Netflix's The Sandman TV Review
Netflix's television adaptation of The Sandman is finally here, successfully bringing Neil Gaiman's fantasy horror story to new audiences.The Sandman adapts the comic story created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg, following Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, as he is imprisoned by a cult in the early 20th century. Freeing himself over a century later, Morpheus finds himself weakened, his surreal kingdom in tatters, and sinister nightmares roaming free on Earth.
Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for The Sandman season 1. © Provided by ScreenRant
Viewers of the Netflix series The Sandman might be confused by the final fate of John Dee in season 1 and left wondering what really happened to him. Despite playing an antagonistic role in the first half of the season and causing considerable damage, John Dee apparently goes unpunished for his crimes. This seems at odds with the general character of Morpheus, a.k.a. Dream of the Endless, who inflicted harsh punishments for far less when other people threatened the Dreaming and the Waking World.
In DC comics, John Dee was originally a supervillain. He used the alias Doctor Destiny and fought the Justice League of America using a variety of ingenious devices, including the Materioptikon, which allowed him to make dreams into reality. The Sandman comics introduced a retcon that established the Materioptikon was powered by the magical ruby that Dream of the Endless used to focus his powers. Netflix's The Sandman eliminates all references to the Doctor Destiny identity and Justice League of America, presenting John Dee as a misguided man who manipulated Dream's ruby toward his own ends. He stole it from his mother, Ethel Cripps, who originally stole the sand, ruby, and helm containing The Sandman's power from Roderick Burgess.
The Sandman Review: Netflix's Neil Gaiman Adaptation Is a Dream Come True
Fans of the Neil Gaiman comic should find lots to love in Netflix's adaptation of The Sandman.More than anything, the show proves that Gaiman was right. Netflix's The Sandman (which was produced by Warner Bros. Television with Heinberg as the showrunner and Gaiman heavily involved) is a faithful and loving adaptation of a comic that many hold dear, and the series is able to retain much of the source material's strengths without making any serious missteps that would cast a shadow over the whole enterprise.
Related: Why The Sandman TV Show Is Not Set In the DC Universe
Both the comics and Netflix's The Sandman season 1 build toward a climactic battle between John Dee and Dream of the Endless for control of the Dreaming. In the end, John destroys the ruby in the hope that it will destroy Dream with it, believing it to be the source of his power rather than just a focus for it. Instead, the ruby's destruction frees the energies it contained, restoring Dream of the Endless to his full power. When asked if he intends to kill John for what he did, Dream says that he could, but instead he escorts John back to the prison hospital where he had been incarcerated and sends him to sleep in his cell. © Provided by ScreenRant
The same chain of events unfolds in the original Sandman comics, but with John Dee and Dream having an encounter with the Batman villain Scarecrow on the way to John's cell in Arkham Asylum. This sets up an amusing tableau, parodying The Wizard of Oz, with Dee declaring that "there's no place like home," in imitation of Dorothy Gale as he returns from the dream realm to reality. This seemingly put an end to John Dee's criminal career as Doctor Destiny, although he would return in a later Justice Society of America story where he used his knowledge of the Dreaming to manipulate the similarly powered Legion of Superheroes member Dream Girl into fighting her friends on his behalf.
‘The Sandman’ features a sneaky connection to ‘Wonder Woman 1984’
Don't forget, the Netflix show is part of the DC multiverse.Although it’s based on the seminal Vertigo comics of the same name, Netflix’s The Sandman is mostly standalone and has removed much of the connections to the wider DC universe that are present in the source material. Nonetheless, the series, which just landed on streaming this Friday, does feature a sly link to a certain divisive DCEU movie — Wonder Woman 1984.
There are several reasons why Dream of the Endless might have decided to spare John Dee rather than killing him, beyond the simple fact that he is generally forbidden from killing mortals. In the comics, Morpheus's character had not yet developed the empathy that would define his later interactions with others and was more concerned with regaining his power than the lives John Dee had ended with his actions. Netflix's The Sandman offers another explanation in season 1 of the series, with Morpheus recognizing that John Dee was a victim of circumstance who had been accidentally corrupted by a power "not made for mortals." In both instances, punishing John would have done nothing to bring back the people he killed and served little purpose from Morpheus's perspective.
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