Saturday, September 30

Is Netflix the right home for The Sandman? | Digital Trends Spanish

The Sandman, Neil Gaiman’s iconic and seminal exploration of dreams, fantasy and the occult, is getting a lush adaptation on Netflix. described by Norman Mailer as “a comic strip for highbrows,” The Sandman is among the best pieces of storytelling and art we’ve seen in the comics genre. It is famously challenging, exhilarating, philosophical, and unwilling, or perhaps unable, to confine itself to a certain category. Like its famously elusive protagonist, The Sandman it flows and twists and turns throughout a story that remains engaging, even if it’s not always accessible.

Reviews for the show have been strong from the start; is currently in an impressive 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics call him loyal to a flaw in his source material, praising his production values, ambition and willingness to bring Gaiman’s vision to life. The positive reception of the “Sandman” is a victory in itself; like Watchmen by Alan Moore, Gaiman’s graphic novel was often considered too inflexible for a traditional adaptation. The word “unfilmable” often accompanied its title, despite various attempts to bring it to live action.

So why now? Why is this the right time to adapt? The Sandman? In any case, now is the worst possible time to do it. We live in the age of “content”, when entire movies can be scrapped to maximize profits and investments. Artistic integrity eats away when CEOs and studio heads need to answer to Wall Street. Is it wise to launch a notoriously inaccessible project in such a climate? And is Netflix, the king of impatience, the right home for a story noted for its slow-burn approach?

The problem with Netflix

Netflix started the streaming boom we live in today, building its empire through purchased and eventually original content. The streamer became known as the land of “yes,” throwing copious amounts of money at top talent in an effort to position itself as a legitimate film and television studio. And it worked…well, sort of, anyway.

Although not without flaws, Netflix has an impressive collection of original movies, many of whom have become major players come awards season. The streamer also has a slew of certified hits, with projects like the extraction above average and the truly pitiful Red Notice among his most broadcast films in history. However, this winning formula is already showing glaring cracks, leading many to believe that the impressive empire will crumble sooner than expected.

For starters, Netflix is ​​impatient. If something isn’t a hit from the start, the streamer pulls the plug without a second thought. Up-and-coming shows that might have found an audience over time, like I Am Not Okay with This, raising dion Y The Societyare removed with little or no explanation. dead line reported that the recently canceled First Kill did not meet Netflix’s threshold for completing episodes, which adds more insight into how the streamer treats its properties. With Netflix, it’s all about the metrics. Nobody knows anything except the algorithm.

The Sandman | Official Trailer | Netflix

Will the metrics be on the side of The Sandman? Gaiman’s comic is a slow burn if there ever was one, with heavy and sometimes demanding themes mixed into a story that tries and barely succeeds in acting more traditionally. The Sandman he deftly juggles metaphysical concepts and ideas, personifying them with compelling characters that make the journey more engaging, if not necessarily more digestible. On paper, it works thanks to Gaiman’s sharp, insightful words, which, coupled with the richly unique art of numerous artists, including Sam Keith and Bryan Talbot, build a world of fantasy and wonder that beautifully and accurately conveys his ambitions. .

The Sandman from Netflix achieves the impressive feat of replicating the striking visuals of its source material in the service of its abstract story. However, keeping the flow and story themes mostly intact could be shooting yourself in the foot, especially when the place you call home is infamous for being in a perpetual state of rush. Viewers will find The Sandman challenging, as they should. It is a work of art that rewards patience and commitment, two things that Netflix does not usually understand.

How can the streamer expect this daring project to resonate with the very audiences he trained to disengage with simmering storytelling? Is Netflix willing to take the time to develop The SandmanOr do you expect to succeed on name recognition alone? doThe Sandman have that kind of attraction with modern audiences? Not your average DC property; The Sandman is he cares more about the spectacle that takes place inside him. It is not The Witcherand it certainly isn’t game of Thrones. «The Sandman” it’s his thing, a corner of fantasy inhabiting a place where genuine wonder comes from ideas rather than execution. Does Netflix understand this? Wants?

Who is talking about this?

Tom Sturridge as Morpheus with his back to the camera in an image from Neil Gaiman's adaptation of The Sandman.

