“Sandman”: New Netflix series from cult author Neil Gaiman


In the US and UK, everyone knows the “Sandman” comics. As a Netflix series, they go around the world – and ask what dreams are worth.

Behind the mask is actor Tom Sturridge, who embodies the role of “Dream”.

Can dreams come true? And if so, who will save us from our nightmares? Netflix has turned another cult material into a television series: On Friday (08/05/2022) celebrates “The Sandman” (German: “Der Sandmann”) premiere on the streaming platform. However, this is not a film adaptation of E. T. A. Hoffman's famous 19th-century novella, but the comic series of the same name by best-selling author Neil Gaiman.

In “Sandman”, Morpheus, the lord of dreams, must regain his power after a long imprisonment and restore balance to the world of the sleeping and the living. He not only meets many people, but also his six siblings, among them death, desire and despair. He moves through dreams, nightmares and normal streets where normal people live.

Gaiman is a cult

How Gaiman is Known: His stories often take place in the real world, but use fantastic elements to unravel human nature, the question of good and evil, and the last remaining mysteries of our world. Gaiman devotes himself to areas of human life that will probably never be finally illuminated: love, parenthood, remembering, transience, including sleep and death, which sometimes seem uncomfortably close together. It is not for nothing that people say that a deceased has “passed away gently” – or does the US singer Billie Eilish sing on her debut album of the same name, which became a worldwide success: “When we all fall asleep, where do we go?”

This courage to explore phenomena that are difficult to grasp is what makes a good fantasy. The audience thanks Gaiman: In Germany, one might be forgiven for not knowing the author's “Sandman” comics – but in the United States they have a cult following. Published by DC Comics, which is also responsible for Superman and Wonder Woman, “The Sandman” helped the young Neil Gaiman to break through.

Gwendoline Christie plays Lucifer – the role was still a man in the comic. Many characters change gender and skin color in the series.

He is now one of the best-known British authors in the world, is mentioned in the same breath as the US bestselling author Stephen King and the late Briton Sir Terry Pratchett – and his novels, comics and short stories are cult. He has published countless books that consistently find themselves on the bestseller lists, including 2016's The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It was promptly adapted as a play by the National Theater in London – and was so successful that it is currently touring across the UK. His 2017 retelling of Norse sagas also climbed the bestseller lists with ease. Several of his works have been filmed, most recently the world bestseller Good Omens, which he wrote with fantasy legend Terry Pratchett and which Amazon Prime made into a miniseries. The second season is already in the works.

For 30 years Gaiman wanted to prevent a bad adaptation

Since Neil Gaiman writes fantastic novels that move between the known and foreign worlds, his material was long considered unfilmable, especially “The Sandman”. Anyone who knows the comic knows how many scenes take place in dreams and nightmares, and also knows how special the drawing style is.

His “Sandman” was revolutionary because it was an adult comic: author Neil Gaiman

But now the time has come for a film, Neil Gaiman admits in a press interview with Netflix: “For more than 30 years it was my job to ensure that 'Sandman' was not adapted to prevent bad films.” In the meantime, the situation in the television business has changed: there are longer, novel-like series formats that also have the budget and the special effects to enable fantastic subjects to be filmed.

Morpheus or “Dream” takes on the lead role Tom Sturridge, who hadn't read the comics before the casting and so far has mainly made a name for himself in the theater or British productions, for example in “The Boat That Rocked” (2009) or on Jake Gyllenhaal's side in that Play “Sea Wall/A Life” on New York's Broadway.

Other actors bring enough star factor – especially “Game of Thrones” fans should come across familiar faces: It's not just Gwendoline Christie who plays like this , known for her role as Brienne von Tarth, the role of “Lucifer”, but also Charles Dance is one of the big names, who embodied Tywin Lannister in “Game of Thrones”.


The first season of “Sandman” st artet on Friday August 5, 2022 on Netflix.