The dream is finally real
After literal decades of development, the fervent prayers of millions of fans, and the exhausted efforts of the poor, worn Joseph Gordon Levittit’s finally here: real fucking footage of a fucking TV version of Neil Gaiman The sand manin the form of the trailer for Netflix’s upcoming adaptation of the beloved comic book series, released today at Comic-Con.
And, hey: Are we messing around here, or does it look… actually pretty good? We can’t say we are totally sold on Tom Sturridge as the series’ central character, Dream; there’s a very specific mix of self-involved arrogance and self-involved mockery baked into this character, and almost any actor would have a hard time knocking him out of the box. Kirby Howell-Baptiste seems to be on par as Death’s deeply empathetic version of Gaiman, however, and Boyd Holbrook is pretty compelling as the series’ version of the literal walking nightmare The Corinthian – who seems to be getting a role. upgraded from the relatively small (but deeply memorable) one he plays in the Gaiman comics.
More importantly, however, Gaiman, David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg seem to have fully understood the surreal scope and tone of Sand seller, with shots of Hell, the kingdom of Dream’s brother Desire, and a very unlucky dinner party, all exuding a good sense of mystery and terror. (We also get a quick look at David Thewlis as resident said dinner, and, yeah: it’s probably going to be scary.)
A few other tidbits from today’s panel: Mark Hamill will appear on the show, voicing Dream’s pumpkin-headed janitor, Mervyn Pumpkinhead. And, somewhat surprisingly, legendary Sand seller cover artist Dave McKean is also involved in the project; at Gaiman’s personal request, he provided unique ending credits for each episode of the show.
Sand seller has lingered in the popular consciousness for over 30 years now because it’s more than just supernatural adventure: obsessed, like its author, with stories, it’s often meandering, digressive and, yes, a little pretentious . (While also being very human and funny; there’s a reason they’ve got Patton Oswalt in this thing as the talking crow.) That’s a tall order for any TV show to live up to, but according to this brief preview, we don’t see any real red flags as to why he can’t finally dream himself into life when Netflix releases the show in its entirety in a few weeks.