The Sandman Renewed for Season 2 



The Sandman debuted on Netflix on August 5th, 2022.

Few people outside the comic sphere know about DC’s Black Label: DC Comics’ imprint name that focuses on darker stories and original miniseries. Known for providing new, edgier takes on superheroes and producing standalone horror comics, DC’s Black Label is not for the faint heart. 

Enter The Sandman: published originally with DC and Vertigo and reprinted under DC’s Black Label, the 90’s comic series made waves in the fantasy and graphic novel communities. Written by notable fiction author Neil Gaiman, it restructured the lore of the DC universe at a fundamental level, and dared to ask questions regarding death, change, pride, and creativity. To this day, The Sandman is a monument in the world of comics – from its inclusion as one of the first comic books on New York Times’ Best Seller List to its recent adaptation as a TV show, The Sandman’s influence has reverberated greatly. 

And this is why Netflix’s decision to renew The Sandman was one of the company’s best decisions this year.

The Sandman (2022) is as faithful as an adaptation to TV can be. Produced alongside Neil Gaiman himself, the show follows the titular character known as Dream: the humanoid manifestation of humanity’s unconscious. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that the narrative is not one about daft topics such as power or heroics —rather, it is about people, seen through the lens of a god-like being that is billions of years old. 

Reflecting this is the lack of a “real” antagonist – each character is very layered. Even when entities are directly opposing Dream, there is a pervading sense of understanding. The “bad guys” are treated with care and dignity by the script, whether it be the towering silhouette of Lucifer or the scruffy person of John Dee, each character is given a lot of humanity. Ironic, since many characters are not human. Unfortunately, this gentleness has garnered a lot of hate from people who wanted The Sandman to be another Stranger Things, or Rings of Power: Audiences wanted expert fight scenes, or rousing performances from the actors, or comedy to soften the blows of violence. Ultimately, although The Sandman does have epic moments fronted by Dream, but they are few and far between. The show’s emotional high points are not when there is violence, but rather quiet epiphany from the characters. It’s a surprisingly slow paced show, and does not have much of the fast flashy action most fantasy TV shows house today.

Tom Sturridge as Dream easily exemplifies this moderateness. He provides a solemn performance that is aching with a silent, but baffled love for people. A famous panel from the comic is Dream burying his hands in his face and saying, “Oooh, humanity, I love you. You never cease to amaze.” Dream is an unbounded vessel for the world’s emotions and fantasies, as such, he is one of the wisest beings in the universe. Sturridge seems to understand this perfectly, and utters every single one of his lines with deliberate weight, befitting that of a King with a wide realm. In this way he is quite the subversion of what a fantasy protagonist usually is. He is not impulsive or fresh faced and humble. He is a thinker, and he is actually very prideful. 

Despite being lauded as a fantasy epic, The Sandman does not succumb to spectacle, and that is what makes it so great. The show’s visuals are a stunning mix of practical and CG effects, building a world that is textured and grand. Unlike many modern TV shows today who over-rely on CG and are rushed through production, The Sandman gave care to the minutiae. The show took thirty years from writing to filming to release, but it was well worth the wait. My only hope is that Netflix continues to treat the property with the dignity it deserves, and let art take its time.