Publication date December 5, 2023

Is the Sandman on Netflix Worth the Watch? An Honest Review

The first few minutes of Netflix's fantasy show The Sandman explains that the main character, Morpheus, is the King of Dreams. This is much more information than comics readers got when Neil Gaiman's Sandman series came out in 1988. Even though the show makes a small adjustment for viewers who may need hooks right away to stick with it, both the comics and the Netflix version of the story have a lot for viewers to learn over time. And in both versions, this information is given slowly, as it becomes important to a story whose focus keeps moving from the personal to the cosmic.

The Sandman

Source: BBC

People who like stories that set up a hook in the first episode and don't pull it in until the tenth episode should just start watching the show without any explanation. Many of the questions it raises will be answered in the long run, but since the first season of The Sandman only covers the first two of ten graphic novels (not counting later series spinoffs and sequels), it may take Netflix years to answer just the questions raised in the first season.

For viewers who don't know the comics and don't want to spend the first season asking, "Who are these people, why are they like this, and what are they referring to?" 

Here is what you should know before watching it. 

Spoiler alert!

Who is Dream?

Dream of the Endless, who is also a concept and a fundamental force of the universe, is the main character in Sandman. In the Netflix version, Tom Sturridge plays Dream. He is an immortal being who represents and runs the world of dreams. Dream, who is also called Morpheus, the Sandman, Oneiros, and a lot of other names by different races, species, and cultures in the Sandman series, has the power to make and change dreams and nightmares, which are often immortal beings, especially when they are in his realm, which is called the Dreaming.

The Sandman

Source: ComingSoon.net

Mortals, like humans, animals, aliens, and anything else that can feel, can sometimes visit the Dreaming when they dream, or they can stay at home and have dreams come to them. Dream is in charge of keeping the dream world in check and in balance. What's the meaning of that? Early in the series, when he can't do it for a while and things start to go wrong, we find out.

WHAT ARE DREAMS' POWERS?

Basically, he can do anything that falls under his job description as long as it fits into the story. In his own world, he has full control over how things look and how they work with each other. He can make independent, intelligent beings from nothing, change them in any way he wants, and destroy them whenever he wants. He can move through the dreams of anyone and take things from or add things to them. 

WHO ARE DREAM'S SIBLINGS?

The Sandman

Source: list23

Early on in the show, Dream's servant Lucienne (Vivienne Acheampong) asks if he could ask his siblings for help in a current crisis. He cuts her off quickly, saying that they have to take care of their own realms. (This is true, but Dream is also very proud and stubborn, and he doesn't want to admit he needs help.) In the books, it takes a long time to find out who all of those siblings are and what they are like. If you're interested, here's a quick rundown.

Each of Dream's siblings—Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium, and a sixth one we'll talk about in a bit, are immortals like him and has control over the basic parts of reality that their names suggest. Desire is seductive and greedy, while Despair is sad and glum. Their personalities often match the areas in which they are most powerful. Delirium, who doesn't show up in season 1, is a symbol of insanity. She can be anything from happy-go-lucky crazy to downright evil. (Eventually, comic readers find out that she used to be called Delight, back when the universe was much younger, but they never learn much about what it means for an Endless to change their name.) Destiny is also left out of season 1, but in the comics, he is the least human of the siblings because he doesn't see himself as making or controlling fate, but just as a constant observer of it.

Each of the Endless has a realm that reflects them, and they all have broad powers over their name concept, whether that means getting power from people's desire or despair, being able to wander through the minds of the insane, or being in charge of helping the dead move on to whatever comes next for them.

WHO IS THE SEVENTH ENDLESS, THE PRODIGAL?

The Sandman

Source: Slash Film

Gaiman's version of The Sandman kept this mystery going for a long time, so this is a spoiler for season 3 or 4 or 5, depending on whether the series continues and whether it skips Sandman's many small side stories to focus on Dream's journey. The Prodigal is eventually revealed to be Destruction, an Endless who quit his job and went on a happy walkabout, going from place to place in the universe. In the comics, he tells Dream that destruction seems to be going fine without anyone watching over it. This makes him wonder if the Endless are really needed as conscious, active beings. This message doesn't sit well with Dream, who is both duty-driven and proud.

The plot of Destruction makes you wonder how important the Endless are and if they really serve a purpose. But the comics series never fully explores these questions because it is so focused on Dream, and Dream has much more pressing problems than existentialist self-exploration.

WHO GAVE DREAM HIS POWERS? WHO'S HIS BOSS?

From what the comics show, The Endless just appeared the first time a sentient creature had a destiny, dreamed, wanted, died, etc. Again, Dream and his family are as much force as they are people, so it doesn't seem like anyone made them, and they don't seem to answer to anyone. In their humanoid form, they have a lot of power, but other than making servants and making deals with mortals and other entities, they aren't part of anyone else's hierarchy. This is important in a universe with so many other immortals.

IN THE SANDMAN MYTHOS, IS THERE A GOD?

