It’s taken years for The Sandman to reach our screens… so was it worth the wait?

streaming

(Image credit: Netflix)

Appropriately for an epic story like The Sandman, getting it onto screens has been quite the journey in itself. Published by DC Comics between 1989 and 1996, efforts to get Neil Gaiman’s story on film have been in the works for over 30 years. 

Finally, in 2022, Netflix has scratched that itch, and it has shot to the top of the most watched list in the United States. So was it worth the wait? 

 What is The Sandman about? 

The Sandman tells the tale of Dream (Tom Sturridge), the king of dreams, trying to rebuild his kingdom after being accidentally captured by cultists for a century. 

Over the course of the first season, which covers the first two volumes of 16 issues of the comic itself, Dream must track down and collect three powerful items taken away during his period in captivity: a bag of sand, a helm and a ruby with the power to make dreams come true. 

Although this sounds a typical fantasy fare, The Sandman is known to be a dark, cerebral and thought provoking comic grounded in both the real world and fantasy, which is part of the reason why it’s taken so long to be adapted for the screen. In its final form, it has a hugely impressive cast, with Sturridge joined by the likes of Patton Oswalt, Boyd Holbrook, David Thewlis, Jenna Coleman and Stephen Fry.

Note that the ten-episode first season run doesn’t even come close to covering the full story of the comics. “We have adapted, so far, 400 pages out of 3,000,” Gaiman told the BBC (opens in new tab). Hopefully that means The Sandman isn’t added to the growing list of shows cancelled by Netflix. 

What do critics think of The Sandman? 

The Sandman is off to a very strong start with the critics, with a current Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab) score of 85% fresh. That’s no mean feat for a story which is deliberately strange and confusing.

It’s “an ambitious carefully curated undertaking, attempting to weave a series of complex and not-always accessible stories into a coherent narrative,” explains Joel Harley at Starburst (opens in new tab). “Like trying to recall the details of a dream long after waking, this is no easy task.”

But it’s a task it largely succeeds in, even if it left some reviewers slightly baffled (“As to whether it’s also any good, I honestly have no idea,” writes The Times (opens in new tab)’ Hugo Rifkind.) “The Sandman delivers a surprisingly authentic adaptation of Gaiman’s saga, weaving some of the comic’s most memorable story threads together in a busy (but never rushed) season,” says Rick Marshall at Digital Trends (opens in new tab). 

Not only is it faithful to the source material, but it’s also compelling. “There’s something about The Sandman that just draws you in and keeps you pressing play on each new episode, and once you finish the first season, you already want to start it again,” The Mary Sue’s (opens in new tab) Rachel Leishman writes. 

But it’s evidently not for everyone, as even the positive reviews conclude. “At its best, the show is strong fantasy entertainment that functions as a great introduction to Gaiman’s writing,” explains David Sims of The Atlantic (opens in new tab). “But the barrier to entry is high, and the cost of jumping into such an intricate saga might be too much for some.”

This is where the more critical critics agree. It’s “dramatically listless”, says CNN’s (opens in new tab) Brian Lowry, and pitched squarely at those “who already possess degrees in Sandman 101.”

Worse, some — such as IndieWire’s (opens in new tab) Ben Travers — just found the whole thing a touch forgettable. “The Sandman isn’t an arduous watch — it churns out curious cast members or creative concepts regularly enough to stir a kind of baffled fascination. But absent a beating heart and focused mind, it is easily forgotten.”

 Outlook: Should you watch The Sandman tonight? 

For fans of the source material, this is an absolute no-brainer. Give it a couple of episodes and see if you think Gaiman’s televisual vision matches the original comics.

For everyone else, it could be a tougher sell, but the generally positive praise suggests you’ll get at least something out of it. Even if that something is a hankering to track down the original comics to see what all the fuss is about. 

Next: I just watched Sandman episode 1 and it’s awesome.

