Abel.  (Netflix)
Asim Chaudhry as Abel. (Netflix)

There is no doubt that if the series manages to achieve some success, the announcement of the second season will arrive quickly and that would help to delve into stories and characters, since several were left unexplored or with a brief appearance that promised to present a conflict impossible to cover in these 10 episodes. There is a fair amount of story to follow without mentioning the amazing final scene.

In summary, The Sandman from Netflix produced by Warner Bros. Television and with Gaiman very involved in creative aspects, it is a series that seeks to achieve the best possible adaptation (and even achieves it considering that it is a version for television). It is not the ideal, nor is it the perfect version, but it manages to break the karma of being a surprising and profound work, more cinematographic than many of its time and therefore impossible to take to the audiovisual field. Along the way, he builds a version that at times feels cold and even low-budget, but at other times manages to capture that sense of anguish and sustained reflection in his characters.

Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine and Tom Sturridge as Dream.  (Liam Daniel/Netflix)
Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine and Tom Sturridge as Dream. (Liam Daniel/Netflix)

The first season of The Sandman is already available in Netflix.

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