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