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After years of failed attempts to bring Neil Gaiman's acclaimed and surreal comic to the screen, Netflix finally creates a home for "The Sandman," armed with enough top-notch British guest stars to populate a Harry Potter movie.

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The resulting series is visually striking but dramatically listless, made for those -- and maybe only those -- who already possess degrees in Sandman 101.

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The much-anticipated series follows a proposed movie that was to have starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt and an Audible podcast version introduced in 2020, so kudos, in a way, just for getting this far.

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Still, the dense fantasy elements and lyrical storytelling don't easily translate from page to screen, and the meticulous detail in replicating the look and tone doesn't create much emotional investment.

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That might satiate fans who can putty in the gaps, but in the context of a 10-episode series it could leave the uninitiated drifting off to dreamland themselves.

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Faithfully following the comic, the opening episode features Morpheus, a.k.a. the King of Dreams, being trapped by a bizarre spell, rendering him the prisoner of a wealthy Englishman seeking the secret to cheating death.

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Decades pass before Morpheus escapes, discovering that chaos has ensued during his long absence, forcing him to recover lost items in order to restore his power and control.

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For those who have eagerly waited for "The Sandman" to invade this realm -- and no doubt harbor long-nurtured notions about how it should do so -- that thrill might be enough.

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