The Sandman, a new adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s comic series, arrived on Netflix on Friday 5 August - with two special bonus episodes arriving on Friday 19 August, to the surprise and delight of many fans.
The series – which follows Morpheus, Lord of Dreams, on a quest to take back his stolen possessions and fix the damage to his realm – stars Tom Sturridge, Jenna Coleman, and Gwendoline Christie amongst others.
Here’s everything you need to know about The Sandman.
What is it about?
The eponymous Sandman is Morpheus, the God of sleep and dreams… and nightmares. Chasing down an escaped nightmare, Morpheus (or Dream of the Endless, as he’s also known) is captured and imprisoned by a sorcerer – the time Dream spends away from his realm causes the waking world to break down, leading to untold damage in the fabric of reality. Damage Dream must fix as soon as he escapes.
The official Netflix synopsis describes the series as “A rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama and legend are seamlessly interwoven, The Sandman follows the people and places affected by Morpheus, the Dream King, as he mends the cosmic — and human — mistakes he’s made during his vast existence.”
Is it based on a comic?
Yes, it is! The Sandman comic ran for 75 issues from January 1989 to March 1996, and was later particularly successful as a collected graphic novel.
Who stars in The Sandman?
Tom Sturridge plays Dream of the Endless. Sturridge has previously starred in The Hollow Crown, Sweetbitter, and Velvet Buzzsaw. More recently, he’s appeared in the HBO series Irma Vep, playing Mira’s ex-partner.
Jenna Coleman plays Johanna Constantine, a professional exorcist. Coleman has previously starred in Victoria, The Serpent, and Waterloo Road, but is probably still best-known as the best Doctor Who companion, Clara.
Gwendoline Christie plays Lucifer Morningstar, the Devil. Christie is best-known for playing Brienne of Tarth in the Game of Thrones series, but you might also know her from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay or crime drama Top of the Lake: China Girl. She was also in Star Wars, playing Captain Phasma.
They’re joined by David Thewlis (Landscapers), Sanjeev Bhaskar (Unforgotten), Asim Chaudry (People Just Do Nothing), Kirby Howell-Baptiste (The Good Place), Stephen Fry (It’s A Sin), John Cameron Mitchell (Joe vs Carole), Munya Chawawa (Taskmaster), and Charles Dance (Game of Thrones) amongst others.
Who writes and directs The Sandman?
The adaptation was developed by Neil Gaiman, David S. Goyer (Batman Begins), and Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman).
The majority of episodes were directed by Jamie Childs (Doctor Who), with Mike Barker (To Kill a King), Andrés Baiz (Narcos), Coralie Fargeat (Revenge) and Louise Hooper (Flesh & Blood) also directing.
Is there a trailer?
Yes, there is! You can watch it right here.
When and how can I watch The Sandman?
The Sandman will be released as a boxset on Netflix on Friday 5 August, with all episodes available from 8am GMT.
How many episodes is The Sandman?
There are 10 episodes in the first series of The Sandman, each around 40 minutes to an hour in length.
What do reviews of The Sandman say?
In our review, we praised the series for its performances (particularly those of Tom Sturridge, Jenna Coleman, and Kirby Howell-Baptiste), though noted that Dream himself was sometimes less interesting than the supporting characters around him, which becomes more and more of an issue as the series continues.
While the series was also “handsome” and “full of memorable imagery”, the review noted that at times the series may have benefitted from being a little more visually experimental given its subject matter.
Is there going to be a second series of The Sandman?
What are the bonus episodes about?
On Friday 19 August, two bonus episodes of The Sandman were made available on Netflix. They adapt A Dream of a Thousand Cats and Calliope, two short stories from Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novels.
The first, A Dream of a Thousand Cats, is a partially animated piece. It stars Tom Sturridge as Dream meeting a cat dreaming of another world. Sandra Oh, David Tennant, and Michael Sheen also star.
Calliope, meanwhile, tells the story of a struggling author (played by Arthur Darvill) who kidnaps one of the Greek muses, torturing her for inspiration for his writing.
Why should I watch The Sandman?
It’s one to watch if you’ve enjoyed previous Neil Gaiman adaptations (though it leans a little closer to American Gods than Good Omens), or if you’re a fan of his work generally. It’s also worth checking out if you’re a fan of any of the cast, or if you tend to be into this sort of austere high fantasy.