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Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN adaptation for Netflix


Werthead
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On 8/7/2022 at 2:13 AM, mormont said:

I'd be curious to see the reactions of folks who haven't read the comics, actually.

Not really sure what it is about in the end.

First half of the season was decent if somewhat underwhelming. It looks good, mostly, and casting worked well in the main. I expected more, something unique* (to be fair those expectations could have been exaggerated in my mind from how the show has been received on here). The second half of the season gets progressively worse. There is no attempt at character development and I am therefore not interested in any of them. Neither like nor dislike them. Episodic storytelling. It feels like I am supposed to take the show very seriously but it does not provide me a reason to do so.

Looks like it is very popular with fans of the original work so that is good. Reviews elsewhere appears a bit more mixed.

* I appreciate that, when it was originally released, it must have been unique given how inclusive and representative it is.

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6 minutes ago, Scott_N said:

Not really sure what it is about in the end.

First half of the season was decent if somewhat underwhelming. It looks good, mostly, and casting worked well in the main. I expected more, something unique* (to be fair those expectations could have been exaggerated in my mind from how the show has been received on here). The second half of the season gets progressively worse. There is no attempt at character development and I am therefore not interested in any of them. Neither like nor dislike them. Episodic storytelling. It feels like I am supposed to take the show very seriously but it does not provide me a reason to do so.

Looks like it is very popular with fans of the original work so that is good. Reviews elsewhere appears a bit more mixed.

* I appreciate that, when it was originally released, it must have been unique given how inclusive and representative it is.

One of the interesting things for me about non-comic fans watching this is that this season adapts basically three arcs and two one-off stories (Morpheus being captured and freed; Morpheus recovering his artefacts: and the Doll's House story, plus The Sound of Her Wings and the Hob Gadling story that are merged into one episode). There isn't an arc that covers the whole first season, as such.

These early issues in the comics were also Gaiman figuring out to some extent what the comic was and how you did a comic like this. It was a very new venture from DC that eventually became the prototype, along with Swamp Thing and some others, for a whole line of comics aimed at 'adult' readers (Vertigo). Back then, that was fine, because it was new and readers were willing to let it grow, but three decades later, in a different medium, I realise that could be a harder sell.

That experimentation does lead to stories, as others have noted above, where Morpheus is more of a storytelling device (even a framing device) than a character so if you find the lack of character progression a problem that could be an issue.

The TV series, by the way, is more inclusive than the comic was although the comic was quite inclusive for its time. It's also fair to say that the comic, while well intentioned, made some missteps in this area. The series seems to be managing that better.

As for how seriously to take the show: the comics are good at recognising how very seriously Morpheus takes himself and taking care to include lots of characters who undercut that (Death, Merv, Matthew, Constantine, and later Delirium and others). I'm not sure we had as much of that in the series as I'd have liked but it's certainly there.

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The storyline of Sandman I think is best summed up in the excellent 1999 book The Sandman Companion:

"The Sandman is the story of Dream who, after being imprisoned by mortals for a hundred years, comes to realise the depth of his past mistakes, and how best to rectify them." (not quite verbatim but almost)

This isn't an action story about the fate of the entire universe being at stake (The Doll's House vortex is about as close as it ever gets to that), but a story about someone who has made some very serious fuck-ups and how he can fix those problems, and the consequences of doing so.

A good early example:

Spoiler

In his visit to Hell, you see Morpheus meet Nada, a woman he loved but whom betrayed him, and he convicted her to spend eternity in hell. Eventually he realises this was a mistake, and in a later storyline will revisit Hell to bargain for her release, a good deed which has rather unforeseen consequences.

Given how they like setting up throughlines, it does make me wonder

(spoiler for people who haven't read the comics)

Spoiler

if they will introduce Orpheus earlier, and do that story in Season 2 to it provides a better through-line for the whole series, otherwise it kind of feels like something that crops up more than halfway through the saga to provide the resolution to the story not long afterwards.

13 minutes ago, Spockydog said:

That is one of the most underrated movies of all time.

It's a movie that was very much ahead of its time. I don't think people were ready for a metafictional commentary on action movies in 1993, with Arnold Schwarzenegger taking the piss out of himself. It's a bit like Mystery Men, which would have probably landed better if it had come out ten years after it did. Last Action Hero does have a few more structural and editing problems (the film was in cinemas like 2 months after it wrapped, so they didn't have time to try out different cuts) but there's a genuinely great film lurking in there somewhere (the bit where Arnie turns to his doppelganger, representing his image, and says "You've caused me a lot of pain" felt a lot more heartfelt than maybe it should have done).

