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I'm going to lay out my position here

  1. I am not a big Neil Gaiman fan.
  2. I have never read nor even seen cover art of the Sandman comics
  3. I thought this show was pretty rubbish

Fair warning: many spoilers ahead

The show lost my goodwill in the very first episode, when the historical epidemic of encephalitis lethargic was attributed to the fact that Dream was imprisoned in some madman's basement. There was no narrative logic to this (if Dream's imprisonment caused humans to fall into a permanent state of sleepiness, why didn't this happen to everyone?) and it felt kind of offensive given that the tragedy of encephalitis lethargica was a real thing that happened to real people, as anyone who's read Oliver Sacks' Awakenings will know.

Secondly, Dream's imprisonment was supposed to be a really bad thing for the human world, but it had no impact on anything as far as I could see

The people in the 1920s segment spoke as if they'd come straight from 2022.

The dialogue was clunky and cliched

The CGI looked cheap

The show didn't make me care about any of its characters

The arc about the British princess seemed really juvenile, like the kind of thing a 16 year old fanfic author who fancies herself edgy and political would write

The narrative meandered all over the place and characters seemed to do things for no reason. Also, why did Lucifer's minion have to have a face like Gus Fring's after Hector Salamanca's wheelchair exploded? Why did the minion of hell have arrows sticking out of his back? Why did Dream have to kill the Gargoyle? Why?

I am normally all for gender and race swapping, but in this show it felt like it was being done very deliberately for brownie points, to pander to its audience. It felt cynical, and like an insult to my intelligence.

That's all I have right now. If fans of Gaiman/Sandman loved this show, I'd be interested in hearing your views.

I'm going to lay out my position here 1. I am not a big Neil Gaiman fan. 2. I have never read nor even seen cover art of the Sandman comics 3. I thought this show was pretty rubbish Fair warning: many spoilers ahead >! The show lost my goodwill in the very first episode, when the historical epidemic of encephalitis lethargic was attributed to the fact that Dream was imprisoned in some madman's basement. There was no narrative logic to this (if Dream's imprisonment caused humans to fall into a permanent state of sleepiness, why didn't this happen to everyone?) and it felt kind of offensive given that the tragedy of encephalitis lethargica was a real thing that happened to real people, as anyone who's read Oliver Sacks' *Awakenings* will know. !< >! Secondly, Dream's imprisonment was supposed to be a really bad thing for the human world, but it had no impact on anything as far as I could see !< >! The people in the 1920s segment spoke as if they'd come straight from 2022. !< >! The dialogue was clunky and cliched !< >! The CGI looked cheap !< >! The show didn't make me care about any of its characters !< >! The arc about the British princess seemed really juvenile, like the kind of thing a 16 year old fanfic author who fancies herself edgy and political would write !< >! The narrative meandered all over the place and characters seemed to do things for no reason. Also, why did Lucifer's minion have to have a face like Gus Fring's after Hector Salamanca's wheelchair exploded? Why did the minion of hell have arrows sticking out of his back? Why did Dream have to kill the Gargoyle? Why? !< >! I am normally all for gender and race swapping, but in this show it felt like it was being done very deliberately for brownie points, to pander to its audience. It felt cynical, and like an insult to my intelligence. !< That's all I have right now. If fans of Gaiman/Sandman loved this show, I'd be interested in hearing your views.

15 comments

I read quite a lot of Gaiman growing up and still like his work. Watching him frantically back pedal over his very 'transphobic' portrayal of a TIM has been hilarious. I'm sad he is not team terf but that takes real courage and he just doesn't have that. I generally enjoyed the show but the CGI was very video gamey and I had to fast forward through the dancing drag queen. The male non-brainery actor was playing a male and his being part of the trans cult didn't detract from it. The character was actually quite gross and creepy so perhaps quite fitting. His outfits very good.

The last episode was very peculiar in that Jo Rowling was name dropped and it was specifically 'Jo' and not 'JK' Rowling. Why would you even put that in and risk rousing the woke mob? Also the main character of the final episode was a man who kept a women enslaved in the attic but outwardly called himself a feminist and performed ethnic minority inclusivity and women's empowerment. I think a terf might of slipped into the office without Gaiman noticing.

I am wondering how they will handle the TIM character especially with what happened with Netflix and Dave Chappelle and realising their audience doesn't want gender saturated nonsense continuously.

Which character is the TIM that he portrayed transphobically?

[–] thedarkhorse 0 points Edited
[–] Samhain 4 points Edited

I haven't seen the show yet, but I was obsessed with the comic in high school, so maybe I can provide some context. The comic was published in 1989 originally. This was a period when DC said screw it and started publishing mature comic books for the first time since the creation of the comic code in 1954. So the eighties and early nineties saw a lot of comic books that jumped on the sex and violence bandwagon.

The early arcs of the Sandman were also supposed to lean more toward horror than fantasy. This balance shifts later in the series, but it was supposed to be very horror heavy. This is why a lot of the characters in the comic including Cain and Abel, Gregory, Matthew, Eve, and Lucius are all from 1970s DC post-code horror comics.

In the early arcs, Gaiman was trying to fit the Sandman into the greater DC universe. The first arc, where Dream escapes and tries to find his stuff is Gaiman's love letter to the DC universe. There are cameos everywhere (Constatine was created for Swamp Thing by Alan Moore, Dream himself is a throwback to the golden age superhero "The Sandman," there's even a bunch of Batman villains in the comic.) This is part of the reason why the first arc is a bit of a mess.