The Sandman

Source: Netflix Life

There sure is. In fact, there are a lot of them. In the same way that the pantheon of gods in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting more confusing (which is a reflection of the confusing pantheon of gods in Marvel Comics), the pantheons of gods in the Sandman world, like the Greek, Roman, and Egyptian gods, have fallen on hard times because most people have stopped worshiping them. In the Sandman mythos, heaven and hell are real places. Cain, Abel, and Eve in the Bible were real people from history who later became dreams in Dream's realm. They have become myths and legends, and stories are a big part of his kingdom. Lucifer Morningstar, also known as the Devil, is real, and Gwendoline Christie plays him. He has a big part in season 1 and a much bigger one in a later Sandman arc.

WHO ELSE IN SANDMAN HAS A LOT OF POWER?

One of the most important ideas in the Sandman universe is that all stories are true and real in some way, at least in the Dreaming and in the mind, even if they aren't in the real world. Gaiman wanted to create a single story that tied together all of DC Comics' past stories. This is why the Sandman comic also (very slightly) includes DC superheroes like Batman and Martian Manhunter, as well as revived DC characters like Matthew the Raven (originally a human villain in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, but the Netflix show takes out that backstory), Cain and Abel (originally Cryptkeeper-style hosts for DC's 1950s anthology comics

But there are a lot of more important powers, like the gods, the Faerie Court (like Titania, Oberon, and Puck in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream), and anthropomorphic versions of Order and Chaos. Again, anyone who is important in a myth is likely to show up in a Sandman story.

WHO ARE THE CORINTHIANS?

The sandman

Source: Digital Spy

The Corinthian is a wayward nightmare who took advantage of Dream's disappearance at the start of the Sandman story to go have fun in the real world. In season 1 of The Sandman on Netflix, he has a much bigger role than he did in the books, where he had a similar storyline but was much less important. He's a good example of how Morpheus makes dreams and nightmares that are also people, but he doesn't care much about their lives or wants. He seems to see them as a kind of artwork, made for a purpose and useless outside of that purpose. We find out that he has a few people he likes and is more patient with. But he also has strict rules about where dreams can go and what they can do, and the Corinthian goes way beyond what he says a bad dream can do. The Corinthian tries to get his own power, which is something Morpheus won't let any of his creations do. Morpheus isn't very caring or protective of people or other sentient beings, but he takes his job seriously, which means he makes sure the dreams he makes are about what they're supposed to be.

THOUGH, DOESN'T THAT MAKE DREAM SOME KIND OF A JERK?

The Sandman

Source: Digital Spy

It sure does. One of the most interesting things about Sandman is that Dream isn't always a very likable main character. He can be sad and mopey, conceited and stuffy, distant and superior, or just not care about the pain of others. Because he is so unlike us, it can be hard to figure out what he wants. That's on purpose. He is, after all, as much a person as he is the idea of a story. When he's rude or bossy, it's okay to dislike him.

Just keep in mind that we're not seeing him at his best in the first season of Sandman. He's just come out of a long, frustrating trauma where he felt as helpless as he ever has in his life. Dreams like Lucienne, Matthew, Cain, and Abel aren't his peers; they're his subjects and creations, so he can't tell them anything. Only his family is on his level, and they are at best a troublesome group. So he doesn't really have anyone to talk to about how what happened to him threw him off and made him have to figure out who he is.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT?

Neil Gaiman's original Sandman arc ended with a lot of unanswered questions about this universe, and we can expect the TV show to do the same. Don't expect to have all the answers, understand that that's part of the experience, and realize that most of these characters aren't so many people as they are ideas and goals made flesh, and it will all make a lot more sense. When you read or watch Sandman, you're in the realm of myths, and most myths are more about capturing a feeling or showing a principle than making sure that every plot point makes sense. Have fun on the way.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q. Who is The Sandman?

The Sandman is a mythical character who puts people to sleep and encourages and inspires beautiful dreams by sprinkling magical sand onto their eyes. They’re often found in kids' stories and books.

Q. Who plays Dream in The Sandman? 

Tom Sturridge, an English stage and screen actor plays Dream in The Sandman, also known as Morpheus. He emerges from capital from captivity after more than a century and works to restore his realm.

Q. Is The Sandman good or bad?

The answer depends on who is asking and what is their perspective. However, The  Sandman is neither good nor bad. The Sandman, known as the Kings of Dreams and Morpheus. The character in a dark-haired depiction of a powerful being that wears all black is different from the other versions of a magical creature.

Q. What does The Sandman look like? 

In the Netflix TV series adaption of The Sandman, appearance stays the same as the essence of the comic book character while adding some additional features. He looks slender, and pale, with dark hair, and wears all black, making him very different from other magical characters. 

Q. How many episodes of The Sandman?

There are a total of 10 episodes in The Sandman.  The series premiered on August 5, 2022, with 10 episodes available immediately. An additional episode was released on August 19. Now fans are waiting for season 2, with the earliest expected in the first half of 2025. 

Q. Where to watch The Sandman (TV series)? 

You can watch The Sandman TV series on Netflix exclusively. It was released on 5 August 2022 and all 10 episodes are available to stream. 

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