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Get ready for the dark new Netflix fantasy series we’ve all been waiting for

the sandman netflix

For more than 30 years now, Neil Gaiman says he’s tried to do one thing when it comes to his DC Comics title The Sandman:

To prevent bad adaptations from making it to either the big screen or to TV sets.

“We got to 2020, and Sandman was the biggest DC comics property that still had not been adapted,” Gaiman said, in an interview with Netflix included in press material ahead of tomorrow’s highly anticipated debut of the streamer’s TV series The Sandman. “It was widely considered one of the jewels in the crown. It was the adult comic that changed everything.”

Netflix’s 10-episode The Sandman series, which stars Tom Sturridge as the Lord of the Dreaming, debuts on Friday. Among other things, this marks the first time that Gaiman confirms he’s been willing to board an adaptation. If that tells you what fans are in store for here.

The Sandman on Netflix August 5

The show’s source material comic spanned 75 issues, starting in 1989, with the anthology built around the character of Dream and his adventures that traverse different worlds and realities.

the sandman netflix
(L to R) Eleanor Fanyinka as Rachel, and Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine, in episode 103 of “The Sandman” on Netflix. Image source: Liam Daniel/Netflix

The cast includes Vivienne Acheampong, who plays the guardian of Dream’s realm named Lucienne. Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie is Lucifer, while Asim Chaudhry and Sanjeev Bhaskar play Cain and Abel. The first killer and first murder victim, respectively, and who also live in the dream world.

Fun fact: Mark Hamill voices the character of Mervyn Pumpkinhead, the cigar-smoking janitor with a pumpkin for a head.

“My baby is going off to school,” Gaiman told the BBC, about how Netflix handled his creation. “My baby is learning how to drive. It was awful worrying about those previous Sandmans.” The adaptations that didn’t move forward, in other words. And which also threatened to overly commercialize Gaiman’s vision for the comic.

READ MORE: 2 shows are dominating the global Netflix Top 10 list right now


What is the story behind The Sandman?

As noted, the central figure here is Sturridge’s Dream King, aka Morpheus. He’s a figure who mends the cosmic and human mistakes committed during his long existence.

Here’s how the streamer describes The Sandman. “There is another world that waits for all of us when we close our eyes and sleep — a place called the Dreaming, where The Sandman, Master of Dreams (Tom Sturridge), gives shape to all of our deepest fears and fantasies.

“But when Dream is unexpectedly captured and held prisoner for a century, his absence sets off a series of events that will change both the dreaming and waking worlds forever. To restore order, Dream must journey across different worlds and timelines to mend the mistakes he’s made during his vast existence, revisiting old friends and foes, and meeting new entities — both cosmic and human — along the way.”

The show is definitely one of the biggest titles to hit Netflix this month. You can read more about what else is coming to the streamer in August here.

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Andy Meek is a reporter who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming. Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.