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Created By:
Neil Gaiman, David S. Goyer, Allan Heinberg
Tom Sturridge, Boyd Holbrook, Patton Oswalt
Writing Credits:

After years of imprisonment, Morpheus — the King of Dreams — embarks on a journey across worlds to find what was stolen from him and restore his power.

Rated TV-MA.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 526 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 11/28/2023

• “Behind the Scenes Sneak Peek” Featurette
• “The World of the Endless” Featurette


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
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-Panasonic DMP-BDT220P Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Sandman: The Complete First Season [Blu-Ray] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 27, 2024)

Neil Gaiman’s fantasy/supernatural comic book series The Sandman hit shelves in late 1988 and first became bandied about as a film project in the late 90s. None of these ever went into production, however.

Sandman finally received a live-action adaptation via a Netflix series that launched in August 2022. This three-Blu-ray set provides all 11 Season One episodes, with synopses straight from its official website.

Sleep Of the Just: “While searching for an escaped nightmare in the waking world, Morpheus (Tom Sturridge) falls prey to Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance), an occultist looking to summon and imprison Death.”

Though I maintained an awareness of Gaiman and Sandman over the decades, I never read the comic. This left me with only a vague understanding of the property and meant this series became my first real exposure to it.

Will Season One lead me to wish I’d delved into Sandman prior to 2024? That remains to be seen, but “Sleep” does manage to launch things in a reasonably positive manner.

Like most pilot programs, “Sleep” needs to do a lot of legwork to initiate viewers. We must learn about the series’ premise as well as characters and a general sense of where the programs will go.

I do think the basic concept comes with ample intrigue and “Sleep” manages to give us a mostly engaging starting point. I can’t claim that it leaves me dying to see what happens next, but it does what it needs to do as an introduction.

By the way, the Blu-ray’s packaging refers to the lead character under the name of “Dream”. The series uses both “Morpheus” and “Dream”, but since the official website features the latter, I chose to use it in this review.

Imperfect Hosts: “Morpheus begins his quest to find his tools of power — his sand, ruby and helm — by paying a visit to a pair of notoriously dysfunctional brothers Cain (Sanjeev Bhaskar) and Abel (Asim Chaudhry).”

After the darkness of “Sleep”, “Hosts” comes with a bit more whimsy, a welcome shift. Not that I dislike an emphasis on the grim side of things, but occasional signs of mirth feel necessary at times.

Don’t expect this to make “Hosts” a comedic episode, of course, as it remains pretty morose most of the time. “Hosts” can feel like an extension of “Sleep” since it focuses on Morpheus’s return to form, but it manages some interesting narrative developments as well.

Dream a Little Dream of Me: “Morpheus tracks down Johanna Constantine (Jenna Coleman), the last-known person in possession of his sand — and receives an unexpected lesson on humanity. Ethel (Joely Richardson) pays a visit to her son.”

Three episodes into S1 and matters still feel a little stuck in Exposition Land, mainly because the overall narrative revolves around Morpheus’s quest to reclaim his tools. This makes the series feel a little stagnant so far, but “Dream” still delivers enough movement to push along elements fairly well.

A Hope in Hell: “A lead on the whereabouts of his helm compels Morpheus to seek an audience with Lucifer (Gwendoline Christie). A confused John (David Thewlis) receives a helping hand from a good Samaritan named Rosemary (Sarah Niles).”

While “Hope” continues to same general “quest” arc as the prior shows, it manages a bit more intrigue, largely due to the movement related to John. That character shows room for growth, and the introduction of Lucifer adds spark as well.

24/7: “With Morpheus caught off guard, John settles in at a diner to watch the people around him — and put his theory about truth and lies to a terrifying test.”

Although Morpheus acted as the focal point of the prior episodes, John really advances to the fore here. That offers a strong twist, one that adds kick to S1.

The Sound of Her Wings: “Feeling a bit rudderless, Morpheus shadows his hard-working big sister Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), who offers him advice and encourages him to reconnect with an old acquaintance.”

The introduction of Death offers a surprisingly emotional element to the series, as “Sound” manages to develop the role in a touching and gentle manner. This comes as a shift after the dark “24/7” but it works, as does a clever view of Morpheus’s relationship with Hob Gadling (Ferdinand Kingsley), a man who can’t die.

The Doll’s House: “Lucienne (Vivienne Acheampong) comes to Morpheus with disturbing news. Rose Walker (Kyo Ra) goes in search of family. Admirers of Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook) scheme to get his attention.”