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

. I don't think people were ready for a metafictional commentary on action movies in 1993, with Arnold Schwarzenegger taking the piss out of himself.

Funnily enough, just before The Last Action Hero hit theaters, Dana Carvey, Kevin Nealon, Conan O'Brien, and Robert Smigel worked on a Hans & Franz musical comedy that would have featured Schwarzengger playing himself. They met with him for lunch, he seemed amused by the idea and enthusiastic... then nothing, because TLAH bombed and it spooked him and his team about the audiences not being ready for self-parody.

(He did do a spot on SNL though:

)

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On 8/6/2022 at 2:13 PM, mormont said:

I'd be curious to see the reactions of folks who haven't read the comics, actually.

I’ve read only one of the comics (which corresponds to the ‘24 Hour’ episode), and my wife has read none.  So far, through five episodes, we’ve enjoyed it a lot and have recommended it to others.  Visuals, acting, tempo, production quality, etc all seem very good.  The plot is unfolding still but the early character dynamics bode well.  I’m glad the quest for the three McGuffins was relatively short, suggesting that there is more plot development ahead.

Patton Oswalt is still jarring, even though I like him a lot and Matthew had a couple of funny lines.  A drier, more cynical British voice would have worked better.  Patton sounds too much like an over-excited fanboy who won a spot in the cast via promotional lottery.

David Thewlis is compellingly creepy and ominous in his role.  And Corinthian offers a sense of jeopardy too.  Constantine was a very good cameo, I hope she’ll return.  GC is better as Lucifer than as Phasma anyway, but she’s still so pompous and stiff in all of her delivery — she has so little range that it really limits her characters.

One looming concern is that Dream/Morpheus has an unearned self-importance (in the eyes of the audience).  I can see a journey ahead where he realizes his errors and tries to atone for them and grow as a person.  But why should we root for him to do so, rather than, say, see someone else supplant him in his realm and do a better job?

And for both the helm and the ruby, Morpheus pulled off some Harry Potter-level of the protagonist’s super specialness allowing him to prevail in every situation.  Which links back to the unearned self-importance.  I hope that doesn’t become a pattern.  

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I was really looking forward to this and convinced Brook to give the first episode a try, we wound up binging 8 episodes last night and finished the last 2 tonight. Neither of us have read the comics but absolutely loved this.

It was beautiful, touching and sincere. Episode 6 was the best for my tastes, but I don't think any of them were weak. And I could see that there were a lot of pieces being lined up for later plots in a way I'll actually remember them which is nice.

 

ETA: I loved Matthew. Yes his voice is jarring, it actually sounds like they used a different recording method for it - it's so crisp and clear, but that was a feature for me. It made it more surreal in a way that enhanced that this is a story about dreams.

Edited by karaddin
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57 minutes ago, Iskaral Pust said:

And for both the helm and the ruby, Morpheus pulled off some Harry Potter-level of the protagonist’s super specialness allowing him to prevail in every situation.  Which links back to the unearned self-importance.  I hope that doesn’t become a pattern.  

Without too many spoilers, I'll say this: that is exactly what the comic is largely about for a very large chunk of the storylines going forward and is, in general, a pretty Gaiman-esque thing he does in most of his books. 

Quote

One looming concern is that Dream/Morpheus has an unearned self-importance (in the eyes of the audience).  I can see a journey ahead where he realizes his errors and tries to atone for them and grow as a person.  But why should we root for him to do so, rather than, say, see someone else supplant him in his realm and do a better job?

This is entirely IMO, but this is exactly how I read Sandman. To me Sandman is largely about this entirely douchy manic pixie dream dude who continually fucks over all sorts of people, and then later he figures out that he's kinda sorta not that great of a guy. I don't personally root for him at all, any more than I root for Bojack Horseman. 

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1 hour ago, Iskaral Pust said:

Patton Oswalt is still jarring, even though I like him a lot and Matthew had a couple of funny lines.  A drier, more cynical British voice would have worked better.  Patton sounds too much like an over-excited fanboy who won a spot in the cast via promotional lottery.

