“The Sandman,” Netflix’s new series, based on Neil Gaiman’s award-winning comic books, adapted by Gaiman, David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg, premiered Friday, August 5. The show asks the question about how important are our dreams and nightmares?
Here we learn the tale of Dream ( the haunting and fabulous Tom Sturridge). Dream is also known by Morpheus, Master of Dreams and The Sandman. He is one of the seven beings known as The Endless. The other six are Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), Desire (Mason Alexander Park), Destiny also Dr. John Dee (David Thewlis), Despair (Donna Preston), Destruction and Delirium. We do not meet the last of these in year 1.
In episode 1, Dream states that mortals insist on calling the waking world the real world, yet more than half of their existence is spent dreaming and he is in charge of keeping it in order. Dream not only creates, but controls both dreams and nightmares. With that being said, Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance), a wealthy man who is on the same level as Alistair Crawley, seeks to conquer Death and force her to bring his dead son back to life. The spell goes awry and instead of death he gets Dream. Dream stays silent for a century when Roderick imprisons him. The Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook), a nightmare who wants free reign, helps to keep him there. Since there is balance in the world the consequence is a sleeping sickness which effects many around the world.
As the episodes continue we meet Lucienne (Vivienne Acheampong), Lucifer (Gwendoline Christie), Constantine (Jenna Coleman), Ethel Cripps (Joely Richardson), Dr. John Dee (David Thewlis), Matthew the Raven (Patton Oswalt), Cain and Abel (Sanjeev Bhaskar and Asim Chaudhry), Lyta Hall (Razane Jammal), Merv Pumpkinhead (Mark Hamill), Hal Carter (John Cameron Mitchell) and Rose Walker (Vanesu Samunyai), who is a game changer.
As we learn who this ambiguous Lord is, in a sense so does he. As we all do, Morpheus has a role to play. He cautions Hob Gadling (Ferdinand Kingsley),a man who gets to live forever, that the slave trade is imprisonment and to stay clear, yet punishes a nightmare (Ann Ogbomo) for wanting to change. He seeks as we all do the meaning and reason for existence. The best episode is episode 6 “The Sound of Her Wings,” Morpheus is visited by his sister, Death. He accompanies her as she escorts the deceased to the afterlife. Death attempts to show Morpheus the possibility of finding purpose and fulfillment in his duties as ruler of the Dreaming. We also see how Morpheus meets Hob Gadling. Hob and Morpheus meet every 100 years as Hob insists he still does not wish for death. Hob states they meet because Morpheus, is lonely and friendless, which offends him. Due to Morpheus’s capture by Burgess, he was unable to attend his regular meeting with Hob. When their usual location is sold, Hob chooses a new tavern a block away, hoping that Morpheus will find him. The two reunite and Morpheus declares they are friends.
Many want Morpheus gone and out of their way. Not one of his family rescued him when he was imprisoned and abandoned.
Expect a lot of gender bending, fluid relationships as Gaiman has expressed his desire to make this show as inclusive as possible.
There is terrific acting and a storyline that is compelling. Each episode made me want to watch the next so that I watched all 10 in one sitting.
“The Sandman” season 1 premiered Friday, August 5 on Netflix.