The Sandman [7/10]

Having never read master storyteller Neil Gaiman’s comic series of the same name, I came to the new ten-episode streaming series of ”The Sandman” with great anticipation, for I have loved his novels. Initially I confess to wondering what I’d let myself in for, for the opening couple of episodes are oddly flat, but from Episode 3, the story takes off. Indeed what impresses about the show is Gaiman’s intrinsic plotting genius, with the strange tale of Morpheus, also known as Dream or The Sandman, who supplies humanity’s slumber stories, continually surprising the viewer in gasp-worthy ways. Lush CGI creates wonderful supernatural tableau scenes. The key role of Morpheus is played by Tom Sturridge, and I oscillated between finding his performances ponderous and relishing his more dramatic flourishes, and in any case, superlative stints by actors such as Boyd Holbrook, Vanesu Samunyai, and Stephen Fry round out a satisfying cast. The plot can seem muted at times, and I could imagine how the comic book rendition might be more vivid, and, frankly, the old-style orchestral soundtrack is embarrassing, but overall, The Sandman makes for intriguing science-fiction enjoyment.

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