Back to First Killits showrunner, Felicia D. Henderson, too blamed Netflix’s lack of marketing for the abrupt cancellation of the program. In fact, the streamer is infamous for never putting any marketing effort into some of his freshman shows, and for years, he didn’t need to. People ended up watching anything on Netflix out of boredom or genuine engagement with the platform’s catalog. Programs like Virgin River they are massive hits on the streamer, but no one talks about them, to the point where many people may not even be aware of them.

Recent developments have shown that the Netflix formula is unsustainable. Word of mouth can do wonders for a project: it led to the top Top Gun: Maverick to a whopping $1.3 billion at the box office But word of mouth can only do so much, especially for original projects without a built-in fan base. Most Netflix cancellations come from audiences not aware of the show in the first place; how can they see something they don’t even know exists?

To be fair, Netflix has mounted a considerable marketing effort to support The Sandman. His campaign relied heavily on Gaiman, acknowledging him as the true star of the property. In a strange yet admirable choice, the show opted not to cast any genuine stars. Sure, you’ve got Gwendoline Christie, a truly inspired choice to play Lucifer Morningstar, plus Stephen Fry and even Patton Oswalt. However, he lacks a big Hollywood star, the kind of actor that would make sense in a big IP like this; There is no Henry Cavill here, no Winona Ryder, no Jason Bateman. Netflix pulled this trick before with great success, casting mostly unknown actors in some of its biggest hits: Bridgerton, Never Have I Ever and Haunting programs come to mind. But do the public expect something more from its comic content? The Sandman could have benefited more from having a “main man” in the lead role.

The Sandman | The World of The Endless | Netflix

Aware that Gaiman alone would not sell the show, The Sandman lived up to its geek credentials by having a significant presence in the This year’s Comic-Con. The show had a panel with most of the major cast, premiering a trailer that looked promising and gave fans hope for a show that didn’t bastardize the source material like so many other Netflix adaptations do: I’m looking at you, Persuasion. But was it enough? No, it wasn’t. Any noise that The Sandman could have caused was nearly drowned out by the roar that came courtesy of House of the Dragon by HBO and the avalanche of news from phase 5 and 6 of the MCU. Even DC’s measly panel was more shocking than The Sandman’smainly due to a lightning-shooting Dwayne Johnson.

Netflix tried to generate buzz to The Sandman, but did you try hard enough? Any effort seems considerable when everything that came before is basically non-existent. However, the streamer doesn’t seem to understand that a good marketing campaign can make the difference between success and failure. Netflix can no longer survive on reputation alone, mainly because its reputation is in the gutter. And while most of the industry is currently too focused on hating Warner Bros. Discovery for its treatment of HBO Max, Netflix doesn’t have enough good will to throw a major IP into the void and hope it works on name recognition alone and the loyalty.

A match made in hell

Tom Sturridge sits on a bench with Kirby Howell-Baptiste in a scene from The Sandman.

So what is the future of The Sandman on Netflix? At its best, performing according to Netflix’s desired metrics, the show will run for three seasons before coming to a quiet, unceremonious end. Fantasy shows seem to be hit or miss on Netflix. The Witcher was very strong from the start, but season 2 saw a considerable decline in audience interest. Similarly, projects like Locke & Key and even Shadow and Bone they’re far from the streamer’s most impactful entries, even if they perform well enough to warrant a long stay in the catalog.

On the other hand, the worst case is that The Sandman crash and burn, leading to Netflix going offline sooner than expected. However, I don’t see it happening; Netflix will want to save face and give the show a second outing before deciding its fate, especially considering Neil Gaiman’s standout turn.

The Oldest Game | The Sandman | Netflix Philippines

Netflix is ​​looking for its next big franchise: the next game of Thrones. Unfortunately, The Sandman it’s not that. Rich in ideas rather than world-building, Gaiman’s work is meant to be enjoyed, analyzed, dissected, and appreciated. However, it is somewhat limited in its extent; The Sandman it’s not the kind of property that can spawn endless spin-offs focused on the past and future of its setting. The spin-off potential it has is already done (Lucifer on Fox) or is being developed for another platform (Constantine Y Dead Boy Detectives for HBOMax). It makes no sense, as the show’s intricacies come from within, offering very little in terms of open franchise and exploitation. If Netflix thought that The Sandman it was his next big thing, he thought wrongly, and I think he knows it. It is better to leave some dreams unfulfilled.

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