It’s Neil Gaiman’s world, and we’re just binge-watching it. With American Gods and Good Omens already on the air, Gaiman is finally bringing Sandman to the small screen.
Epic Original Series
Netflix has given an 11-episode order for the series, which it clearly hopes will fill the post-Game of Thrones void in prestige fantasy TV. The platform also needs major new content to replace all the Disney and Marvel titles it will soon be losing.
“From its rich characters and storylines to its intricately built-out worlds, we’re excited to create an epic original series that dives deep into this multi-layered universe beloved by fans around the world,” Netflix VP of Originals, Channing Dungey, announced.
The series is apparently one of the most expensive TV series based on DC comics. It’s worth noting that the publisher didn’t try to tackle the adaptation on their own struggling streaming service, where they recently axed the Swamp Thing TV series after just one episode aired.
Insiders suspect that DC Universe will get swallowed up by the larger Warner Bros streaming platform when it debuts, so it’s for the best that Sandman headed to Netflix.
Fans of the classic DC Vertigo title know that this adaptation has had a hard time getting off the ground. It’s been in development, in one form or another, since the 90s. Most recently, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was attached to star and produce a feature film based on the comics, but he walked away from the project due to creative differences with the studio.
Wonder Woman screenwriter Allan Heinberg will be running the show–and honestly, that’s not the best news. The success of DC’s best live-action movie rested squarely on the direction and the charisma of the cast, not on the clunky script. Heinberg will co-write the pilot along with Gaiman and David Goyer.
With a sprawling 75-issue run and a huge cast of iconic characters to play with, Netflix should have no trouble turning the comics into a fruitful series. As long as they don’t somehow turn it into another darned crime procedural.
Lucifer, which is set to drop its fifth and final season on Netflix, is technically a spin-off from Sandman, but comic fans will find few similarities between the TV show and the source material.
Now that both properties are on Netflix, however, it’s possible that they might create a crossover–or at least have Tom Ellis play Lucifer when Morpheus makes his way to hell.
Speaking of casting, 5 years ago I would have loved to see Benedict Cumberbatch as Morpheus. Now? I’m not so sure. Somebody British and possessed of cut-glass cheekbones. Dream and Death are both critical roles–who would you like to see fill them?
Do you think we’ll get to see the major arcs from the comics play out, or will this be more of a loose adaptation?
Given that Gaiman is exec producing, we’re hoping that the spirit of the books remains. He tweeted that the showrunners are going to “make something on television that feels as personal and true as the best of the Sandman comics did.”