Matthew is canonically American, though: in fact he's a Swamp Thing supporting character who happened to die in a dream, which is how he wound up as one of Dream's ravens.

1 hour ago, Iskaral Pust said:

One looming concern is that Dream/Morpheus has an unearned self-importance (in the eyes of the audience).  I can see a journey ahead where he realizes his errors and tries to atone for them and grow as a person.  But why should we root for him to do so, rather than, say, see someone else supplant him in his realm and do a better job?

Good question and basically, insofar as there is an overarching plot, it directly addresses that point. There are allusions to it in The Sound Of Her Wings: Dream, unlike Death, struggles with his role in the universe, and feels - not happier, because he's rarely happy, but more fulfilled when he has a quest or purpose other than that role. As Kal says, you can view the series as being about how Dream eventually recognises and resolves that problem. But there are quite a few detours along the way.

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Another way to say it: when I'm reading the comics what I'm usually rooting for are the people that Dream touches and not him specifically. People like Rose and Unity and Jed, or Nada, or others along the way. That's not entirely perfect - there are some stories about Dream that are about him doing things (like the Hell episode) but as indicated above, a lot of Dream's resolutions are 'I win because I'm super awesome', and the enjoyment I get is the journey of that story and the weirdness, not the actual triumph. 

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I actually do think Patton Oswald will fit pretty well in some of the later appearances Matthew has-  I think he jarred extra in the Constantine and Hell episodes because Morpheus was alone in the originals so having a quippy conversational partner changed the flow of scenes- particularly Hope in Hell - and made him stand out even more than he normally would. 

 

 

 

3 hours ago, Werthead said:

Given how they like setting up throughlines, it does make me wonder

(spoiler for people who haven't read the comics)

  Reveal hidden contents

 

I wouldn't be surprised if (comic spoiler)
 

Spoiler

they did a double episode featuring the freeing of Orpheus' head from France and the freeing of Calliope from Richard Maddoc.

I really hope they also avoid any redemption arcs for Maddoc, having read recently that two separate later stories started off as attempts to do that before Gaiman abandoned the idea- and even then he couldn't resist giving him a peace-out end in The Wake. Hopefully he realises in the modern day that that's a terrible look.  

 

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Also, finished watching this with my wife and daughter. I liked it quite a bit, especially some of the changes they made. It's absolutely beautiful and well polished, one of the best imaging of a comic to screen that's ever been. 

They really liked the series and definitely want more. They also totallly laughed at the 

Spoiler

Lucifer/Dream duel - because it was totally like 6 year olds saying infinity+1 over and over. It was kinda cringe. 

 

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I've not read the comics, but even so I feel that I should have worked out that

Spoiler

Gilbert was Fiddler's Green, but when it's Stephen Fry playing a Stephen Fry-esque character he doesn't seem out of place.

 

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1 hour ago, Denvek said:

I've not read the comics, but even so I feel that I should have worked out that

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Gilbert was Fiddler's Green, but when it's Stephen Fry playing a Stephen Fry-esque character he doesn't seem out of place.

 

Spoiler

I twigged in the conversation with Rose in the car where she asks if he’s English and he avoids answering the question

 

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5 hours ago, Maltaran said:
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I twigged in the conversation with Rose in the car where she asks if he’s English and he avoids answering the question

 

We were already

Spoiler

Thinking he was Fiddler's Green just before that, but that was where it crossed to being sure she was right. What we didn't figure out is that he ran into her entirely unplanned or that he'd immediately go tell Dream and try save her when he saw Corinthian 

 

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Finished up the season today (bang on time, my Netflix subscription expires in 2 hours). I thought the whole season was excellent, though I enjoyed the first arc more than the second. The whole cast was excellent and, brief as their scenes were, I really enjoyed Desire in this. I thought

Spoiler

It was an unexpected twist, for me at least, seeing what Desire's plan has been. I'd sort of forgotten that they were plotting against Morpheous. I'm not sure that Despair really contributed to that but I guess it was a good way to introduce her into the story.

Should we know who the prodigal/missing sibling is? Is it Delirium or was it not specified this season.

I also appreciated the character growth for Morpheous this season and to me it felt gradual but also very natural based on what was happening.

I look forward to seeing where this goes next and will certainly be hoping for a renewal

Edited by HelenaExMachina
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