After a few shows that branched onto semi-tangents, “House” goes back to the series’ main narrative arc. I liked those tangents but “House” brings matters back to the overall plot well.

Playing House: “As Morpheus closes in on one of his missing creations, Rose ramps up efforts to locate her brother — and unwittingly makes a friend's dream come true.”

Though I welcomed the return to the overriding plot last time, I admit I find myself less enchanted now, primarily because the saga of Rose and her “missing” younger brother Jed (Eddie Karanja) doesn’t really do much for me – at least not yet. Perhaps Rose’s story will click better soon, but “House” turns into a moderate drag on the season.

Collectors: “Odd disturbances shake up The Dreaming, Rose sets out on a road trip with a new friend, and The Corinthian arrives with a guest at a creepy convention.”

As S1 nears its end, the Rose saga ramps up – for better or for worse. I admit I still don’t find her tale especially involving, though some aspects of “Collectors” give it zing, especially when we see a “cereal convention” that actually focuses on serial killers.

Lost Hearts: “As the Dream vortex grows more powerful and the walls between the realms weaken, Rose must make a difficult choice. Morpheus confronts The Corinthian.”

With “Hearts”, S1’s overall narrative essentially comes to a close. This surprises me, as I figured the year’s final episode would deliver that conclusion.

“Hearts” does bring a fairly satisfying summation of the vortex saga, and it also leaves open room for more. I look forward to see what the next show does to formally wrap the season.

Dream of a Thousand Cats/Calliope: “A Siamese cat dreaming of a new world and a writer in desperate need of inspiration cross paths with Morpheus.”

That first segment lasts 16 minutes and offers a major departure from the way the rest of S1 works, as it brings an animated tale. It boasts an interesting slant as we see dreams from the animal POV but it doesn’t connect cleanly with S1’s story arc.

As for “Calliope” side, it also largely fails to link to the prior 10 episodes – at least not in terms of Morpheus’s journey, as it doesn’t really link to the rest of the season’s narrative. Both “Cats” and “Calliope” offer essentially standalone pieces.

Which makes this episode essentially a post-script to S1 and not a formal part of the year’s narrative – and that seems fine with me, as there’s plenty of room for Sandman to branch away from a single overriding arc. Indeed, I wish more TV series based on comics provided stories that started/resolved in one program.

To some degree, it disappoints that the final show of S1 doesn’t pick up on the thread teased at the end of “Lost Hearts”. Nonetheless, it brings an intriguing episode.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus D

The Sandman appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on these Blu-ray Discs. The episodes looked pretty solid.

Overall delineation seemed positive. A little softness impacted some wider shots, but the shows usually boasted appealing sharpness.

The programs lacked edge haloes or shimmering, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws never manifested.

For the most part, Sandman went with a fairly strong emphasis on orange and teal, though other hues popped up at times. Trite as the palette could seem, the discs delivered the tones as intended.

Blacks felt deep and dense, while low-light shots brought positive clarity. I felt pleased with the series’ visuals.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the Dolby Atmos audio of Sandman also fared well, mainly via the many trippy dream sequences. These opened up the channels in a broad, engaging manner.

Otherwise, the series came with a lot of moody ambience. The bigger sequences occurred often enough to give the tracks a lot of punch, even if the creepy atmosphere and spooky score dominated.

Audio quality satisfied, with effects that sounded concise and rich. Low-end excelled.

Music showed fine range and breadth, while speech seemed natural and distinctive. The soundtracks worked well for the stories at hand.

Only minor extras appear here via two featurettes. Behind the Scenes Sneak Peek goes for one minute, 51 seconds and provides remarks from author/executive producer Neil Gaiman and actors Tom Sturridge and Gwendoline Christie.

We get an extremely brief view of what to expect from the series. It exists as promotion and nothing more.

The World of the Endless lasts three minutes, seven seconds. It comes with notes from Gaiman, Sturridge, Christie, show runner Allan Heinberg and actors Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Jenna Coleman.

“World” offers a little primer on the series’ themes and characters. Like the prior clip, it just tries to sell the show to new viewers.

Adapted from a famous comic book series, Season One of The Sandman delivers a fairly satisfying tale. Though S1 doesn’t always hit on all cylinders, it does much more right than wrong. The Blu-rays come with solid picture and audio but the set lacks substantial bonus materials. I look forward to Season Two.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
1 3:
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