The critics have spoken on Netflix’s latest fantasy drama series, and it doesn’t look like The Sandman will be putting any audiences to sleep. Indeed, the long-awaited Neil Gaiman adaptation, after over 30 years of trying to find its way to the screen, has finally rolled into Netflix queues today, and the wait was worth it.
Starring Tom Sturridge as Morpheus, the king of dreams who becomes imprisoned by a group of cultists in the year 1916. Over a century later, in the year 2022, Morpheus breaks free and seeks to restore his abandoned kingdom, known as Dreaming.
Amelia Emberwing of IGN praised the first season immaculately, calling the series “just about perfect,” and lauding Sturridge’s haunting turn as Morpheus among a masterclass of performances by the rest of the cast.
There truly isn’t a bad performance in the bunch. Boyd Holbrook’s Corinthian is every bit as suave and spooky as he’s meant to be; no one can call out Dream while showcasing the deepest kind of empathy like Kirby Howell Baptiste’s Death; Gwendoline Christie’s Lucifer is as imposing as you expect; and Mason Alexander Park’s Desire is simply delicious. Syson and Gaiman went to work on the casting for this series and it absolutely shows.
The Guardian‘s Rebecca Nicholson was also enormously pleased with the show’s first season, suggesting that the series contains what is perhaps the single greatest hour of television drama this year.
Each person’s feelings are teased to the surface, and it is horrible and mesmerising and thrilling, with an uncanny, Twin Peaks-ish feel. This is surely a contender for best episode of the year, of any TV drama, and the point at which The Sandman really finds its feet.
And Jeff Ewing of Forbes echoed pretty much every other review so far, seemingly unable to find any fault in this home-run of an adaptation.
The series excels in both worldbuilding and cinematography–it feels mightily close to the source material, with a grandeur, scale, and depth that are enjoyable to see. It gives this otherworldly narrative a strong feeling of grounded surreality. It’s easily one of the best-looking series that Netflix has produced, with light, color, scale, depth… it could go so wrong, feel small, or mishandle the tone, and it doesn’t.
The Sandman is now streaming on Netflix.