For the epidemic part and why not everyone was affected by Dream's imprisonment, you're right it's dumb. It's like that in the comic and yes it always bothered me.

The comic meanders around, so I am not really surprised that the TV show does as well. There are arcs in the comic where Dream isn't really involved. Gaiman built a world and then told stories in that world. The comic is messy that way. But that's Gaiman. He's good at short stories and not so good at long arcs.

As for the casting, there are two reasons. One is exactly what you thought. It's pandering plain and simple. Gaiman is the king of the wokesters and Netflix wants those brownie points. The other reason is rights. I am almost positive they genderswapped both Lucifer and John Constatine because of the other TV and movie franchises with those characters.

The Sandman was one of the first comics I fell in love with, and as you might be able to tell, I'm a bit of a comic nerd. (Ok, ok, I'm a huge nerd =P). I still love the comic, despite its flaws, but part of that is because of its place in comics history. It's one of the comics that proved that the medium had legs and was a legitimate medium that could tell meaningful and literate stories. Also some of the art is gorgeous.

Neil Gaiman can go suck it though.

[–] OneStarWolf 2 points Edited

Watching this now. Got up to episode 5 and it all started going into downhill crazy lgbt town real fast. Apparently 2/3 of the world is actually lgbtq++ in secret? And ugh at the introduction of Desire at the end.

The show was decent up through gender swapped Lucifer and Constantine (Brienne did a great job, loved the Hell episode), but wtf at episode 5? Kind of turned off and not interested in watching any further :/ The forced wokeness was tolerable for a few eps but my goodness this is just porno levels of wish fulfillment and gratuitous sadism now.

Edit: ep 6 was okay. But I’m done at 7. Why are all the other gods beautiful and cool but Despair is a fat white woman in crocs? Just seems like more low key misogyny. Might as well name her Karen while they’re at it. No thanks, Netflix. (And yes, I know the character is supposed to be fat, but more like a monster, not a shitty sexist stereotype). The series characters are just unrelatable, distracting, and too try harding for political points.

[–] Calliope 7 points Edited

I am a fan of Neil Gaiman's writing, but after what happened to American Gods, I won't watch another TV show created off his works. I did enjoy Good Omens, but I've heard they're making a second season which absolutely no sense.

Also, I've never read any of the Sandman graphic novels, but I'm under the impression that the series is edgy for the sake of being edgy. Like that's the demographic they're catering too. That might have appealed to me once upon a time, but I grew out of that phase like a decade ago, so I figure I'm not the target audience for this show anyway. Thank you for confirming this though. Now I won't feel like I should give it a chance when certain friends recommend it.

Read all the comics, watched all the episodes. I actually enjoyed some of the show, but it did make clear how young a writer Gaiman was when creating Sandman. Weaknesses he got away with in the comic should have been corrected in the show but they clearly indulged him. The pacing was very bumpy; the Endless weren't explained well; there were enormous plot holes like why didn't his siblings help him, especially since Death must have shown up when Burgess died right next to the glass bubble; the grandiosity of Dream's speech patterns worked in the comic but came off as pretentious and stuffy in the show; we're asked to care about Gregory and other characters without even knowing them.

And the Rose and Jed Walker arc was beyond boring.

I was okay with Lucifer, Lucienne and Constantine being women - okay with the race swapping as well. This Death came off as wiser and more mature than the comic Death. I did think the white foster parents were cartoonish and Rosemary (white in the comic, gets shot in the head) waiting to give Dee a ride was the dumbest thing I've ever seen. On the whole, the characters of color were given no complexity, just one-dimensional moral purity - the Nightmare who really wants to be a Dream, Rosemary, Rose, Paul who breaks Dream's circle to let him escape. (In the comic, it was an accident.)

And since so much online dialogue has revolved around WANDA and the moon rejecting him as not a real woman for purposes of witchcraft (comic storyline), you know the show will overcompensate for Gaiman's long-ago terfy sin. I'm quite sure Wanda will be a High Priestess main character who ends up heroically saving the day and maybe capturing Dream's brooding little heart. With many compliments on how Wanda is the womanliest and most beautiful witch ever.

I listened to the audio book based on the comics last fall, but now seeing there's a TV show, it all seems like a money grab to me. I liked a few of Gaiman's works, American Gods and Neverwhere especially, but he always gives off the oafish manchild vibe. Like he's better than everyone else because he wrote popular books and got rich. Since all he's done lately is repackage his best sellers, I'm guessing he ran out of ideas and is just grabbing for money.

I'm not sure how much of Sandman I'll watch, since I already know the story, but I'd rather complain about the costuming of the TV show. It's terrible! Especially in Hell, what weird 1980s thing is going on there?

I'm constantly searching for new shows and saw this one mentioned on reddit, but now I'll not watch it, so thanks for the tip :)

What kind of shows do you like, in general? I'm not sure if there's a general recommendation thread... my instant recommendation to basically everyone (which I originally found out about here iirc) is Borgen, an amazing Danish political drama.

Dont like Gaiman, tried and couldn't. I couldn't see his worlds. A good fantasy writer knows you can't see inside their heads and they must build the world (sight sound feel culture context) for you or else you can't see the characters either, or really care about them no matter how intricate they try to make them. He focused too much on the character building in worlds that had no context. Drove me nuts trying to read.

I feel the same about Mistborn.

I haven't watched the show but I tried to get through the audio version on audible and it was so violently misogynistic and cruel to its few female characters and so bafflingly incoherent due to many of the plot holes you've pointed out that I gave up.