Friday, December 9, 2022

The Sandman: Season 1

This might go on a bit.

Story time! What seems a long time ago I was made aware of an author by the name of Neil Gaiman through an episode of Doctor Who and all the big talk around that episode of such a prolific writer known noticeably by a work called The Sandman. Years passed and through bits and bobs of internet existence, more details of this world came to light, with the two biggest ones being an issue by the title of 24 Hours and the character previously discussed on this show. And one day I decided to do something. Still early years of writing reviews but I took 7 days out of my life, went to the local Barnes & Noble, sat in a comfy chair, and digested 10 volumes of The Sandman. It is not only the only true comic series I have read (not counting graphic novels and one shot adaptations), but also the only comic series I own. Hell, I even re-read the entire series I think either before or during the release of this show. You do not fuck me about with The Sandman. Let us begin. This show was really good. I won't become a counterbalance comparing source material with adaptation, but just know even though they make changes they are not bad changes. to briefly explain Sandman? Well! Seven anthropomorphized personifications known as The Endless govern each of their spheres according to title, in particular Dream who is torn from his reality and imprisoned by magic practicing humans for over a century. Once he finally achieves an escape, he goes on a quest to retrieve his items that were stolen leading him to face a demon hunter by the surname of Constantine, a mental patient that uses his powerful item to wreak havoc, and the quite literal hordes and lord of Hell. There's more to it, but why spoil everything presented? I scarcely know where to begin now. I shall note that the first season comprises 2 of the 10 volumes spanning eleven episodes, but I'll add an addendum and say the 11th episode is a bonus episode not the finale. And it moves at a very well done pace I thought. I honestly forgot at times I was watching a series because it does have a cinematic quality to the production! I feel the casting was super well done. With great love going to many including Tom Sturridge, who really encompasses the voice and was the big deciding factor on my enjoyment of this series but I'm happy to report he did wonderful, bringing a lot more humanizing and less apathetic qualities to Morpheus. Boyd Holbrook as the monstrous nightmare creature the Corinthian I'll admit didn't fully have me sold first I saw him, but by episode 7 he hit that stride and became such a great villain to boo and hiss at. Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne, one of many examples of Rule 63 in the show, was a bright and welcome addition to the Dreaming and having such strong chemistry with Tom, she was grand. I know people maybe might have given Gwendoline Christie some grief as playing Lucifer Morningstar, but to be perfectly honest I can't fathom any text that specifically said Lucifer was a guy and angels don"t exactly have genitalia so screw it. I felt she has that perfect cherub face and slick fashion sense, and conveys the literal ruler of Hell incredibly well, she kinda is a bit unnerving to watch! I was so looking forward to the appearance of my dear sweet king Gilbert, like seriously this guy is my favorite male character of the series, and when I saw Stephen Fry I flipped man. Flawless casting! And last but never everrrrr least, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as my one and only, Her Majesty of the Sunless Lands, Death. I...guys. Here I go again! Have. To. Maintain. Composure. The fact we get her for one episode is criminal but she is a passing, more sporadic appearing character in the comics so I get it, but she did so well! Oh my God, her episode is hands down the best and real talk here, got me surprisingly emotional like a LOT, tears slipped down my cheeks! To see a story I adore so much come to life on the screen I've just never experienced that until this point in my life. She's pure 10/10 and I can't wait to see Kirby again in this show. Also shoutout to my guy Patton Oswalt, wonderful to see you as always and will continue to be until, if the gods are kind, the series finale. I think this is the most lavishly produced Netflix show I've ever seen but truth be honest, I don't watch Netflix like I used to and I certainly haven't seen an original show of theirs until Rilakkuma And Kaoru, but for such a visually rich and uberly imaginative series like The Sandman they did do a competent and well done job on crafting the worlds, the props, conveying the sense of a dream, costumes, all that stuff! I couldn't even imagine how much more colorful and wild it would be if this was an animated series, but the leap to live action is a brave one and apparently from what I've heard of past Netflix created live action counterparts to stuff [cough cough] umm...yeah. So I'm counting my lucky stars and giving thanks for this series to have even begun, let alone do well enough more is on the way. And boy, knowing the things I know that are coming up makes my imagination race figuring out how they're going to do it and what they might change up. Unlike others I welcome change and crafting of new elements for an adaptation, because I mean really, what do you get out of watching an adaptation where you know precisely what is going to happen every second? Keep me on my toes, shuffle stuff, drop stuff, recast people! I enjoy that engagement of, where is it going next? And I enjoy even more not having the answer. Volume 3 of the comics is an interesting collection of one shot stories, technically they've already done half of them in the bonus 11th episode, so what does that entail for season 2? Do we finish them off first episode, throw them in as another bonus episode, maybe drop it all together? No clue. But wait until you see what the Morningstar has cooked up for the Dream Lord, it is a trip! But before I go off on a tangent and spoil something, final scores on the boards. I give it 4 stars, 8.5/10! A super solid beginning to a world of dreams and nightmares. We'll be slipping back into exclusively movie reviews next week with examples from a much visited and beloved animation studio.

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