More about streaming

streaming

How to watch Premier League live streams from anywhere — plus fixtures… ►

streaming

I got YouTube TV — and now I can’t live without this feature’ ►

Latest

streaming

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 — everything we know so far’ ►

See more latest ►

TECH NEWS RELATED

This $6.7-Million Arkansas Mansion Has Its Own 1.2-Mile Race Track

When you live here, the track days come to you.

View more: This $6.7-Million Arkansas Mansion Has Its Own 1.2-Mile Race Track

1992 Autozam AZ-1—the Kei Car That Dreamed It Was a Ferrari—for Sale on Bring a Trailer

• The Autozam A-1 is the rarest of the sporting kei cars (a low road tax category with restrictions on displacement and size), and one is currently listed for sale on the auction site Bring a Trailer, with the auction to end on Wednesday, October 12. • Autozam was ...

View more: 1992 Autozam AZ-1—the Kei Car That Dreamed It Was a Ferrari—for Sale on Bring a Trailer

Microsoft: Windows 11 22H2 causes file copy performance hit

Microsoft has confirmed a new known issue causing customers to experience a significant performance hit when copying large files over SMB after installing the Windows 11 22H2 update. “There is a performance reduction in 22H2 when copying larger files from a remote computer down to a Windows 11 computer ...

View more: Microsoft: Windows 11 22H2 causes file copy performance hit

Man Wanted for Spray-Painting "NASCAR on USA" on North Carolina Sidewalks

The stenciled graffiti caused roughly $1000 in city repairs.

View more: Man Wanted for Spray-Painting "NASCAR on USA" on North Carolina Sidewalks

Foxconn, Maker of iPhones, Reveals EV Hatchback to Be Built in Ohio

Foxconn, a Taiwanese electronics firm that is one of the main manufacturers of Apple iPhones, is planning to enter the automotive space with the Foxtron Model B. A full reveal of the Model B is coming on October 18, but Foxconn has already given a good look at the ...

View more: Foxconn, Maker of iPhones, Reveals EV Hatchback to Be Built in Ohio

Zuckerberg’s Metaverse App on 'Quality Lockdown' as Even Employees Won’t Use It: Report

Meta leadership has placed the company’s metaverse VR platform, Horizon Worlds, on a “quality lockdown” through the end of the year due to persistent bugs.

View more: Zuckerberg’s Metaverse App on 'Quality Lockdown' as Even Employees Won’t Use It: Report

Microsoft is rolling out a fix for Outlook crashing after launch

Microsoft is finally rolling out a fix for an issue known since August and causing Outlook for Microsoft 365 to freeze and crash right after it’s opened. “When you start Outlook Desktop, it gets past loading profile and processing, briefly opens, and then stops responding,” Microsoft explains. “This issue ...

View more: Microsoft is rolling out a fix for Outlook crashing after launch

See and Hear Chevrolet's Upcoming Corvette Z06 GT3.R Racer

While the next Corvette Racing entry will not actually run an IMSA event until 2024, Chevrolet's new ground-up Z06 GT3 racer is already being tested.

View more: See and Hear Chevrolet's Upcoming Corvette Z06 GT3.R Racer

Wounded warrior Jennifer Lawrence faces horrors at home in Causeway trailer

Fast Cars, Furious Writers: Window Shop with Car and Driver

Score an AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT GPU for less than the price of an RTX 3050

This Ferrari Roma Prototype Sure Sounds Like it Has a V-12

BRZ and GR86 Owners Are Turning to Independent Shops to Fix Engine-Blowing Factory Defect

2K Games warns users their stolen data is now up for sale online

Kia Telluride Is Less of a Steal for 2023

Ultrahuman Ring tracks metabolism through movement, sleep and other metrics

Today in Apple history: iPhone 4s opens for Siri-ous preorders

The Midnight Club review: an earnest YA horror adventure

Ford shows off last limited-edition GT for the road

M1 MacBook Pro with Studio Display excels at intensive gaming [Setups]

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News